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New Frontiers of Educational Research

Liyan HUO
Atsushi NANAKIDA Editors

Early Childhood
Education in
Three Cultures
China, Japan and the United States

New Frontiers of Educational Research
Series editors
Zhongying Shi, Beijing, China
Ronghuai Huang, Beijing, China
Zuoyu Zhou, Beijing, China
Editorial Board
Chengwen Hong, Beijing, China
Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, Vermont, USA
David Osher, Washington, DC, USA
Felix Rauner, Bremen, Germany
Huajun Zhang, Beijing, China
Jonathan Michael Spector, Georgia, USA
Kenneth Zeichner, Washington, USA
Kerry Mallan, Brisbane, Australia
Levin Ben, Toronto, Canada
Liyan Huo, Beijing, China
Mang Li, Beijing, China
Qi Li, Beijing, China
Ronghuai Huang, Beijing, China
Shinohara Kyoaki, Gifu, Japan
Susan Neuman, Michigan, USA
Wei Kan, Beijing, China
Xudong Zhu, Beijing, China
Yan Wu, Beijing, China
Yanyan Li, Beijing, China
Yaqing Mao, Beijing, China
Yong Zhao, Oregon, USA
Zhikui Niu, Beijing, China
Zhiqun Zhao, Beijing, China
Zhongying Shi, Beijing, China
Zuoyu Zhou, Beijing, China

More information about this series at

NEUMAN Atsushi NANAKIDA Editors Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures China.Liyan HUO · Susan B. Japan and the United States 13 .

Editors Liyan HUO Beijing Normal University Beijing China Susan B. broadcasting. for exclusive use by the purchaser of the work.1007/978-3-662-44986-8 Library of Congress Control Number: 2014951700 Springer Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 This work is subject to copyright. Permissions for use may be obtained through RightsLink at the Copyright Clearance Center. electronic adaptation. in this publication does not imply. The use of general descriptive names. that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. whether the whole or part of the material is concerned. etc. Violations are liable to prosecution under the respective Copyright Law. computer software. specifically the rights of translation. MI USA Atsushi NANAKIDA Department of Education Early Childhood Education Hiroshima University Higashi-Hiroshima Japan ISSN ↜2195-3473)>> ISSN ↜2195-349Xâ•… (electronic) ISBN 978-3-662-44985-1)>> ISBN 978-3-662-44986-8â•… (eBook) DOI 10. Printed on acid-free paper Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media (www. neither the authors nor the editors nor the publisher can accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made. with respect to the material contained herein. All rights are reserved by the Publisher. express or implied. reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way. even in the absence of a specific statement. reprinting. reuse of illustrations. trademarks. recitation. service marks. and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer. While the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. The publisher makes no warranty. or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. NEUMAN School of Education University of Michigan Ann . Exempted from this legal reservation are brief excerpts in connection with reviews or scholarly analysis or material supplied specifically for the purpose of being entered and executed on a computer system.springer. and transmission or information storage and retrieval. in its current version. registered names. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the Copyright Law of the Publisher’s location.

. . . . . . )>>25 Atsushi NANAKIDA 3)>> Play with a Purpose: Creating Meaningful Environments with Children. . )>>3 Liyan HUO 2)>> Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan. . . )>>61 Akiko Kimata and Yoshihide Kaneko 6)>> The Evolution and Innovation of China’s Preschool Education Financial System. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )>>53 Susan B. . . . . . . . Roskos Part IIâ•… Childcare Policies in Changing Contexts 4)>> Describing the Early Childhood Policy Landscape in the USA. . . . )>>83 Yingqi Cai and Xiaoxia Feng v . . . .Contents Part Iâ•…Being. . NEUMAN 5)>> Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy. . . . . . Belonging and Becoming: Child Image and Curriculum Reforms 1)>> The Centennial Change from Imitation to€Innovation: Early Childhood Education and Curriculum Reform in China. . . . . . )>>39 James F. . . Christie and Kathleen A. . . and€Communities in the United States. . . . . . . . . . Families.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adler 8)>> Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan . . . . . . . . . . . . . Feng Deng and Liwei Liu Conclusion. . )>>127 Minyi Li. . )>>111 Kyoko Iwatate 9)>> How to Advance the Initial Training System for Chinese Kindergarten Teachers in a New Era . . .vi Contents Part IIIâ•…Best Practices for Early Childhood Teacher Professional Development 7)>> Early Childhood Challenge: Preparing High-Quality Teachers for a Changing Society in the USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )>>101 Martha A. . . . . . . . . )>>143 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

