John J. Wilson, Acting Administrator October 2000

The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project

Greg Parks

This Bulletin was prepared by Greg Parks, Intern Program Specialist, Research and Program Development Division, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.

Photograph copyright © 1999 PhotoDisc, Inc.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

From the Administrator

The more we learn about risk factors for delinquency, the more obvious it is that effective prevention programs targeting children at risk can provide benefits far beyond their cost. This Bulletin revisits a time-tested early childhood education program and looks at the results to date from an ongoing, well-designed study of the program.

Nearly 40 years ago, the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project developed a high-quality educational approach focusing on 3- and 4-year-olds at risk for school failure. The longitudinal study has found that not only was the project effective as an educational intervention, it also demonstrated other positive outcomes, including a significantly lower rate of crime and delinquency and a lower incidence of teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency. By the age of 27, program participants were nearly three times as likely to own their own homes than the control group and less than half as likely to be receiving public assistance.

This Bulletin explains how and why the Perry Preschool Project was successful, presents two positive cost-benefit analyses, and examines the implications for future policy decisions. One conclusion is that an effective prevention strategy requires both quality programming and an adequate commitment of resources.

John J. Wilson
Acting Administrator


NCJ 181725

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