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Differential impact of preschool models on development and early learning of inner-city children: A three-cohort study

Three different preschool models operating in an urban school district were identified through cluster analysis of teacher responses to the Pre-K Survey of Beliefs and Practices. The language, self-help, social, motor, and adaptive development, along with mastery of basic skills, of 721 4-year-olds randomly selected from these models were compared. Children in the child-initiated model demonstrated greater mastery of basic skills than did children in programs in which academics were emphasized and skills were taught. Children in the combination model did significantly poorer on all measures except self-help and development of social coping skills compared with children in either the child-initiated or academically directed models. Girls outperformed boys in all areas except gross motor development and play and leisure skills. Implications for educational policymakers are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)