Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Amy E. White


Preschools provide a method of early intervention to prepare children for school. Reggio Emilia (RE) curricular approach widely used for early childhood education that has not consistently shown a positive influence on cognitive, social, and emotional development of young children. It is also unknown whether those who participate in the RE curricular approach perceive it to foster cognitive, social, and emotional development in early childhood. The purpose of this qualitative, exploratory case study was to investigate participant-perceived benefits of RE as a curricular approach. The conceptual grounding of the study was social constructivism because the RE curricular approach emphasizes the importance of the environment to the growth and development of children. The research questions explored the cognitive, social, and emotional benefits that parents, teachers, and school leaders perceived with the RE approach, as well as the experiences within the RE curricular approach that may prepare children for primary and elementary schooling. Interviews with twenty-one participants and observations at 3 childcare centers in a southern state helped to determine whether participants perceived the RE approach as preparing children for elementary school. The open coding process yielded themes of benefits of the RE approach, social and emotional benefits, the acquisition of essential skills for schools, and collaboration and indicated that parents, educators, and school leaders felt that the RE approach was beneficial for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. The findings may provide a shift in early childhood pedagogy that incorporates areas of the social constructivist approach found to have perceived positive effects on the cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of children, leading to social change.