Parental engagement in a Reggio Emilia-inspired head start program

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Abstract

In the United States, progressive education programs have historically failed to take hold among low-income families, even when that population has been their initial focus. Instead, these programs tend to become popular among middle-class or affluent families. Some research suggests that working-class/poor families' expectations of education may be incompatible with progressive principles, at least in the United States. The Reggio Emilia early childhood programs in Italy, based in part on Deweyan progressive principles, successfully serve families across all income levels, but in the United States, most Reggio-inspired schools serve affluent populations. The author interviewed predominantly Hispanic parents and teachers in a Reggio Emilia-inspired Head Start program regarding families' understanding of the program's curriculum and pedagogy and their engagement with the program. Although a majority of parents interviewed did not articulate a full understanding of the program's approach, and some felt that elements of it were not congruent with their expectations of preschool, interviewees had positive impressions of family/teacher relationships and reported positive family engagement in children's education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEarly Childhood Research and Practice
Volume16
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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