A meta-analysis of the impact of early childhood interventions on the development of children in the Netherlands
an inconvenient truth?
Following on from successful early intervention programs abroad, the Netherlands also introduced a number of different programs to tackle educational disadvantage in preschool and early years education. Studies that investigate the effects of Dutch early childhood interventions have been published since 2000. This meta-analytic review study summarizes the findings from 21 experimental comparisons which study some 50,000 children in the period between 2000–2015, with a total of 165 outcome measures. The aggregate effect of early childhood interventions compared with standard preschool and early years groups is not statistically significant. The disappointing results indicate that special early childhood education programs currently offer no added value for the development of young children in the Dutch context over and above regular preschool and early years groups. A focus for Dutch policy is to improve future practice based on scientific evidence around effective approaches to ECEC. Further, the implementation of study designs with more experimental control would strengthen the current knowledge base.