As the Twig Is Bent--Lasting Effects of Preschool Programs

As the Twig Is Bent--Lasting Effects of Preschool Programs

As the Twig Is Bent--Lasting Effects of Preschool Programs

As the Twig Is Bent--Lasting Effects of Preschool Programs

Excerpt

Susan W. Gray Barbara K. Ramsey Rupert A. Klaus George Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University

Each sample in the Consortium analyses has its idiosyncratic characteristics as well as points of similarity with the others in the group. Our participants are all black and are from small towns in the Southeast. From the data on demographic and family characteristics presented in Chapter 13 one could argue that our families are possibly the most disadvantaged of the entire Consortium. From any point of view the sample clearly consists of a group of families hard pressed in 1962 to provide a minimum level of adequacy in the daily lives of their children.

The Early Training Project was designed and shaped during the beginning years of the 1960s. The original impetus was the concern of local school officials with progressive retardation observed in the elementary school that at the time served the black children of the town, almost all of whom came from low-income families. The majority of the white children from low-income homes had been zoned into a county school rather than the local city school. Thus, the school officials had no basis of comparison for the black school except the other city schools that enrolled upper-lower- or middle-class whites. We thought the progressive retardation observed was more likely to be a social class phenomenon than a racial one. Because of the makeup of the schools at that time, however, we chose the low-income blacks because we wished to follow them through several years in the city school system.

We saw our task as attempting to answer the question of whether it was indeed possible to offset progressive retardation. Our chosen strategy was to design an intervention "package" of variables that appeared to be related to school retardation or progress and would be possible to manipulate. We attempted to plan the . . .

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