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Child in preschool

Child Care / Preschool

This page features all PPN content on the topics of child care and preschool, including program summaries, issue briefs, expert perspectives, and additional resources and tools that provide evidence-based information information on what works for children and families.s

Programs that Work
PPN Issue Brief
Expert Perspectives
Additional Resources

Programs that Work

These programs, or some portion of the program, are delivered in a preschool setting or provide care for children before they enter kindergarten.

Proven Programs

The Abecedarian Project

Child-Parent Centers

DARE to be You

Early Head Start

HighScope Perry Preschool Program

Incredible Years

New Hope Project

Promising Programs

Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)

Father/Male Involvement Preschool Teacher Education Program

Head Start

Hip-Hop to Health Jr.

Reaching Educators, Children, and Parents (RECAP)

Safe Child Program

Second Step Violence Prevention

Smart Start

Syracuse Family Development Research Program

Proven / Promising Programs

Infant Health and Development Program

Other Reviewed Programs




Dialogic Reading

I Can Problem Solve

Interactive Shared Book Reading

Parent Child Development Center

Phonological Awareness Training

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training

Primary Mental Health Project


Schools and Families Educating Children (SAFE Children)

Shared Book Reading

Sound Foundations

Strengthening Families Program

PPN Issue Brief

Head Start: What Do We Know?

Child in Head Start program
This issue brief is intended to clarify some of the reasons that Head Start has been difficult to evaluate in a rigorous way, and why even the most rigorous evaluations of Head Start have been criticized for having shortcomings. Many of the difficulties in assessing Head Start are inherent to the structure of the program itself. This brief should illuminate for policymakers and others the reasons why many consider the issue of Head Start's effectiveness to be as of yet unresolved.

Read moreRead the Issue Brief

Expert Perspectives

Child Care Quality

Children in child care program
Improving child care quality has been a priority for policymakers over the last decade, and child care quality rating systems (QRS) have proliferated across the country. However, several studies released in 2008 find little evidence that the ratings reported by these systems are associated with measures of children's well-being. As such, the evidence raises questions about the reliability of these systems to accurately measure the quality of child care services.

In this Expert Perspectives feature, child policy experts answered questions from PPN visitors about the topic of child care quality and methods used to measure child care quality.

Read moreRead the responses

Head Start

Children in Head Start program
The Head Start program is perhaps the most well known early childhood program in the United States. Despite hundreds of research studies conducted on the Head Start program over nearly half a century, controversy remains regarding the effectiveness of Head Start in achieving its multidimensional goal of promoting school readiness by providing educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. Recently published first grade follow-up results of the Head Start Impact Study have refueled this debate with the finding that Head Start participants achieve cognitive gains that fade out by the end of the first grade year.

In this Expert Perspectives feature, child policy experts answered questions from PPN visitors about the research evidence related to Head Start.

Read moreRead the responses

Additional Resources

The additional resources found on this page come from other credible websites that PPN has reviewed for quality and relevance, including links to databases, fact sheets, screening tools, seminal reports, and a variety of other resources that are among the best research-based materials available on children and families.

Reports, Briefs and Other Publications

Child Care Bureau's Child Care Bulletin

The Child Care Bulletin is a quarterly publication under the direction of the Child Care Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each issue includes practical, informative articles based on current literature regarding topics important to policy-makers, child care providers, and parents.

Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten

This special issue of Early Developments (Spring 2005, Volume 9, Number 1), published by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, summarizes findings from the Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten conducted by the National Center for Early Development and Learning.

National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study

This longitudinal study followed more than 3,338 children with disabilities or at risk for disabilities, and their families, through their early intervention experiences and into early elementary school. The final report, Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families: Participants, Services, and Outcomes, is available online.

NICHD Study of Early Child Care: Findings Up to Age 4 1/2

The National Institute on Child and Human Development (NICHD) sponsored a multi-year study of over 1,000 ethnically diverse children from across the nation. This report summarizes the findings for children through age 4 1/2.

Preschool: First Findings from the Third Follow-up of the ECLS-B

This National Center for Education Statistics reports presents findings based on children from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, a sample of children born in 2001. This report includes descriptive information on language, literacy, and other assessments, as well as family demographics and child care arrangements.

Using Community-Based Child Care for Pre-Kindergarten

This report, All Together Now: State Experiences in using Community-Based Child Care to Provide Pre-Kindergarten, from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), presents findings from a 2004 survey of how 28 states use community-based child care in their pre-kindergarten programs. A summary for each participating state is provided.


