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  • Amoriza Gunnink

A Review: The Power & Promise of Early Learning (OECD Working Paper, 2018)

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Why does early investment through preschool education make sense?

The early years are foundational for the acquisition of key skill sets. These skill sets are practiced and developed through consistent early enrichment experiences and daily reinforcement. In their working paper titled "The power and promise of early learning," Shuey and Kankaras (2018) build on and consolidate previous research undertaken to complement international data related to early learning. It analyzes, summarizes and highlights the power of particular early learning skill sets to predict and promote a range of adult outcomes. Below is a summary of the early skill sets highlighted in the working paper.

Early skill sets predictive of adult outcomes

Shuey and Kankaras (2018) note: "Results from longitudinal research show that strong early learning positively predicts well-being across a range of domains in adulthood, including health, educational attainment and socio-economic status. Moreover, the longitudinal research base shows early learning from a holistic lens, as all of the outcomes in adulthood were predicted by multiple early skill sets." While language and literacy, numeracy and visual-motor skills prove to be critical in the promotion of every major adult outcome, non-cognitive skills such as self-regulation, attachment and emotional health must also be emphasized in the early years.

Children's overall developmental growth and well-being, as well as their future life trajectory and adult outcomes are dependent upon the acquisition of particular early skill sets. In this paper, the authors underscore the need to ensure the commitments and investments made by families, communities and early learning institutions and programs, as well as government policy initiatives, are promotive of strong starts for children to procure the power and promise of early learning.


Shuey, E. and Kankaras, M. (2018). The power and promise of early learning. OECD Education Working Papers, 186. Paris: OECD Publishing.


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