School Effectiveness and School Improvement vol:24 issue:2 pages:212-233
The current study examines the impact of alternative education on children’s early school engagement in terms of school enjoyment and independent participation. A sample of 2,776 children from traditional (e.g., mainstream) and alternative (Freinet and Waldorf) Flemish schools was followed from their 3rd year of kindergarten until 3rd grade. The present study does not evidence a positive effect of alternative education on school engagement. In contrast, it was found that in alternative education children acted less independent compared to traditional schools. Furthermore, differential effects in terms of children’s socioeconomic status and initial language achievement are explored. In alternative schools, children’s initial level of language achievement tends to be less determinative for their school engagement compared to traditional schools.