This research brief outlines the impacts of three model early childhood programs on children and families. Much of the support for early childhood interventions comes from the strong evidence of impacts gathered from rigorous evaluations of these comprehensive, center-based programs:

  • Abecedarian project was a very intensive intervention enrolling children in a full-day, full-year program from infancy through kindergarten. The center-based program had low child-teacher ratios (3:1 for infants and 6:1 for preschoolers) and was supplemented by home visits during the first three years. Costs per child averaged $42,871 for the full multi-year program.
  • High Scope/Perry Preschool enrolled three- and four-year-old children at risk for academic failure in preschool classes that operated five days a week during the academic year. Teachers used a curriculum designed to support children’s self-initiated learning and conducted weekly home visits. The average child-teacher ratio was less than 6:1, and program costs averaged $14,830 per child for the two-year program.
  • Chicago Child-Parent Centers provided a half-day, center-based preschool program at twenty centers run by the Chicago Public Schools. The preschool program, which averaged $6,913 per child over two years, included an active family involvement component and a six-week summer program.

This research brief is one in a series of research briefs on the impacts of early childhood programs published by First Focus and the Brookings Center on Children and Families. The full series includes briefs on State Pre-K, Head Start, Early Head Start, Model Early Childhood Programs, and Nurse Home Visiting.