Association of a full-day vs part-day preschool intervention with school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement

JAMA. 2014 Nov 26;312(20):2126-34. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.15376.

Abstract

Importance: Early childhood interventions have demonstrated positive effects on well-being. Whether full-day vs part-day attendance improves outcomes is unknown.

Objective: To evaluate the association between a full- vs part-day early childhood program and school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement.

Design, setting, and participants: End-of-preschool follow-up of a nonrandomized, matched-group cohort of predominantly low-income, ethnic minority children enrolled in the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) for the full day (7 hours; n = 409) or part day (3 hours on average; n = 573) in the 2012-2013 school year in 11 schools in Chicago, Illinois.

Intervention: The Midwest CPC Education Program provides comprehensive instruction, family-support, and health services from preschool to third grade.

Main outcomes and measures: School readiness skills at the end of preschool, attendance and chronic absences, and parental involvement. The readiness domains in the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System include a total of 49 items with a score range of 105-418. The specific domains are socioemotional with 9 items (score range, 20-81), language with 6 items (score range, 15-54), literacy with 12 items (score range, 9-104), math with 7 items (score, 8-60), physical health with 5 items (score range, 14-45), and cognitive development with 10 items (score range, 18-90).

Results: Full-day preschool participants had higher scores than part-day peers on socioemotional development (58.6 vs 54.5; difference, 4.1; 95% CI, 0.5-7.6; P = .03), language (39.9 vs 37.3; difference, 2.6; 95% CI, 0.6-4.6; P = .01), math (40.0 vs 36.4; difference, 3.6; 95% CI, 0.5-6.7; P = .02), physical health (35.5 vs 33.6; difference, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.5-3.2; P = .006), and the total score (298.1 vs 278.2; difference, 19.9; 95% CI, 1.2-38.4; P = .04). Literacy (64.5 vs 58.6; difference, 5.9; 95% CI, -0.07 to 12.4; P = .08) and cognitive development (59.7 vs 57.7; difference, 2.0; 95% CI, -2.4 to 6.3; P = .38) were not significant. Full-day preschool graduates also had higher rates of attendance (85.9% vs 80.4%; difference, 5.5; 95% CI, 2.6-8.4; P = .001) and lower rates of chronic absences (≥10% days missed; 53.0% vs 71.6%; difference, -18.6; 95% CI, -28.5 to -8.7; P = .001; ≥20% days missed; 21.2% vs 38.8%; difference -17.6%; 95% CI, -25.6 to -9.7; P < .001) but no differences in parental involvement.

Conclusions and relevance: In an expansion of the CPCs in Chicago, a full-day preschool intervention was associated with increased school readiness skills in 4 of 6 domains, attendance, and reduced chronic absences compared with a part-day program. These findings should be replicated in other programs and contexts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chicago
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Poverty
  • Schools
  • Time Factors