Published Online: August 15, 2011
Published in Print: July 13, 2011, as Early Learning Linked to Adult Successes

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Early Learning Linked to Adult Successes

"Chicago Longitudinal Study: School-Based Early Childhood Education and Age-28 Well-Being"

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Chicago children who attended a high-quality prekindergarten-to-3rd grade learning program tended to be more successful as adults than peers educated in standard preschool and elementary programs, according to a study that tracked 1,400 children for 25 years.

The study was published in the June issue of Science magazine. Researchers used the data to show how the quality of early-learning programs affected outcomes in areas such as graduation rates, socioeconomic status, likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse, and likelihood of incarceration.

Cohort members, who are 93 percent African-American and now age 28, were either enrolled in one of Chicago’s standard early-childhood-learning programs or the Child-Parent Center Education Program. The latter is a publicly financed program based in the city and regarded for its good teachers, small classes, and continuity through the early-learning years, among other features.

A research team led by the University of Minnesota's Arthur J. Reynolds found that, overall, the more than 900 pupils enrolled in the child-parent center program had the more positive outcomes by age 28, compared with the approximately 500 children who were randomly enrolled in alternative early-learning programs. Eighteen percent more of the center's pupils achieved moderate or higher levels of socioeconomic status; 55 percent more achieved on-time high school graduation, and 36 percent fewer had been arrested for violence. The findings were particularly bright for males and children of high school dropouts.

Vol. 30, Issue 36, Page 5

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