New Study Shows Head Start Helps Parents’ Education Too

According to a new study by Northwestern University researchers, Head Start programs may help low-income parents improve their educational status. “Studies on early childhood education programs have historically focused on child outcomes,” said study lead author Terri Sabol, an assistant professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. “We asked whether there could be beneficial effects for the parents,” said Sabol. The majority of research on Head Start focuses solely on children’s cognitive and social outcomes rather than on the impacts on parents. This study finds that Head Start leads to improved parent educational attainment by the time children are in kindergarten.

This research adds to the evidence base for parent and family engagement, the focus of the Office of Head Start National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center.