Jumpstart: An evaluation of program efficacy for an intensive intervention with high-risk preschool children

Date of Completion

January 1997


Psychology, Behavioral|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical




Jumpstart, a program designed to improve school readiness in preschool children experiencing social and academic difficulties in Head Start, was evaluated. Children who participated in the Jumpstart program were compared to children in a comparison group on a variety of measures. Receptive vocabulary and understanding of basic concepts were assessed at the beginning and end of the program, which operated during the Head Start school year. Teacher ratings of social and behavioral competence were also obtained at these two points in time, as well as at entry to kindergarten. Compared to children in the comparison group, program participants demonstrated significant improvements in levels of aggressiveness and disruptiveness in the classroom, and in the demonstration of learning skills. Children in the Jumpstart program and those in the comparison group remained comparable in levels of receptive vocabulary and understanding of basic concepts. Across groups, children demonstrated serious delays in the acquisition of receptive vocabulary and basic concepts considered important for a successful transition to kindergarten. Strengths and weaknesses of the Jumpstart program are discussed, along with recommendations for program development and future evaluations. ^