Child-Parent Centers better prepare children to start kindergarten

Children from low-income neighborhoods who participated in full-day preschool have stronger math and reading skills and are better prepared to start kindergarten compared to those who participate in traditional part-day programs.

[img_caption src=”×177.jpg” align=”right” alt=”photo at Child-Parent Center”]These findings, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), are based on a study of 1,000 three- and four-year-olds in 11 Chicago Public Schools who attended Child-Parent Centers (CPCs).

Watch the JAMA video
Read the full JAMA article

The study — which is the first to comprehensively examine the results of lengthening the preschool day — was conducted by the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Erikson develops and delivers innovative online and in-person professional development for CPCs in Chicago, Normal, Illinois, and St. Paul (Minnesota) Public Schools, as part of the Midwest Expansion of the Child-Parent Centers overseen by the University of Minnesota. Professor Barbara Bowman serves as curriculum coordinator and as co-investigator for the expansion project.

Gains in academic skills and physical health

The new study finds that children who attended a full-day program seven hours per day had the equivalent of a half-year gain in language, literacy, socio-emotional skills, math, and physical health, compared to those who completed part-day programs three hours per day.

The students also missed fewer school days than children who attended part-day preschool programs.

The full-day CPCs feature a professional development system of teacher coaching, parent involvement, and collaboration with principals. According to the study, these elements provide a framework for replication on a larger scale. The City of Chicago recently announced plans to increase enrollment in the Child-Parent Centers by 2,600 preschool students.

Reducing the achievement gap

[img_caption src=”×152.jpg” link=”” align=”right” caption=”Barbara T. Bowman” alt=”photo of Bowman”]Professor Bowman explains the value of the CPCs, saying, “These experiences are a critical way that we can to reduce the achievement gap among low-income and minority children.” She notes that “it is important to provide a carefully developed full-day curriculum if these benefits are to be realized.”

The Midwest CPC expansion is a partnership between the University of Minnesota and ten education and nonprofit institutions in Illinois and Minnesota, including Erikson. It is funded by the Investing in Innovation Fund of the U. S. Department of Education, 20 foundation and corporate partners, schools, and support from the National Institutes of Health.

National media coverage of the study results

The study is gaining nationwide attention. Media coverage includes:

Read more about Erikson’s work in Child-Parent Centers