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Developing Autonomy

Developing autonomy (the ability to manage one’s self and one’s own learning) has been identified as a key component of long term impact of effective preschool programmes. In Chicago in the 1960’s, an evaluation of preschool programmes that blended adult-led learning with child initiated learning began. This was the Perry preschool Study and the curriculum developed from this programme is Called High/Scope.

The success of Head Start in the USA reported by Weikart in the 1990s presented findings about the long-term situation for children who had participated in early education programmes (Gilford Citation2013). It showed improved school outcomes, improved career prospects, reduced social and health interventions in later life. 

The next two tasks will help you to understand the evidence around the importance of promoting child-led learning as an effective element in early intervention programmes. 

Schweinhart, Lawrence J., and David P. Weikart. Success by Empowerment: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 27. Young Children, vol. 49, no. 1, 1993, pp. 54–58. JSTOR, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Read the short summary of the findings of the Study on the impact of the children by the time they had reached age 27.


The report emphasises the importance of empowering young learners by drawing attention to taking responsibility for their own actions.

Highlight sections of the report that refer to this idea and consider how convincing you think this evidence and argument is.