On May 9, 2001, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a non-randomized longitudinal study of a comprehensive, early childhood program in the Chicago public schools. In Long-term Effects of an Early Childhood Intervention on Educational Achievement and Juvenile Arrest, approximately 1500 low-income children over the course of 15 years are followed to determine the long-term effectiveness of participation in the Chicago Child-Parent Center (CPC) Program compared to a match group that did not participate in CPC but had alternative early childhood education program experiences.
The CPC Program was established in 1967 with Title I, Elementary and Secondary Education Act federal funds. The program provides comprehensive education, family, and health services to low-income children ages 3 to 9 and their families. Key features of the program are low child to staff ratios in preschool and kindergarten; significant parent education and participation; outreach through home visitation and other mechanisms; ongoing staff development; health and nutrition services; structured learning activities; comprehensive school-age services for the transition to school; and teacher aides; and extra supplies.
The following summarizes the reports' key findings.
- Preschool participants in the Chicago Program had a higher rate of high school completion and more years of completed education than those who attended less intensive preschools or no preschool.
- Fewer preschool participants of the CPC Program had been arrested for juvenile crimes.
- The preschoolers and the school-age CPC participants had lower rates of participation in special education and lower rates of grade retention.
The study shows that participation in established early childhood intervention programs for low-income children is connected to better educational and social outcomes and children's long-term success.
The report is available from The Journal of the American Medical Association.