published over 10 academic translations including Essentials of Active Learning in Preschool (2012). UK. which were reproduced by Xinhua Digest. excellent Doctoral Dissertation Accreditation Expert of Education. and authored over 70 academic treatise including On Experience of Early Childhood Education.Editors and Contributors About the Editors Liyan HUO╇ is a Professor of Institute of Early Childhood Education. and India (included in the national library of philosophy and social science achievements). preschool education and research methods and preschool evaluation and supervision. She has published more than 10 academic works. including Report on ECE in Several Countries (Project of National Philosophy and Social Science Fund). Beijing Normal University. Professor HUO is currently a committee member in China Committee of World’s Pre-school Organization. including A Comparative study on Early Childhood Education System in the US. Her researches focus on preschool education. vii . Education Information and universally praised and widely quoted by a number of media outlets. preschool curriculum and instruction. member of the Steering Committee of Early Childhood Education Organization in the Asia-Pacific Region. Japan. Faculty of Education. and so on. and served in many other educational organizations and committees. Ministry of Education). The International Comparative Study of Furthering the Curriculum Reform in Elementary Education and Promoting Quality Education (Major Projects of Key Research Base. preschool teachers’ professional development. Professor HUO has presided over a number of research projects.

S. “Changing the Odds for Children at Risk” (Teachers College Press 2009). he lectured not only on education for young children but also the support system for child rearing. including transition to school. Hiroshima University since 2005. the most prestigious journal in reading research. in Education for young children at Hiroshima University. M. In 2001. preK-grade 3 for children who live in poverty. the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program. case study research. he became an Assistant Professor at the Hyogo University of Education in 1993. NEUMAN╇ is a Professor and Chair of Teaching and Learning at New York University specializing in early literacy development. II. III) with David Dickinson. Atsushi NANAKIDA╇ B. he has been engaged in child abuse. and “All about Words: Improving vocabulary in the age of Common Core Standards.D. USA). collaboration with families. Professor NANAKIDA has been interested in the early childhood education of children with special needs.Ed. After completing Ph. Dr. She is currently the Editor of Reading Research Quarterly. (Yokohama National University). and authored and edited 11 books. “Educating the Other America” (Brookes 2008). she established the Early Reading First program. Her research and teaching interests include early childhood policy. including the Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Volumes I. and project research.viii Editors and Contributors Susan B. preK-grade 2. Her most recent books are “Giving our children a fighting chance: Poverty literacy. he lectured on Early Childhood Education in Hiroshima University as a Prof. M. (Hiroshima University). . (Western Oregon University. NANAKIDA was a visiting researcher at the Children’s issues Centre. curriculum. she has been a Professor at the University of Michigan and has served as the U. He acts as the representative committee of Japan Society of Research on Early Childhood Care and Education. and “Multimedia and Literacy Development (Taylor & Francis 2008). New Zealand in 2003. She has served on the IRA Board of Directors (2001– 2003) and other numerous boards of nonprofit organizations.Sc. and was responsible for all activities in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act.D. Previously.A. In her role as Assistant Secretary. Otago University. While serving as a director of Research Institute of Early Childhood Education (RIECE). She has written over 100 articles. and the development of information capital. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. (Yokohama National University). He is currently an editorial board member of the Journal of Japan Society of Research on Early Childhood Care and Education. Ph.” (Teachers College Press 2012). and early reading instruction.

