Association of a Full-Day vs Part-Day Preschool Intervention
With School Readiness, Attendance, and Parent Involvement
Arthur J. Reynolds, PhD; Brandt A. Richardson, BA; Momoko Hayakawa, PhD; Erin M. Lease, MA; Mallory WarnerRichter,
MPP; Michelle M. Englund, PhD; Suh-Ruu Ou, PhD; Molly Sullivan, MPP
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.
JAMA. 2014;312(20):2126-2134. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15376
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