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Early education advantages

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Early education advantages

Children who attend early childhood education will earn more than those who do not, research from the University’s Christchurch Health and Development Study has shown.

The University of Otago, Christchurch-based longitudinal study has tracked the progress or more than 1,200 children born in the city in the late 1970s.

At age 30, study participants who attended some form of early childhood education, such as kindergarten, had higher incomes, better academic achievement and higher participation in paid employment than those who did not. These benefits were independent of their family’s socio-economic situation and other factors associated with attendance at early childhood education.

Study director Associate Professor John Horwood says those with two to three years of early childhood education were earning on average $50,200 a year by the age of 30, compared with $43,000 for those with none and $45,400 for those with less than one year of early education.

They had better verbal and maths skills than other children at school, were more likely to go to university, and had higher average academic achievement by the age of 30.

Horwood says those who attended early childhood care were also less likely to become a parent or commit a property or violent crime during their teens.

The better educational and income outcomes were likely the result of higher secondary school achievement of those who attended early childhood education, he says.