How are they doing after Reggio Emilia schooling?
July 27, 2012 5:37 PM Subscribe
Please help me learn about outcomes from Reggio Emilia and similar project-based, progressive educational systems.
We're considering whether to switch to a Reggio Emilia school for our son, who has been doing quite well at a more traditional elementary school. We'd been very excited about R.E. back when we were looking at kindergardens, and now have the option because of a surprise 2nd grade opening at a local charter school (in Baltimore.)
While I've been able to find descriptions of the curriculum, I haven't been able to find anything about outcomes. Does the lack of rigor lead to gaps that matter? Do the kids do well in terms of long-run things like magnet high school and college placement?
Some things I've heard/impressions I've gotten.
The particular school has very low test scores. I take scores with a big grain of salt. For instance I know a really good school will get dinged if it has an excellent special ed program because it will attract more learning disabled kids and they get averaged together. I'm sure that's not the reason for this small school's scores, but I know there are lots of things that can affect scores.
I've heard it suggested that Reggio Emilia test scores are low in the early years because they're not focused on skills, but then the kids do much better than their peers later on because of all the emphasis they had on creative problem solving and critical thinking skills. Is that for real? Are they actually better historians/scientists/engineers/businessfolk than similar kids who do skills work, or is that just the expectation because they're investing so much time in it.
And are the gaps problematic in the long run? I heard an anecdote of a chemist tutoring his kid at home in math because the prep was weak.
Perhaps specific to this particular school, or perhaps more general to the curriculum and to the children it attracts (maybe kids who have trouble with traditional curricula?) I've also heard complaints about disorder from parents who didn't like it.
All that's the negative stuff, which is mostly what I've heard since I've been asking about it. What sounds great (in my still-pretty-vague impressions) is all the individual attention to the learner and what makes them tick, and perhaps the satisfaction the kids may feel at sinking their teeth into large projects.
Well I welcome comments on these particular impressions, but my main question is: can I learn anything real about outcomes of these programs?