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Boston Public Schools' Pre-Kindergaten Program Can Improve a Child’s Vocabulary

Update Date: Mar 29, 2013 01:52 PM EDT

With more parents working in today's society, children are often dropped off at pre-kindergarten programs during the beginning of the workday. According to a new study, research shows that certain pre-kindergarten programs might actually help improve a child's vocabulary, and is not just a place for children to play. The study done on the Boston Public Schools' pre-kindergarten program revealed that certain types of curriculum guidelines and activities can help young children pick up vocabulary words a lot faster, as well as other academic skills.

The Boston Public School's pre-kindergarten program is not like any other day care or kindergarten programs because it incorporates the use of predetermined curriculum and coached teachers to maximize the benefits of a good education. The study was conducted by Harvard University researchers and they found that children enrolled in this type of program learned language, literacy and math significantly better than other children. The researchers also found that children from these programs were also better able to pay attention in class and have better memory.

"When you compare Boston's program to seven other programs that have had an impact on academic evaluations, Boston's program had the largest effects on vocabulary and math," the lead author, Christina Weiland, stated. Weiland will be an incoming assistant professor at the University of Michigan's School of Education.

The researchers looked into the curriculum and teachers in order to evaluate why there was such a huge difference between the pre-kindergarten program in Boston and those in other cities. The researchers concluded that everything from the style of teaching to the teachers' salaries contributed to the better results. The researchers noted that Boston preschool teachers were required to meet the same levels of educational criteria as any other teachers and were paid the same as regular teachers.

Aside from better-educated teachers, the researchers also noted that the curriculum taught children certain skills through a playful and enjoyable approach, making learning fun and easy for the toddlers. The researchers looked at 2,000 preschoolers, half of which attended pre-kindergarten a year earlier while the other half attended at the required age. Based from their findings, the researchers believe that if other states modeled their programs after the Boston's pre-kindergarten program, education can be improved significantly.

The study was published in Child Development.

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