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Preschool Expansion Effort Produces Notable Gains

Rockville, Md.  –  Abt Global’s newly released report finds the Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) had a powerful impact on children’s early academic skills. The program proved effective for all children on average, and Abt’s analyses indicate that PEG had an even bigger impact on children from homes where English was not the primary language and for children with no prior formal child care experience.

The Massachusetts PEG program was designed to expand high-quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children and families. Over 3,200 preschool children in five communities enrolled in 48 PEG classrooms during the four years of the $60 million grant. The program was funded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

The full-day, full-year PEG programs were supported by local public school districts and operated by community-based organizations, which employed qualified and well-compensated teachers, and provided them with extensive training and coaching supports. Programs also engaged deeply with families and provided or referred them to local services and supports.

Using a rigorous evaluation design, Abt examined the impact of the PEG model on children’s early literacy, math, vocabulary and executive function skills. PEG improved children’s readiness for kindergarten by providing:

  • A sizeable positive impact on children’s early literacy and math skills and
  • A smaller positive impact on vocabulary skills.

“These findings are significant,” said Amy Checkoway, principal associate, Abt Global, and PEG co-project director, “because building a strong foundation early on can improve children’s long-term engagement—and achievement—in school.”

“The Preschool Expansion Grant initiative study findings provide valuable information on how early education systems and school districts can partner to leverage each other’s strengths and design quality programs that yield positive outcomes for at-risk students,” added Massachusetts Commissioner of Early Education and Care Samantha Aigner-Treworgy.

Read the full report.

Other reports from Abt’s multi-year evaluation of PEG examine the implementation of the PEG model, the cost of the model and the longitudinal outcomes for PEG children.

About Abt Global
Abt Global uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives worldwide. From increasing crop yields and combatting infectious disease, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges.

Eric Tischler
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