Science & Tech

Child enrichment program still pays off after 15 years

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Researchers have detected the lasting benefits of early childhood education 15 years after the program ended. What may have seemed like three years of fun and games at the time for the low-birth weight, premature infants translated into higher achievement scores in math and reading for the intervention group at age 18.

They also tended to have fewer risky behaviors. The study, led by Marie McCormick and published in the March 2006 Pediatrics, is believed to be the largest and most rigorous of its kind.

“Early educational intervention works,” said McCormick, the Sumner and Esther Feldberg professor of maternal and child health at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston.