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Evaluation of the Reggio approach to early education


Biroli, Pietro; Del Boca, Daniela; Heckman, James J; Heckman, Lynne Pettler; Koh, Yu Kyung; Kuperman, Sylvi; Moktan, Sidharth; Pronzato, Chiara D; Ziff, Anna L (2018). Evaluation of the Reggio approach to early education. Research in Economics, 72(1):1-32.

Abstract

We evaluate the Reggio Approach using non-experimental data on individuals from the cities of Reggio Emilia, Parma and Padova belonging to one of five age cohorts: ages 50, 40, 30, 18, and 6 as of 2012. The treated were exposed to municipally offered infant-toddler (ages 0–3) and preschool (ages 3–6) programs in Reggio Emilia. The control group either did not receive formal childcare or were exposed to programs offered by municipal systems (outside of Reggio Emilia), or by state or religious systems (in all three cities). We exploit the city-cohort structure of the data to estimate treatment effects using three strategies: difference-in-differences, matching, and matched-difference-in-differences. Most positive and significant effects are generated from comparisons of the treated with individuals who did not receive formal childcare. Relative to not receiving formal care, the Reggio Approach significantly boosts outcomes related to employment, socio-emotional skills, high school graduation, participation in elections, and obesity. Comparisons with individuals exposed to alternative forms of childcare do not yield strong patterns of positive and significant effects. This suggests that differences between the Reggio Approach and other alternatives are not sufficiently large to result in significant differences in outcomes. This interpretation is supported by a survey we conduct, which documents increasing similarities in the administrative and pedagogical practices of childcare systems in the three cities over time.

Abstract

We evaluate the Reggio Approach using non-experimental data on individuals from the cities of Reggio Emilia, Parma and Padova belonging to one of five age cohorts: ages 50, 40, 30, 18, and 6 as of 2012. The treated were exposed to municipally offered infant-toddler (ages 0–3) and preschool (ages 3–6) programs in Reggio Emilia. The control group either did not receive formal childcare or were exposed to programs offered by municipal systems (outside of Reggio Emilia), or by state or religious systems (in all three cities). We exploit the city-cohort structure of the data to estimate treatment effects using three strategies: difference-in-differences, matching, and matched-difference-in-differences. Most positive and significant effects are generated from comparisons of the treated with individuals who did not receive formal childcare. Relative to not receiving formal care, the Reggio Approach significantly boosts outcomes related to employment, socio-emotional skills, high school graduation, participation in elections, and obesity. Comparisons with individuals exposed to alternative forms of childcare do not yield strong patterns of positive and significant effects. This suggests that differences between the Reggio Approach and other alternatives are not sufficiently large to result in significant differences in outcomes. This interpretation is supported by a survey we conduct, which documents increasing similarities in the administrative and pedagogical practices of childcare systems in the three cities over time.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Reggio approach, early childhood education, childcare, evaluation, Italian education
Language:English
Date:1 March 2018
Deposited On:28 Nov 2018 11:21
Last Modified:28 Apr 2019 07:12
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1090-9443
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rie.2017.05.006
Official URL:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090944317301643

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