Journal Article

Do Preschool Programs Affect Social Disadvantage? What Social Workers Should Know

Robert Herman-Smith

in Social Work

Published on behalf of National Association of Social Workers

Volume 58, issue 1, pages 65-73
Published in print January 2013 | ISSN: 0037-8046
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1545-6846 | DOI:
Do Preschool Programs Affect Social Disadvantage? What Social Workers Should Know

Show Summary Details


The majority of children from lower income families enter elementary school well behind their peers in reading, math, and general knowledge. Poor academic achievement in the early grades is associated with a range of social problems such as failure to complete high school, increased risk of unintended pregnancy, increased criminal activity, and insufficient wages. There has been a steady increase in the number of publicly funded preschool programs designed to help children from a range of disadvantaged backgrounds develop school readiness skills. Social work has been minimally involved in preschool programs, even as policymaker interest and public support for these programs have grown. This article reviews the outcomes research on preschool intervention programs and discusses the implications of this research for social work policy advocates and practitioners.

Keywords: disadvantage; intergenerational poverty; preschool; school readiness; social mobility

Journal Article.  5474 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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