chapters. Health. Language Arts and English as a Second Language. and the director and vice-chairman of Hubei Society of Early Childhood Education. Adler╇is an Associate Professor in Reading. Since 2011. Contributors Martha A. including Play. and authored six books. Feng Deng╇ is an Assistant Professor of Institute of Education. preschool administration and policies. and higher education. Faculty of Education. Faculty of Education. published more than 60 academic papers. Professor Feng is currently the chairman and the director of the academic committee of China National Society . large-scale data analysis. and urban education. Beijing Normal University. His research interests include children’s play and early literacy development. RIECE is working with the Institute for Early Childhood Education Research. Development. Her primary research and publications are qualitative. He is a past president of The Association for the Study of Play and served for many years as an editorial advisor for Sesame Street magazine. and articles on these topics. James F. and Human Services. and Early Education (Allyn and Bacon 2005) and Play and Literacy in Early Childhood. Professor Cai is the Chinese member and secretary-general of OMEP. Yingqi Cai╇ is a Professor in Central China Normal University (CCNU). Adler is involved on a regular basis with local public schools through her research and professional development activities. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. tutoring programs for struggling readers. Dr. (Erlbaum 2007). Christie╇ is Professor Emeritus in the T. an academic member of China National Society of Early Childhood Education. particularly using case study analysis and ethnography. in the fields of early literacy. Beijing Institute of Technology. He has published numerous books. and Beijing Normal University to study on ECEC. 2nd ed. Xiaoxia Feng╇is a retired Professor of Institute of Early Childhood Education.Editors and Contributors ix Japanese Society for the Education of Young Children. and the Principal of the Department of Early Childhood Education in CCNU. She is interested in preschool economy. His research interests concentrate on educational evaluation and assessment. Dr. She has conducted about 20 national and post-doctoral projects. and the Director of Field Placement at the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Education. preschool theories and science education in preschool education. Christie has been a member of the Board of Directors of Playing for Keeps and the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council for Children’s Play. professional development.

She is also interested in the expertise of teachers who keep on studying as a reflective practitioner. and served in many other educational organizations and committees. She is a Professor in the Department of Education of TGU and the director of the kindergarten attached to TGU. M. (Bachelor of Science) in Tokyo Gakugei University (TGU). preschool teachers’ professional development. including the “NinthFive” major project “Research on Chinese Kindergarten Curriculum Policy. His main research domain includes the history of curriculums and methodologies of early childhood education and care in Japan. She is undertaking qualitative research on Kindergarten teachers. (Master of Science). Professor HUO is currently a committee member in China Committee of World’s Pre-school Organization. and preschool evaluation and supervision. and authored over 70 academic treatises. Professor HUO has presided over a number of research projects. Dr. and Ph. Her researches focus on preschool education.D. Akiko Kimata╇is a part-time instructor at Meisei University and Tamagawa University. Minyi Li╇is an Associate Professor of Institute of Early Childhood Education. a councilor of Japan Society of Research on Early Childhood Care and Education.S. Professor Feng published a few books and authored a number of treatises which make a lot of contribution to Chinese ECE. preschool education and research methods. She takes notice of the various roles of kindergarten teachers including Child-care. Her main research domain is Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education and Care. and the chief editor of Studies in Preschool Education. She has hosted a number of national projects. Kyoko Iwatate╇ acquired B. preschool curriculum and instruction. member of the Steering Committee of Early Childhood Education Organization in the AsiaPacific Region. with doctoral work in training of kindergarten teachers at Ochanomizu University. excellent Doctoral Dissertation Accreditation Expert of Education. Faculty of Education. Faculty of Education. Beijing Normal University. She is an executive director of Japanese Society for the Education of Young Children. in Psychology in University of Tsukuba. family support.x Editors and Contributors of Early Childhood Education. The focus of her study is Evaluation and Assessment in Early Childhood Education. . Li’s research interests include early childhood curriculum development and professional development. She is currently searching for teacher trainings which utilize some andragogy methods. Liyan HUO╇ is a Professor of Institute of Early Childhood Education.” She has also participated in the national project cooperative with UNICEF and the project ECCD. Yoshihide Kaneko╇is an assistant professor at Research Institute of Early Childhood Education (RIECE) of Hiroshima University.S. Beijing Normal University. and others. and a director of The Japanese private kindergarten union research institutions of preschool education.

