Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center

Chicago Heights, IL
University of Chicago Becker Center
Chicago Heights School
District 170


2010 - 2013


What is the impact of a comprehensive preschool curriculum for students ages 3-5 compared to a Parent Academy curriculum for adults offered during evening and weekend classes? What is the effect of different forms of incentives—both immediate and deferred—offered to parents participating in the Parent Academy?


Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, EdLabs, in partnership with researchers at The Becker Center on Price Theory at the University of Chicago and Chicago Heights School District 170, oversaw the creation of the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center.

Development of the Center is a three-year experiment in early childhood education. In Years 1 and 2, the program consisted of two tuition-free, full-day preschools with distinct curricula and pedagogical approaches and two comprehensive Parent Academies (evening classes designed to develop parents into their child's first educator) that mirrored the preschool curriculum and offered incentives to engage and motivate parent participants. In Year 3, the school-focused treatments were condensed into a single, cognitive and social emotional curriculum offered on both campuses, with all preschool parents invited to participate in Parent Academy classes.


With the underlying goal of tracking participants until they reach the age of 18 (and possibly beyond), the CHECC is among the most comprehensive longitudinal early childhood studies ever conducted.