This study examined the effects of offering Head Start to 3- and 4-year-olds. Head Start is a federal program aimed at boosting the school readiness of low-income children by providing preschool education and health and nutrition services.
The study found that children offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 3-year-olds had higher scores on four of eight measures of language and literacy, the single measure of pre-writing, and one of two measures of math skills at the first follow-up, than children not offered enrollment as 3-year-olds.
The study found no significant differences between the children offered and not offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 3-year-olds on language and literacy, pre-writing, and math skills measured at the second, third, and fourth follow-ups. These follow-ups corresponded to the ends of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade, respectively.
Puma, M., et al. (2010). Head Start impact study: Final report. Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.