The research evidence is compelling that early childcare and education can have robust effects on children’s academic and behavioral development, but we also know that early childhood programs face challenges that limit their effectiveness. In this lecture, Deborah Lowe Vandell first examines evidence of the short-term effects of early childhood programs, including consideration of the factors that support or impede program effectiveness. In the second half of the presentation, she turns to research that asks if there are long-term effects of early childhood programs on adolescent and adult outcomes. If effects persist, what are the processes and factors that mediate and moderate long-term effects?
Deborah Lowe Vandell is a professor of education and psychology at the University of California, Irvine, where she was the founding dean of the School of Education. The author of more than 150 articles and four books, Vandell has studied the short-term and long-term effects of afterschool programs, extracurricular activities, and unsupervised time on children and adolescents from diverse families. In other studies, she has focused on the short-term and long-term effects of early care and education on children’s academic, social, and behavioral development. Collectively, her research underscores the importance of both early education and out-of-school time as key factors in children’s success at school. Vandell began her career as an elementary school teacher after earning her master’s degree in education from Harvard University. She later received a Ph.D. in psychology from Boston University. She is a member of the National Academy of Education and is a fellow of the American Education Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society. Her testimony before the U.S. Congress and other federal, state, and local governmental bodies has been used to inform policy decisions in early childhood and afterschool programming.