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Abecedarian: An early childhood education approach that has a rich history and a vibrant present

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The Abecedarian Approach was created in the early 1970s to serve as the 'educational treatment' in the Abecedarian Project, a rigorous randomized controlled trial for children of disadvantaged families. The elements of the Abecedarian Approach are Language Priority, Enriched Caregiving, Conversational Reading, and LearningGames®. The Approach spans from birth to school entry and can be delivered through group child care, family child care, playgroups, and home visits. Preschool research findings showed positive effects on cognition as early as 18 months of age. School research showed improvement in reading and math achievement that persisted throughout the entire period of school enrollment. Long-term benefits for this disadvantaged sample included a fourfold improvement in their rate of university graduation. Adult-age follow-up disclosed unexpected benefits in life course variables including better health, more equitable social decision making, and reduced criminal behavior. Research on this classic early childhood approach is continuing today, and the results of two of those contemporary studies are reported in this issue of International Journal of Early Childhood. (author abstract)
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