Effects of the "bright start" program in kindergarten on transfer and academic achievement

David Tzuriel, Shlomo Kaniel, Ella Kanner, H. Carl Haywood

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    Bright Start (Cognitive Curriculum for Young Children; Haywood, Brooks, & Burns, 1986, 1992) is an early education program designed to increase learning effectiveness and prepare children with the cognitive tools for school learning. Bright Start was systematically applied, for 10 months, with 82 preschool socio-economically disadvantaged children while 52 children in a comparison group received a skills-based but not cognitively oriented program. Both static and dynamic assessment (Campione, 1989; Feuerstein, Rand, & Hoffman, 1979; Haywood & Tzuriel, 1992; Lidz, 1987; Tzuriel, 1997) tests were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program along with tests of task-intrinsic motivation and metacognitive activity. A follow-up study was carried out in Grade 1 to study the program's effects on cognitive performance and on achievement tests in Math and Reading Comprehension. Children in the experimental group improved their performance on different cognitive tasks and showed more task-intrinsic motivation and metacognitive behavior than did those in the comparison group. The cognitive scores on static tests and cognitive modifiability indices on dynamic assessment tasks were compared for each group at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and follow-up. Although lower at pre-test, the experimental group progressively closed the initial gap with the comparison group and showed superiority towards the end of Grade 1. Achievement in Grade 1 Math and Reading showed slight (non-significant) superiority of the experimental over the comparison group, in spite of the relatively limited application of Bright Start, the emphasis on basic readiness skills in the comparison group, and the relatively higher initial cognitive level of children in the comparison group. The results are discussed in relation to developmental aspects and previous findings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-141
    Number of pages31
    JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1999

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