“Changing the Odds for Children at Risk” (Teachers College Press 2009). Susan B. Australia. preK-grade 2.S. including director of federal programs in the public schools and Department chair in higher education.Editors and Contributors xi early language and literacy. and the development of information capital. Formerly an elementary classroom teacher. Faculty of Education. and comparative research in early childhood education. Roskos╇is a Professor at John Carroll University. Dr. . Dr. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. Roskos teaches courses in reading instruction and reading diagnosis. providing leadership in the design and implementation of P-12 reading policy and programs. She has worked as a team member in the cooperative undergraduate and graduate courses with UNC Charlotte. “Educating the Other America” (Brookes 2008). Atsushi NANAKIDA╇is a Professor in Hiroshima University. For 2 years she directed the Ohio Literacy Initiative at the Ohio Department of Education. III) with David Dickinson. and “Multimedia and Literacy Development (Taylor & Francis 2008). She has also involved in some national advisory board for antipoverty and children development. and Beijing Normal University to study on ECEC. Liwei Liu╇is a doctoral student in early childhood education in Queensland University of Technology. Dr. she has been a Professor at the University of Michigan and has served as the U. and “All about Words: Improving vocabulary in the age of Common Core Standards. Her most recent books are “Giving our children a fighting chance: Poverty literacy. Roskos has served in a variety of educational administration roles. and authored and edited 11 books. teacher cognition. Since 2011. NEUMAN╇is a Professor and Chair of Teaching and Learning at New York University specializing in early literacy development. Kathleen A. College of Education and Beijing Normal University. NANAKIDA has been interested in the early childhood education of children with special needs. Faculty of Education. He is currently an editorial board member of the Journal of Japan Society of Research on Early Childhood Care and Education. Japanese Society for the Education of Young Children. including the Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Volumes I. She has written over 100 articles.” (Teachers College Press 2012). including transition to school. Roskos studies early literacy development and learning. and the Comparison of ECE in China and Australia. He acts as the representative committee of Japan Society of Research on Early Childhood Care and Education. Previously. II. and the design of professional education for teachers and has published research articles on these topics in leading journals. collaboration with families. Dr. RIECE is working with the Institute for Early Childhood Education Research.

Introduction How Does a Volume Such as This Come Together? Early childhood education and care is essential to the lives of every family with young children. curriculum reforms. Japan. focusing on • How does a country cope with diverse childcare needs of families in terms of policy choices? • How to define quality early childhood education and care with quality curriculum? • What practices are promising in professional development for early childhood educators? • How can we best integrate effective policy choices. and the United States in a globalized world. curriculum. reforms and teacher training to provide a strong start for every child? Overview of the Book The editors and authors provide up-do-date information in diverse cultures where rapid developments are underway and further changes are being concerned. and teacher training programs. and in turn. and the United States. Japan. xiii . build up our prosperity to the benefit of the world community and the global economy. are considered to address the new challenges in a global village through policy choices. including China. curriculum reforms. The book will tackle some of the recurring questions of early childhood education and care. and teacher training in three cultures. the authors show how best to provide for young children based on their countries’ strategies. Three countries. China. By examining all of these policy choices and evidence-based practices. An international team of experienced researchers investigate the unique and dynamic approaches to key issues of policy transformation.

