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Federal Head Start Study to Be Extended

Federal researchers studying the effectiveness of Head Start's social and emotional instruction have asked for more time to follow up with children and parents in the program, according to a notice in the Federal Register.

The study's results could be helpful to the 132 Head Start providers (out of about 1,600 nationwide) that face re-competition under new, tougher federal regulations requiring them to prove their academic quality and effectiveness.The $7.6 billion early childhood education grants serve nearly 1 million infants, toddlers, and preschoolers living in poverty.

The Head Start Classroom-based Approaches and Resource for Emotion and Social (CARES) skill promotion project, headed by the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, aims to identify the best ways to prepare the program's 3- and 4-year-olds socially to start kindergarten. Researchers have conducted surveys of parents, teachers, and coaches in more than 100 Head Start centers. The researchers also interviewed and assessed 1,042 3-year-olds and 2,885 4-year-olds.

The researchers have asked for an extension of the project to collect more follow-up information on 4-year-old former Head Start students entering kindergarten in 2012, through more than 1200 surveys of parents and teachers.

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