Does early childhood education enhance parental school involvement in second grade? Evidence from midwest child-parent center program

Nishank Varshney, Sangyoo Lee, Judy A. Temple, Arthur J. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper examines the impact on parent involvement in second grade in the Midwest Child-Parent Centers (MCPC), a high-quality preschool-to-third-grade school reform model. A new focus of research on early childhood programs is understanding how early childhood learning gains can be sustained. Two-generation programs that provide diverse family services may be one approach. The MCPC expansion was implemented for a cohort of over 2000 Chicago and Saint Paul students beginning in preschool. Based on a comparison of the program and usual-service comparison groups matched at the school level via propensity scores, ratings were obtained for a subset of the sample by teachers and parents on parent involvement in school in second grade. After accounting for potential attrition bias via multiple imputation and propensity score weighting, results indicated that MCPC participation was associated with significantly higher parent involvement in school at the end of second grade both in the aggregate sample (Effect Size = 0.19 SD) and in Chicago (ES = 0.24). Differences in Saint Paul, however, were small (ES = 0.15) and not statistically significant. Robustness testing using different model specifications revealed similar results. Implications for assessing and sustaining early childhood learning gains are discussed with a focus on recognizing that parental involvement is an integral component of high-quality programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105317
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this manuscript was supported by the U. S. Department of Education Office of Innovation ( U411B110098 ), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (No. HD034294 ), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (No. OPP1173152 ). The funders had no role in the manuscript preparation and decision to submit for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Early childhood education
  • Family engagement
  • Impact evaluation
  • Parent involvement
  • Preschool
  • Scale-up


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