Chapter 2 discusses how Japanese culture is unique and how early childhood education and care curriculum has changed since the Meiji Period. China has also experienced some big transformations since 1949. Susan NEUMAN provides a critical and reflective overview of challenges in establishing a better safety net for our children at risk in Chap. 4. Chapter 8 written by Kyoko Iwatate from Tokyo Gakugei University concentrates on four topics in Japan: (1) establishment of childcare facilities and the teacher education system. 1. Play has played an important and tremendous role in early childhood education in the United States. these authors share their wealth of knowledge about creating meaningful learning environments with children. to address the challenges for universal kindergarten education in China by 2020. In Chap. (2) contemporary changes in child development environments. Martha Adler reveals how to deal with the higher and higher percentage of color and poor population in terms of an equal and better start for every child. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. you will find detailed information about early childhood education reform in China over the past century and forward. Chap. 9. families. In Chap. how to integrate the kindergarten and nursery systems is still under construction in terms of “maximal interests for all children”. these authors examine how governments and local programs could work together to provide qualified and high-quality kindergarten teachers. Part III pays close attention to early childhood teacher professional development. Multiple intelligences and Reggio Emilia Approach have changed the landscapes of early childhood curriculum. However. In Chap. 3. Part II illustrates how childcare policies have transformed within the changing contexts. (3) new issues arising from the unification of Kindergarten and Daycare centers. Montessori methods and Jean Piaget’s and Lev Vygotsky’s psychology. which has highlighted how John Dewey’s philosophy. . In Chap.xiv Introduction Part I focuses on curriculum issues in three cultures. 7. Yingqi Cai and Xiaoxia Feng. and (4) major changes in teacher education. former Soviet Union’s model. The evolution and innovation of China’s preschool education financial system is discussed in Chap. Considering Japan has just initiated new policy for kindergarten education. which has called for a high-quality teacher workforce in the United States. describes in-depth reflections on the kindergarten education system with explicit data.S. 5. and communities in order to embrace purposeful and powerful plays everyday. 6 by two Professors. As a former U. written by Akiko Kimata.

we could try to respect. This volume is a wonderful addition for this knowledge and how to reach every child’s potential as a productive citizen in a global village. To some extent. policies. each country is unusual.Introduction xv Conclusion As you. understand. and learn from each other. . and professional development in three cultures in early childhood education today. this volume covers three key issues on curriculum reform. one of a kind. It is our hope that each chapter will help you understand that each culture is unique and has its own historical trajectory. However. the reader. can see.

Part I Being. Belonging and Becoming: Child Image and Curriculum Reforms .

During this hundred years. This represents a centennial change from imitation to innovation that reflects many extensive strategic adjustments. Hunan.). DOI 10. HUO et al. ECE values and choices have been deeply influenced by foreign ECE theories and practices. traced back to 1903. In January 1904. Beijing. including Tono Michie who graduated from Tokyo Women’s Teachers College. Fang Duan. preschools are named “you er yuan” (幼儿园). the governor of Hubei Province.” which involved geometrically shaped objects and manipulations for hands-on activities. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. and what he called “gifts and occupations. People’s Republic of China © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L.1 inside the Yuemachang primary school in Wuhan. Fröbel’s teaching system had three main features: games and songs. usually referring to full-day programs serving 3–6-year-old children with a focus on education and care. named Hubei Kindergarten. L. established the first early childhood education (ECE) institution. and hired three Japanese teachers. New Frontiers of Educational Research. Jiangsu. (eds. HUO€(*)€ Beijing Normal University.Chapter 1 The Centennial Change from Imitation to€Innovation: Early Childhood Education and Curriculum Reform in China Liyan HUO 1. the Qing government issued the Official School Regulations and named the children’s educational organization Meng Yang Yuan.1╇Introduction In 1903. This began the history of Chinese public preschool education and introduced the Japanese style of kindergarten theory and practice created by German Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852) (Tian 2005). 1╇ In mainland China. and Shanghai. constructions. The history of the development of Chinese ECE spans over a century.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_1 3 . which literally means “kindergarten” in Chinese. It was established in large cities and rich provinces such as Beijing.

