Sustaining Early Childhood Gains

  • children playing

How early childhood programs can better sustain gains is one of the most critical issues in education and public policy.  Here we provide various resources focused on sustaining gains.

Research Briefs


Sustaining Gains Overview

This fact brief on Sustaining Gains provides research evidence on how to structure programs to produce lasting effects.

PreK Elements that Increase Third Grade Achievement

In this brief we summarize results from analyses of two sets of effectiveness elements, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s 15 essential elements (Gates-15) and the Child-Parent Center 21 elements (CPC-21; Tables 2 and 3). Both are based on a synthesis of evidence, although the CPC elements derive from life-course results of one of the most established public PreK programs as well as principles of school reform. The two questions are (a) whether 3rd grade achievement gains are greater as the number of elements increases and (b) which particular elements are most associated with gains.

Effective Learning Experiences

Quality in early childhood programs has been a longstanding priority in policy and practice. Identifying the contribution of specific elements of high quality or effective learning experiences (ELE) is critical in scaling effective programs to population levels. This Brief summarizes preschool findings for five ELEs in the Midwest Child-Parent Center (CPC) Expansion Project: (1) full-day preschool, (2) small classes (17 or fewer children), (3) balance of teacher-directed and child-initiated instruction, (4) a high percentage of instructional time in core domains, and (5) an engaging classroom environment. Findings indicate that structural program elements are important contributors to learning gains and positively influence the instructional context necessary for effective preschool experiences.

Program Continutity and Stability

In this fact brief, the key element of the Child-Parent Center P-3 program of continuity and stability is discussed. Additionally, information on promoting continuity and stability is presented.

Effective Learning Experiences

In this fact breif, the key elements effective learning experiences from the Child-Parent Center model is discussed.  Information on implementing effective learning experiences is also presented.


speakers at SRCD symposium on Sustaining Early Childhood Gains

2019 SRCD Conference on Sustaining Gains

At the Society for Research in Child Development Conference in March, 2019, investigators from state PreK and public programs in Michigan, Oklahoma, St. Paul, MN, and Chicago, IL, presented recent findings demonstrating the sustained efects of the programs on student achievement.  As discussant, Barbara Bowman from the Erickson Institute addressed key themes and recommended increasing program quality and programs continue to scale. FInd more informaiton and resources from the conference here



Sustaining Early Childhood Learning Gains 

In a new book, Sustaining Early Childhood Learning Gains, editors Arthur J. Reynolds, PhD, a professor in the Institute of Child Development and Judy A. Temple, PhD, a professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, highlight interventions and practices that promote healthy development in the first decade of life and ways schools, families, communities, and public institutions can lend support. This Cambridge University Press volume is available on-line. Find more informaiton here.

 book cover