The benefits of sending kids off to preschool have long been noted in both the short and long term (higher likelihood of graduating from high school, better school readiness), and in fact, preschool attendance is associated with greater socioeconomic success later in life. But a new study of preschool done at the Department of Economics at Vienna University, suggests that girls, in particular, benefit from attendance.
The new study used labor statistics data from Austria and found a host of benefits: It increased the chances of working full-time in adulthood by 5.3 percentage points; it increased the probability of finishing a higher education degree by nearly 5 percentage points; it increased hourly wages by 7.3 percent.
And pretty much across the board, the effects are greater for women. Preschool attendance, the research found, “almost halves the gender gap in the probability of working full time.” And the probability of a mother working when her child is 14 was found to be 10.8 percentage points higher when the child had attended preschool, meaning that a child’s preschool attendance also helps its mother.
The report concludes that preschool is “overwhelmingly positive” for both parents and children. Now if we can just get universal preschool in the U.S. we’ll be all set!