Class and pedagogy: a case study of two Chicago preschools

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Using a Bernsteinian theoretical framework, this study compares two American early childhood centres, one with a primarily progressive pedagogy (Frank Lloyd Wright Family Centre) and one with a primarily traditional pedagogy (Casimir Pulaski Centre), in high-poverty Chicago neighbourhoods to examine the effects of different pedagogic practices on the development of academic and non-academic skills in young children as measured by pre- and post-testing and observations over five months. The collected data demonstrate that students at Wright experienced greater levels of academic development than students at Pulaski. Children at both sites showed development in literacy and social/emotional skills, but the children at Wright also show development in problem-solving and imagination – skills that aid in abstract thought. While further study is needed on a broader scale, results from this study suggest that early childhood programmes with more progressive elements have the potential to better prepare children for elementary school than programmes with more traditional elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-332
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015


  • Early childhood education
  • Head Start
  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Socio-economic class
  • Visible and invisible pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Social Sciences


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