"Most surprising, according to the researchers based at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, is that the social skills of white, middle-class children suffer- in terms of cooperation, sharing and engagement in classroom tasks - after attending preschool centers for more than six hours a day, compared to similar children who remain at home with a parent prior to starting school."
[Emphasis added. See article below.]

March 27, 2006

Report examines effects nationwide
of preschool on kids' development

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations | 01 November 2005

BERKELEY While middle-class children benefit modestly from preschool, youngsters from poor families experience two times the gains in early language and mathematics learning, according to a new study of more than 14,000 kindergartners nationwide.

The report - "The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Development Nationwide: How Much Is Too Much?" - also examined whether long hours in preschool centers lead to diminishing returns in children's early development.

Most surprising, according to the researchers based at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, is that the social skills of white, middle-class children suffer- in terms of cooperation, sharing and engagement in classroom tasks - after attending preschool centers for more than six hours a day, compared to similar children who remain at home with a parent prior to starting school.

Hispanic children with at least basic English proficiency "displayed the strongest cognitive gains after attending preschool with no detrimental effects on their social development," according to Margaret Bridges, a research scientist at UC Berkeley and co-author of the report.

"This may be due to strong socialization practices inside Hispanic homes," Bridges said, "Or, perhaps these families enter quality preschools tightly regulated under growing state and federal initiatives, like Head Start."

"The biggest eye-opener is that the suppression of social and emotional development, stemming from long hours in preschool, is felt most strongly by children from better-off families," said UC Berkeley sociologist and co-author Bruce Fuller.

Cognitive results for African American children are mixed, the researchers said. High attendance rates are associated with gains in language and pre-reading skills, but not with any discernible improvement in knowledge of numbers and math concepts...

"So, the report's a bit sobering for governors and mayors - including those in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Oklahoma - who are getting behind universal preschool," Fuller said.

For complete article, link here.
The new UC Berkeley/Stanford report and graphic displays can be found online at: http://pace.berkeley.edu/pace_stanford_berkeley.html.