– Head Start is a US preschool program aiming to promote the school readiness of 3 to 5 year old children from low-income families. According to a recent national study, the fact that most Head Start classrooms include pupils of mixed ages impairs the good academic development of older children. This research shows that 4 years old who are in classrooms with a higher number of 3 years old can end up being five months behind their peers in academic performance.

– “Four-year-olds are often enrolled in classrooms that are less supportive of their academic learning,” said Kelly Purtell, co-author of the study and assistant professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. Such results may also explain why a previous evaluation of the Head Start program showed that it was not much helpful for the academic achievement of 4-year-old kids. “Mixed-age classrooms may be one reason that older children don’t seem to benefit as much from Head Start as do younger children,” said Arya Ansari, a graduate student at the University of Texas and lead author of the study.



The Country School by Winslow Homer – Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, USA