China was totally defeated.4 L.2 1903 Kuimao. “Learning from Japan” became the main ideological trend of reformation in the late Qing dynasty.4 and 1913 Renzikuichou5 systems. School systems established in the late Qing dynasty. In the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895.” The famous scholar Shi Hu put forward the notion of “Total Westernization” and invited Professor John Dewey (1859–1952).2╇Learning from Japan to Total Americanization: Early Childhood Education Was Forced to Start to Reform China was the world’s leading economy from the early 1500s until the early 1800s (Maddison 2001.” realized its ignorance and arrogance after being defeated in the Opium War in 1840. it seriously lacked teacher resources. Translator’s note: this means in 1903 in Chinese chronology. 4╇ Translator’s note: this means in 1912 in Chinese chronology. 5╇ Translator’s note: this means in 1913 in Chinese chronology. and British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) to China for lecture tours. Some scholars began to learn from the West. 1. were primarily copied from Japan. China was unwillingly involved in a global system and started its reformation and modernization. We will discuss a proposal for strategic adjustments aimed at building on an innovation in 2010 to motivate early childhood educators to rethink the reformation direction and the coming strategic adjustment from imitation to innovation that promotes a combination of globalization and nationalization in the reformation of ECE. With the rise of the May 4th Movement of 1919. 2007). HUO This chapter demonstrates the perseverance and realistic exploration of Chinese ECE and early childhood educators in the historical development of Chinese politics. which was proud of its “heaven country” or “central country. 3╇ . economics. This Japanese influence was also reflected in the original version of ECE reform in this period. Though the Meng Yang Yuan system had been established. The Qing dynasty. and culture since 1949 by looking back at four intensive imitation stages in ECE and reviewing the real and tortuous development of ECE during the century. As far as education was 2╇ Translator’s note: this means in 1902 in Chinese chronology. including the 1902 Renyin.3 1912 Renzi. It was the same in the case of education. who was his advisor in America. Both the Wuxu Reform Movement and “Constitutionalism Preparation” at the end of the Qing dynasty adopted Japan as a model. The Qing dynasty showed great interest in the modernization of Japan and regarded it in a new light with its surprising win in the Russo-Japanese War. Introducing Japanese instructors to train or serve as a nursemaid was the main solution. European and American models became more popular than “Learning from Japan.

Tao returned home to become an influential exponent of modern education in China and one of the most renowned educators in Chinese history. 10╇ Chen Heqin (1892–1982). and statistics in education.000 in the 1920s. Shi Hu8 (1891– 1962). From 1938 to 1942. Boling Chang9 (1892–1982). For example. In 1910. Hu won a Boxer Indemnity Scholarship to enroll at Cornell and later studied with John Dewey in the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University. Hu Shi became a leader in the New Culture Movement. Professor Dewey was a renowned Columbia University philosopher and theorist of progressive education. Their advisors were moved by the students’ inspiration to come to China to spread progressive education ideas. He became president of Peking University in 1946. At the invitation of the Chinese alumni of Teachers College. 9╇ Chang Poling (1876–1975). Upon his return to China in 1917. Dewey spent 1919–1921 lecturing throughout China. teacher education. it was total “Americanization. After studying at Teachers College during 1916–1917. Professor William H.” which was the historical background of the establishment of the 1922 Renxu6 school system. family education. Students studied almost every topic in modern education. with these American experiences becoming a dominant model for scholars. there were 160 Chinese students studying in the educational research center at Teachers College. He developed an original synthesis of Deweyan and Chinese approaches to progressive education based on a firsthand study and analysis of Chinese life and society. Pengchun Zhang (1892–1957). and Heqin Chen10 (1892–1982) all studied at this university. His work included promoting early childhood education opportunities and developing teacher training programs that emphasized child psychology. Kilpatrick (1871–1965) made progressive education ideas accessible to thousands 6╇ Translator’s note: this means in 1922 in Chinese chronology. Chen returned to China to become the first modern Chinese theoretician of early childhood education. the total number of students was over 5. He was surprised to learn that the rate of urban illiteracy in China exceeded 70€%. and report titled Scientific Management and Related Studies in Chinese Education. After studying at Teachers College during 1917 and 1918. he served as ambassador to the USA. county education. Xingzhi Tao7 (1891–1946). After studying at Teachers College in 1917–18. According to records (Zhou 2005). in the USA. including education philosophy.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 5 concerned. Professor Will McCall (1891–1982) was invited to China by the National Society for the Advancement of Education to carry out scientific measurement and related studies in Chinese education in 1921. and educational psychology. serving as president from 1919 to 1948. 7╇ Tao . history of education. Chang returned to Tianjin where he founded Nan Kai University. 8╇ Hu Shi (1891–1962).—Translator’s note. This helped him decide to devote a major portion of his efforts to the mass literacy movement. These Chinese students returned to China and became the first impetus to drive the modernization of education. Columbia University. Bingwen Guo (1880–1969). family education. education administration. helped to give the society’s program a solid base in modern educational research. His studies. Xingzhi (1891–1946). and education for handicapped children. Menglin Jiang (1886–1964). He was the primary organizer of Dewey's lecture series in China during 1919–1921 and served as professor of philosophy at Peking University in the 1920s.

