Children who complete part or all of an intensive educational program in Chicago, IL were found to benefit significantly in adulthood, shows a recently published study, funded in part by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
The Child-Parent Centers programs, federally funded under the No Child Left Behind Act, and located in Chicago Illinois, was founded in 1967. The program is unique in that it is run by certified teachers, has extensive parent involvement, and possesses a low student to teacher ratio. Child-Parent Centers (CPC) programs offer intensive instruction in math and reading through classroom activities and educational field-trips for children in pre-school through 3rd grade. CPC also involves the parents in the children’s education by having parents volunteer in classrooms and on field trips. Parents may also receive job skills training, GED preparation classes, parent skills training, and social services.
The research team that conducted this study was led by Dr. Arthur Reynolds and Dr. Judy Temple. They followed children from the time they were aged 3or 4 to the time they were aged 24 to attain information about the possible benefits the CPC program had in adulthood for children who had participated in it. The researchers followed 1,539 children who were enrolled either in CPC programs or other childhood educational programs. Approximately 1,000 children enrolled in the CPC program whereas approximately 500 were enrolled in other early childhood educational programs. It is also important to note that 93% of participants were African-American and 7% were Hispanic.
While families moved into and out of the area during the time of the study, the results of this study show that children who completed even part of the CPC program benefited as adults. Children who completed the pre-school aspect of the Child-Parent Centers program alone were more likely to have health insurance, attend a 4-year college, have lower levels of depression, and have lower levels of violent crime and incarceration at age 24 than those who had not participated in the pre-school CPC program.
Likewise, at age 24 those who had participated in the school-age aspect of the CPC program were less likely to receive public assistance and less likely to have a disability than those who had participated in alternative programs.
Finally, children who had completed both the pre-school and school-age components of the CPC program were less likely to receive public assistance, more likely to attend college and to be employed full-time, and less likely to have a disability than those who had completed other early childhood educational programs.
These results indicate that the CPC program offered in Chicago Public Schools produces long-lasting benefits for the children who participate in them.
Perhaps other, similar early childhood educational programs will be founded in other parts of the country, providing even more disadvantaged children with the opportunity to succeed educationally and economically as adults.
For more information regarding this study, please visit the National Institute of Health.