Chicago Longitudinal Study

August 01, 2000

This foundational study for Learning Community programs verifies the importance of involving families in early learning. The Chicago Child-Parent Centers are an important model for Learning Community early childhood and family engagement programs in North Omaha.

The Chicago Longitudinal Study (CLS) investigates the educational and social development of 1,539 lowincome children (93% of whom are African American) who grew up in high-poverty neighborhoods in Chicago. Born in 1980, they graduated from kindergarten programs in the Chicago Public Schools in 1986.

The original sample included all 1,150 children who attended or received services from 20 Child-Parent Centers in preschool in 1983-85 and/or kindergarten in 1985-1986. The remaining 389 children of the same age participated in an alternative full-day kindergarten program in 5 Chicago public schools in similar neighborhoods.

Followed since kindergarten, most youth completed their senior year of high school in the spring of 1998 or 1999. Currently, study participants are 20 years of age. Extensive tracking is being undertaken to determine how many went on to higher education, how many are employed, how many returned to get their GED, as well as other areas of well-being. Future data collection in this on-going 15-year study is planned when these young adults are age 22.

The CLS is guided by four major goals:

1. To document patterns of school and social competence over time.

2. To evaluate the effects of the Child-Parent Center Program on child, youth, and family development.

3. To better understand how early childhood experiences affect later school performance, social behavior, and career plans.

4. To investigate the contributions to children’s success of personal, family, school, and community factors, especially those that are alterable.

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