He visited his former students. Chen seriously criticized the prevailing “phenomenon of plagiarism. Chen took the lead in studying the psychology and developmental rules of Chinese children and family education 11╇ Translator’s note: Heqin Chen lived in South China. When Zhang ran the school. There are still not any claims. respectively. Its setup represented Heqin Chen’s long-cherished desire to train Chinese preschool teachers.” He pointed out that Our Chinese kindergartens are mostly copies of foreign ones. in China in 1927 and 1929. As for the mainland. He decided to independently build an experimental teaching method and turned preschool teachers’ education into a tool to test preschool education. Since we have decided to make them. In teaching methods. for instance. HUO 6 of students at Teachers College. (Chen 1985: 1) Chen also made the point that China has not had organizations like kindergartens. they reflected on total Westernization and tried to find a way to combine Chinese and Western methods. Jiangxi Provincial Preschool Teachers Experimental College. (Chen 1985: 8) He actively explored and practiced a scientific way of creating ECE that fits Chinese conditions and characteristics of China. the college adopted a unique and Chinese style in preschool teacher curriculum and teaching materials. . when some students studying in America went back and took part in educational practice.L.11 have made great contributions. and Xuemen Zhang lived in North China. but depended on national conditions while avoiding Westernization of teaching content. with the adoption of South Chen and North Zhang. including Xinzhi Tao. He came back from America in 1919 and began to explore the scientific development of ECE in China. Chen’s theory and practice had more effect on the reformation of Chinese ECE. while we still stick to the old rules and do not ameliorate them. he took both theory and practice into consideration and paid attention to internships and social practice. was the first public single preschool teachers’ school. copy. which lead to unbearable obsolescence and pedantry. Instead. which cannot lead to good education. established in October 1940. In 1930. However. However. He accepted Western educational ideas but did not follow the domestic trend of copying Western patterns. Beijing Preschool Teachers College and Jiangxi Provincial Preschool Teachers Experimental College. tomorrow America. and gradually developed a series of distinctive preschool teacher education theories to meet the needs of Chinese students (Tian 2005). In the exploration of Chinese preschool teacher education. their kindergartens have improved from time to time. he neither copied America nor learned from Japan. with their theories influencing the different regions. According to the theoretical principles of Alive Education. Today we copy Japan. It is just like the beginning when China started education. copy and copy. we should first ask ourselves what the goal is and how we will make them. Xiling Xiong established Beijing Preschool Teachers College and hired Xuemen Zhang to take charge of school affairs.

” During this period. and other natural settings) and the social environment (contact with individuals. Chen claimed that his new ways of instruction were completely different and alive. he prepared to establish Jiangxi Provincial Preschool Teachers Experimental College and put Alive Education fully into practice to fulfill his desire of setting up Chinese ECE and training Chinese early childhood educators using Chinese instructors. Five Activities.12 The influence that the former Soviet Union and Soviet thoughts have passed on China can be traced back to the period before the May 4th Movement of 1919. Alive Education. From the 1920s and 1930s until before the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. which was founded in 1949—Translator’s . which promotes real-life learning and teaching with authentic materials. and movies in China were representative of “learning from Russia” in the construction of socialism after the foundation of new China.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 7 as well as kindergarten curriculum and instruction. In 1947. and Three Methods of organizing the kindergarten curriculum and built a relatively complete and systematic curriculum theory. He emphasized the importance of both the natural environment (including animals. At the beginning of the foundation of new China. In 1923. he named his theory. Education Poems. he established the first preschool teachers’ experimental center in Nanjing. families. which initiated scientific research for preschool teachers. education. promoted the passion of countless Chinese educators toward a career in education. Chen put forward the Ten Principles. In 1940. the politics. Gulou kindergarten. economics. Thus. 1. Chen believed that there must be an interaction between the individual and the environment. the development of our country was completely on the road to “learning from Russia. the theoretical system of Alive Education was introduced in Shanghai. He argued that curriculum development should focus on both. The Making of Steel made a generation wvant to strive until the end of life and the education movie. The widespread Soviet songs. and the streets) in childhood development. plants. books. and other aspects of our country were all deeply influenced by the former Soviet Union. China means the People’s Republic of China. which was as popular as Lenin in 1918 . the educational thoughts of Alive Education were widespread in mainland China. 12╇ New note. because of the blockade made by Western countries and lack of experience with socialism. Nine Contents. In addition.3╇Learning from the Soviet Union: Direct Instruction and Collectivist Education in Kindergarten Moscow Nights was sung by generations of Chinese. culture. Based on his one-time teacher John Dewey’s principles of experiential learning.

