Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Early Childhood Education and Care. Lessons from Three Case Studies of Innovative Services in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Issues: Volume 7, Issue 2

The paper presents the results of an eight-month research program undertaken under the InnoSI project framework, funded under the European Research Program Horizon 2020. We adopt the theoretical framework of social innovation of Westley and Antadze (2010), applying the four-dimensional scheme of social innovation elaborated by Hochgerner (2011): resources, authority flows, routine and beliefs (Bassi, 2011). We also refer to the typology of social innovations in the field of welfare policy emerging from the research of Evers, Ewert and Brandsen (2014). We use a multiple case study research model (Yin, 1993; 1994) that highlights the relationships among the micro, meso, and macro level of analysis of a program, project, and intervention at the local level. The case study analyses the integrated system of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in Emilia-Romagna as an example of how increasing the accessibility and quality of ECEC provision could be pursued through a partnership between the public and private not-for-profit initiatives which pro-actively engage with local actors. The rationale for selecting the units of analysis, three early childhood services distributed across the regional territory, is therefore linked to the social demands underlying services’ implementation: reconciliation of family and working life responsibilities for parents; equal educational opportunities for children’s development and growth; and participation of groups which are at risk of social exclusion (low-income families, children from ethnic minority background).

JEL classification: I31, I38, J13, J18, J54
DOI: http: //
About authors: Andrea Bassi    Download .PDF