Versatility? Even a Preschooler Can Learn That!

Have you ever wondered about the value of putting kids in preschool? Most debates about early education focus on traditional skills such as reading ability, but a new research study looks at social skills as well. This study shows the importance that early development of social skills has for people as they mature into adulthood.

The research might also provide motivation for those of us who can no longer hang upside down on a jungle gym to continue learning and practicing the abilities that are under our control – good social skills.

An analysis by economists at the University of Chicago shows that kids who take part in early education programs are more likely to succeed as adults. Years and even decades later, these kids got better grades, were more likely to graduate high school and get married, and were less likely to get into legal trouble or become dependent on welfare.

But what is really interesting is that although these kids had an initial boost in IQ scores, that advantage dissolved by early grade school. What lasts are the self-control and social skills that children learn through early socialization. The researchers note that perseverance, dependability, and consistency are the most important predictors of school grades. If you’re looking for hard numbers, the economists calculated that every dollar invested in preschool for at-risk children results in an $8 to $9 return to society.

These findings are really not surprising. A great deal of research has shown the relationship between good social skills and success in various aspects of life. That’s why TRACOM measures perseverance and dependability as part of our Versatility profile, in addition to other important abilities.

So although it may be too late for us to hang our water paintings on the classroom wall, it’s never too late to practice high Versatility. And remember; always share your toys with your playmates.

More information about the research of University of Chicago’s James Heckman, visit

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