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Table 3 Peer-reviewed meta-analyses and reviews of multi-component ECE interventions

From: Fostering socio-emotional learning through early childhood intervention

Citation Type Interventions Sample Measured outcomes Major findings Major study limitations
Nelson et. al. (2003) Meta-analysis Preschool prevention programs for low-income children 34 studies Parent and teacher ratings of children’s social skills and behavioral problems
Self-reports on self-esteem
Academic records (special education placement, grade retention)
Information about employment, education, and criminal behavior in adolescence
Preschool programs exerted small to moderate effects on socio-emotional functioning (Kindergarten through eighth grade d = 0.27; high school and beyond d = 0.33)
Programs that began working with children at younger ages were not associated with larger socio-emotional benefits than programs that began at later ages
Programs with longer follow-up periods were associated with greater socio-emotional benefits
Programs that served predominantly African American children were associated with the greatest socio-emotional benefits
Few studies examined long-term effects
Use of broadly constructed outcome variables (“e.g., social-emotional functioning”)
Authors were unable to code for the amount of intervention that children in comparison groups received
Some continuous variables were transformed into categorical ones
Camilli et. al. (2010) Meta-analysis Center-based ECE interventions 43 studies Measures of self-esteem, school adjustment, educational goals, aggression, and antisocial behaviors Preschool participation also exerted small, statistically significant positive effects on children’s social skills and school progress (unweighted mean ES = 0.16 for treatment versus control groups)
Effects on socio-emotional functioning did not change significantly over the course of follow-up
Teacher-directed instruction and small-group learning were positively correlated with socio-emotional gains among treatment group members. small-group learning
Social/emotional and “antisocial” variables were combined into a single broad outcome
Significant variation in design quality among included studies
D’Onise et. al. (2014) Systematic review Center-based preschool interventions 13 studies “Social competence”, including positive social behaviors (e.g., cooperation, self-control) and problem behaviors (e.g., externalizing and internalizing problems, hyperactivity) Eight studies found beneficial effects of preschool participation on social competence
Six studies found no significant effects on social competence
Many included studies had high levels of bias, per the review authors
Many included studies used single measures and single ratings