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Resources on Child Care

AAP seeks to ensure the health of preschool age children and children in child care by providing information and resources for families, child care providers and health professionals. Child care providers can access general health and safety information, learn about Standards, Accreditation, and Licensing requirements, and find out about professional development resources.

Child Care & Early Education Research Connections

Research Connections is a comprehensive resource for publications, tools, and data on child care and early education. Primarily designed for researchers and policymakers, Research Connections helps visitors learn about research methods and how to assess the strength of methods used within evaluations. The site also offers downloadable datasets for researchers to use and a searchable database of instruments used in evaluations. Policy resources are also provided including links to state-specific data tools.

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

This center provides extensive amounts of information about early childhood development and health, family and community partnerships, program design and management resources, professional development activities, and a Head Start services locator. Caregivers can also go to a special section for "Parents" to learn about early childhood development.

Education Commission of the States' Early Learning Issues

This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization offers resources to leaders at all levels of the education system by providing opportunities to share information, build partnerships, and develop evidence-based policies. The Commission segments its activities into Early Learning, K-12, and Postsecondary Issues. Within Early Learning issues, resources are provided for the topics of Brain Research, Early Learning-Readiness, Pre-kindergarten, and Kindergarten.

National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC) Online Library

The National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC) is a clearinghouse and technical assistance center that assists parents, providers, policy-makers, researchers and the public by meeting their needs for information on early child care and education. The NCCIC online library offers early childhood information such as state regulations, links to organizations, annotated lists of publications and research findings. Information is presented on a variety of topics including child care, school readiness, early childhood learning, and health and safety.

State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems

The purpose of this initiative is to support States in planning, developing, and implementing collaborations and partnerships that in turn will support the healthy development and school readiness of children. In addition to being a resource for state grantees, the System's website also provides access to every individual state's early childhood plans.

Databases and Tools

Cornell Linking Economic Development and Child Care 50 State Database

This downloadable database is a compilation of data on child care economics, demographics, and early care and education programs and policies from 31 sources. The data was current as of Fall 2003-Spring 2004.

Early Childhood Assessments Database

A reference for policymakers, education professionals, and program administrators to learn about assessment used for Pre-K children. This database was prepared by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Early Childhood Atlas Analysis Tools

Developed by the Mississippi State University Early Childhood Institute and the Rural Policy Research Institute's Community Information Resource Center, the Early Childhood Atlas makes data about early childhood services available through three tools: Early Childhood Status Report, Map Archive, and Map Maker. The tools can be used for a variety of purposes including mapping licensed early childhood programs, performing spatial or geographic analysis of demographic trends in an area, and showing changes in eligibility criteria for child care subsidies and the likely resulting effects on communities.

National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) Data Tools

NCCP provides four useful data tools related to early childhood and families:

- The Family Resource Simulator allows users to model the effects of public benefits on family budgets.
- The 50-State Demographics Wizard allows users to create customized tables containing statistical information on low-income and poor children.
- The 50-State Policy Wizard lets users create customized comparisons of state and federal policies aimed at helping low-income families and children.
- The Income Converter lets users compare family income amounts to the federal poverty level and state median incomes.

NCCP Early Childhood State Profiles

NCCP provides four Early Childhood-related profiles for each state. The profiles cover general financial and demographic trends for young children, health and nutrition, early care and education, and parenting and economic supports information.

National Child Care Information Center State Profiles

The National Child Care Information Center provides two state-by-state information tools related to early childhood. Their State Profiles provide key information on child care by state. The profiles contain demographic information on children, families and child care in each state, contact information for state agencies for child care, state child care licensing requirements, and links to additional state and national resources. The State Infant Toddler Information focuses on children birth to three and the National Infant & Toddler child Care Initiative, which is sponsored by the Child Care Bureau.

State of Preschool Yearbook 2006

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) produces this annual report that profiles state-funded pre-kindergarten programs in the U.S.

Community Guide Review of Early Childhood Development Programs

The Guide to Community Preventive Services ("Community Guide") is produced by an independent Task Force convened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Task Force conducts systematic reviews of a range of community health topics and diseases and filtered all of the information in order to present an informative and easy to understand summary of information on the effectiveness, economic efficiency, and feasibility of interventions targeting these topics and diseases.This document summarizes their findings related to early childhood development programs as a strategy for reducing cognitive developmental delay.

Fact Sheets

National Association for the Education of Young Children Fact Sheets

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has produced a number of fact sheets that provide information related to early childhood:

National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies Fact Sheets

These fact sheets provide statistics on the cost, quality, and impact on children, families, and the economy, as well as data on the Child Care Resource and Referral System. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies produced one national fact sheet and a set of state-by-state fact sheets.