Chicago Longitudinal Study

August 01, 2000
The Chicago Longitudinal Study (CLS) verifies the importance of involving families in early learning. In fact, the Learning Community early childhood and family engagement programs in North Omaha rely on the Chicago Child-Parent Centers model..

The Chicago Longitudinal Study started in 1986 with 1,539 low-income children in kindergarten. 93% are African American, and all grew up in high-poverty neighborhoods in Chicago.

The original sample included children who attended preschool, kindergarten or received services from 20 Child-Parent Centers. The remaining 389 children, from similar neighborhoods, participated in an alternative kindergarten in 5 Chicago public schools.

By spring 1998 or 1999, most completed their senior year of high school. Currently, they are 20 years old, and researchers extensively track their life choices. They study will documenthow many chose higher education, how many gained employment, how many returned to get their GED, as well as other areas of well-being. And, another round of data collection gets underway 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 of personal, family, school, and community factors, especially those that are alterable.

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