The Ounce of Prevention Fund initiated the Educare Chicago Follow-Up Study in 2005 to determine how well our high-quality, birth-to-five, early care and education program prepared children and their families for elementary school and beyond. This ongoing study is designed as a longitudinal, mixed methods investigation of 12 cohorts of over 300 former Educare Chicago students and their families. The Ounce research team hopes to follow graduates’ achievements throughout their K-12 education and into adulthood.
The study findings help support the Ounce’s early childhood policy and advocacy work and drive continuous quality improvement at Educare Chicago, as well as at the national Educare Learning Network of schools. The study findings also contribute to the body of evidence that confirms the long-lasting, positive outcomes of a high quality early educational experience.
The Educare Chicago Follow-up Study continues to provide researchers, policymakers, and practitioners valuable insights on how to improve the quality learning early learning environments for all children, including those living in underserved or otherwise disadvantaged communities.
- The first cohort of Educare Chicago students that graduated high school have all gone on to pursue post-secondary education.
- Over 80% of former Educare Chicago students demonstrated academic readiness upon entry to kindergarten, showing an understanding of basic kindergarten concepts such as colors, letters, numbers, sizes, and shapes. By comparison, other studies have found that only 48% of children living in underserved communities are academically prepared to enter kindergarten.
- Assessments of children at the end of third grade revealed no decline of their social-emotional or concept-development skills. The study also found that the average Educare Chicago graduate possessed mathematical and problem-solving skills that are at the national benchmark.
- Educare Chicago graduates have higher average attendance rates than CPS students district-wide.
- Educare Chicago graduate parents are rated by their children’s K-3rd grade teachers as equally, or more, involved than parents of classmates, with involvement increasing across grade levels.
- Many parents credit their Educare Chicago experience as being instrumental in helping them become better advocates for their children.
Publications and Resources
- The Educare Chicago Research-Program Partnership and Follow-Up Study: Using Data on Program Graduates to Enhance Quality Improvement Efforts – This peer-reviewed article discusses the use of longitudinal data obtained from former Educare Chicago children and families to inform continuous quality improvement of the program.
Ounce Research and Evaluation Team
- Amanda Stein, Principal Investigator and Director of Research and Evaluation
- Todd Jackson, Research Associate
- Kelsey Schmitt, Research Assistant
- Jackie Robinson, Assistant Director, Educare Chicago Alumni Network (ECAN)
- Debra Pacchiano, Vice President, Translational Research
- Tony Raden, Former Senior Vice President, Research and Policy
- Karen Freel, Former Vice President, National Research and Evaluation
- W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
- The Alvin H. Baum Family Fund
- Paul M. Angell Family Foundation
Point of Contact
For questions or to learn more, contact Amanda Stein, director of research and evaluation, at ResearchTeam@theOunce.org.