CSRP’s Impact on Low-Income Preschoolers’ Preacademic Skills: Self-Regulation as a Mediating Mechanism


  • The project described was supported by Award R01HD046160 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health. This research was also supported by a postdoctoral fellowship awarded to the first author from the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program. Previous versions of this manuscript were presented at the 2007 biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development and the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research. Many thanks to Mark Greenberg, Clancy Blair, and John Fantuzzo for sharing their insights on prior drafts of this manuscript and to Kelly Haas for her research assistance. Thanks also to the policy professionals (including Anthony Raden, Karen Carradine, Mary Ellen Caron, and Vanessa Rich) who so generously supported our collaboration with Chicago Head Start Programs. Lastly, we wish to express a heartfelt thanks to the teachers and intervention team of the Chicago School Readiness Project, who made this work possible.

concerning this article should be addressed to C. Cybele Raver, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University, 246 Greene St., Room 403W, New York, NY 10003. Electronic mail may be sent to cybele.raver@nyu.edu.


Based on theoretically driven models, the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) targeted low-income children’s school readiness through the mediating mechanism of self-regulation. The CSRP is a multicomponent, cluster-randomized efficacy trial implemented in 35 Head Start–funded classrooms (N = 602 children). The analyses confirm that the CSRP improved low-income children’s self-regulation skills (as indexed by attention/impulse control and executive function) from fall to spring of the Head Start year. Analyses also suggest significant benefits of CSRP for children’s preacademic skills, as measured by vocabulary, letter-naming, and math skills. Partial support was found for improvement in children’s self-regulation as a hypothesized mediator for children’s gains in academic readiness. Implications for programs and policies that support young children’s behavioral health and academic success are discussed.