Five of the More Interesting Early Learning Studies of 2011

It was a busy year in early learning research, with new studies on long-term benefits of high-quality early education, socio-emotional development in early education, digital media’s influence on development and creativity.

Here is an unscientific list of the five most interesting studies of 2011:

A new report shows that children who attended a high-quality early education program were more likely to graduate high school and less likely to land in jail 25 years later, and those who spent the longest time at the school had even better results. — Birth to Thrive Online, 6/09/11.

It’s not just about curbing the amount of time young children spend in front of the TV that matters … but monitoring what they watch. In fact, when it comes to children’s television programs, it turns out some shows may slow the executive functions of preschoolers, researchers reported today.  — Birth to Thrive Online, 9/12/11.

Students who went to a combination of pre-k and half-day kindergarten scored better on third grade reading tests than students who only attended full-day kindergarten, according to the report from The Center for Public Education. And minority and low-income students showed even more dramatic gains than the average scores. — Birth to Thrive Online, 11/2/11.

“In a 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas. They are also less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas, Kim said. – “Not your imagination: Kids today really are less creative, study says.” LiveScience, via Today Parenting. 8/12/11. — Birth to Thrive Online, 8/15/11.

A study suggests preschoolers may not be learning an important school-readiness skill, not early literacy and language, but self control. — Birth to Thrive Online, 3/8/11.

(Thanks to Parents magazine, which inspired me with its list, “The 6 Most Important Child Development Research Studies of 2011.” There is a bit of overlap, but not much.)