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Supporting disadvantaged children enter kindergarten: experimental evidence from Bulgaria (English)

This paper presents findings from a large scale multi-arm randomized control trial implemented in 2014-2015 across 236 poor settlements across Bulgaria with the aim to improve full-day kindergarten participation of poor children, especially Roma and Turkish. It finds that removing the costs of kindergarten reduced the share of children aged 3-6 not registered in kindergarten by half – while also significantly increasing attendance by about 20 percent. Additional financial incentives of either BGN7 or BGN20 monthly conditional on attendance had no clear impact on registration and attendance. Organizing community meetings to provide information about the importance of kindergarten also did not impact participation in kindergarten, although it slightly improved parental perceptions of the benefit of kindergarten and raised parental aspirations for their children – especially girls. Overall, removing kindergarten costs was thus the most cost-effective strategy to increase kindergarten participation. However, the effect on short-term child development – emergent literacy, numeracy, motor and socio-emotional skills – is mixed: slightly positive for Bulgarian children, while negative for Roma and Turkish children. These results suggest that all children may not immediately benefit from kindergarten, especially minority children who may need additional support to successfully transition to, and benefit from, kindergarten.


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    Europe and Central Asia,

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    Supporting disadvantaged children enter kindergarten: experimental evidence from Bulgaria

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Supporting disadvantaged children enter kindergarten: experimental evidence from Bulgaria (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.