Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
  • This strategy can help address educational disparities and promote healthy childhood environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Integration across early childhood education: The Child-Parent Center (CPC) is an early childhood education model for children ages 3-9 that integrates aspects of preschool with the early elementary grades. Run by school districts in elementary school buildings, the CPC model aims to create a stable and supporting learning environment that improves students’ academic outcomes.

  • Easing the transition to elementary school: Since elementary school has a different teaching style, structure, and philosophy than preschool, many children struggle to adjust. The CPC model addresses this by aligning curriculum, family involvement, and support services across grades. For example, academic content is sequenced so that new material builds off of past learning. CPCs are also often located in the same building as the elementary school to which students will matriculate.

  • Encouraging parental involvement: CPCs encourage parental involvement through a “menu-based” approach designed to reflect the needs and preferences of families in the school community. While all families take part in certain engagement activities, like a family needs assessment and a parent involvement plan, CPCs offer multiple avenues for parents to be involved in their child’s education. These include volunteering at field trips or events, participating in workshops on child development, attending an advisory council meeting, and more.

  • Connecting families to support services: CPCs, which predominantly serve low-income families, provide comprehensive family support services. Many services are targeted at the child, such as free and reduced price meals or health screenings. However, CPCs also provide services for parents and family members, which are often focused on career and educational development (e.g., a GED workshop).

Cost per Participant
$5,600 per child per year

Multiple studies with rigorous designs demonstrate that Child-Parent Centers are a well-supported strategy for improving academic achievement. 

Note: This content is under review.

  • Guarantee enrollment into elementary school: A key goal of the CPC model is to promote continuity as students transition from preschool into elementary school. To promote continuity, public school districts running CPC programs should guarantee enrollment for all CPC students at the associated elementary school through at least 3rd grade.

  • Invest in in-depth and systematic teacher development: The CPC model places high value on improving teacher effectiveness. As such, CPC schools adopt a professional development program with stages for planning, implementing, debriefing, and learning that feature online and in-person sessions, collaborative learning, individual teacher goal setting, and coaching from a head teacher.

  • Solidify relationships with partners: CPC programs should build formal relationships with community partners that can provide support services to families. Programs can identify the resources families want and need through parent surveys, focus groups, and community assessments. As partnerships are developed, memoranda of understanding, contracts, and letters of agreement are tools to define shared goals with partner organizations.

  • Use an evidence-based curriculum: CPC programs should use an early childhood curriculum that reflects current best practices on how children learn. Such a curriculum offers children varied and sequenced learning experiences, asks them to think deeply, and builds on their prior knowledge.