BEEP - The Brookline Early Education Project Follow-up Study - Boston College








This is the most recent BEEP Newsletter, published in the Spring of 2002.

Inside this issue:
BEEP Follow-Up Study
A Brief History of BEEP
What have we learned?

The Brookline Early Education Project Follow-Up Study

Martha B. Bronson, Ed.D. & Penny Hauser-Cram, Ed.D., Boston College,
and Judith Palfrey, M.D., Boston Children's Hospital

Thank you for participating in the follow-up study of the Brookline Early Education Project (BEEP). In this newsletter we provide a brief summary of our main findings. 

What were the goals of the follow-up study? 
This study began in 1996, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It was designed to understand whether early education programs like BEEP result in long-term benefits. 

We spent two years trying to locate people who had been in the BEEP program. Almost everyone we found from BEEP was willing to participate in the follow-up study. We sought out both parents and children (now young adults). Approximately 240 young adults and their parent(s) participated, half from BEEP and half from a comparison group. 

Our goal was to identify the long-term effects, if any, BEEP had on participants. We also hoped to learn which aspects of the program parents now consider to have been most and least beneficial. These are critical questions if programs like BEEP are available to families in the future.

A Brief History of BEEP
The Brookline Early Education Program (BEEP) began in 1972 as a collaboration between the Brookline Public Schools, Children's Hospital, and researchers from Boston area universities.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, BEEP provided a comprehensive birth to kindergarten program for families in Brookline and Boston. 

The goal of the program was to offer guidance and support to parents and their very young children. Children received health and developmental screenings, playgroup, and preschool services. Parents could participate in home visits focused on children's development, attend a range of parenting groups, borrow books and toys from a lending library, and use call-in or drop-in services for assistance with child or family issues or child care needs. Most families participated in BEEP until their child entered kindergarten. 
What have we learned?
Facts about young adults who attended BEEP
>> 72% have graduated from college
>> only 3% did not receive a high school diploma (of its equivalent)
>> 8% were attending graduate school at the time of our survey
>> 16% are raising children
>> 16% are married
>> 93% are employed or in school
>> 75% are registered to vote
>> 46% have volunteered for community service (since high school)

Findings about the effects of BEEP on young adults
>> those whose families had participated in BEEP for longer periods of time, reported greater engagement in more challenging employment;
>> those whose families received more services from BEEP reported more positive relationships with their parent(s);
>> those who grew up in urban neighborhoods reported higher incomes, more years of education, higher health ratings, including less depression and more positive health-promoting behaviors, than their peers. 
>> Students who attended both BEEP and the METCO program (in which students from urban areas were enrolled in suburban schools) had the most positive outcomes of all urban young adults.
Data from parents who participated in BEEP
>> almost all (over 97 %) reported that they would take part in a program like BEEP again;
>> over two-thirds ( 67 %) reported that BEEP had had a lasting effect on themselves, especially on their parenting skills;
>> over half (55 %) reported that BEEP had had a lasting effect on their child, especially on their child's learning and motivation;
>> mothers reported that home visits were the most important part of the program;
>> over 70 % of parents reported no negative aspect of BEEP. The most frequently mentioned negative comments was that services should have continued beyond kindergarten;
>> urban parents valued the learning opportunities provided to children whereas suburban parents found the medical and developmental exams to be important.

Read More About BEEP…
Early Education in the Public Schools: Lessons from a Comprehensive Birth to Kindergarten Program 
Penny Hauser-Cram, Donald Pierson, Deborah Klein Walker, & Terrance Tivnan. 1991. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The Effects of Early Education on Children's Competence in Elementary School 
Martha B. Bronson, Donald E. Pierson, & Terrance Tivnan. 1984. Evaluation Review, Vol 8, Issue 5, pp. 615-629. 

Targeted Early Childhood Programming: The Promise Half Fulfilled.
- Judith S. Palfrey, Deborah K. Walker, Maureen Sullivan, & Mel D. Levine. 1987. American Journal of Diseases of Children, vol. 141, pp. 55-59.


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