The Soviet Union became the developed country that Chinese educators admired and worshiped most. the critique of the movie Wu Hsun impacted Xing zhi Tao’s Life Education and Chen’s Alive Education. Learning the educational system. In September 1950.8 L. Manuirienk succeeded in 1954. mainly characterized by “direct instruction” and “subject instruction” in ECE. Baнкoв. Chen’s educational thought. i. which lasted 30€years after the foundation of our country. The educational thought of Kairov gradually replaced Dewey’s in China.B. Krupskaya (Haдeждa Кoнcт aнтинoвнa Кpyпycкaя. and practical experience. and curriculum units basically followed the old ones without much change (Wang 2003). Chen’s thoughts on childhood education and the unit curriculum built on Activity Education were completely repudiated step by step. the trend of learning abroad profoundly affected the destiny of China. In the early 1950s. Kaiipob. During this period. developed in the 1920s and 1930s. including Kairov (N. 1888–1939). the early childhood curriculum of public kindergartens was mainly influenced by Chen’s Alive Education.. The simple negation of Alive Education and unit instruction broke off the independent exploration of ECE in new China. Golina. some Soviet educators. Makarenko (Aнтo н Ceмeнoвич Maкa peнкo. exerted an undoubtedly deep influence on Chinese education. These two ECE experts regularly participated in the analytical work of national ECE with the Ministry of Education and went to . developmental teaching theory. 1869–1939). Activity Education theory was regarded as the opposite of current mainstream education. From 1949 to the first half of 1951. was hired as the ECE consultant at the Central Ministry of Education. Moreover. and Suchomilinsky (B.e. was critical of capitalist society and Dewey and denied Soviet education theory and experience as the mainstream. Tsankov (J.A. a Soviet ECE expert. This time. in value (Wang 2003). theory. because of political resistance to America in the early 1950s. Cyxoмлнcкий. Chinese ECE totally accepted the Soviet ECE system. 1893–1978). except for church and private kindergartens that developed their own curriculums. 1918–1970). parallelism teaching method. the young pioneers’ educational theory and practices regarding all-round development of personality took root in China. which had a negative effect on the development of Chinese ECE. With their educational thoughts and methods. we followed a collectivist education pattern from the Soviet Union. the education of new China was no exception. China started ECE reformation based on Soviet ECE thoughts and notions. However. HUO In an environment of imitating and learning from the Soviet Union’s political and economic structure. and Soviet ECE thought was what most Chinese early childhood educators pursued and admired.A. new democracy education. 1901–1977). theory. and the former Soviet Union’s subject instruction pattern that emphasized children’s allround development and systematic knowledge gradually replaced Chen’s unit teaching mode that emphasized child centrism. and experience of the Soviet Union became the primary information that Chinese educators learned from foreigners. Researcher Zhu (2003) pointed out that in the first trend of learning abroad. such as a mandatory curriculum paradigm. Dewey’s pragmatic theory and child centrism were criticized in the field of education. and collectivist education thought.

She set up an ECE office at People’s Commissariat of Education. The introduction of homework was the main representation of the widespread Soviet ECE theory and experience in China. which were not deeply understood in Chinese ECE. was propitious to rectification at the beginning of the foundation and the top-down education administration during the . and opened lectures at Beijing Normal University. and other places to inspect and give guidance to the normal schools for children and kindergarteners.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 9 Shanghai. systematic content. and strong operability. the education ideas and teaching methods of Krupskaya and Usova were widely propagated. They also formed a series of collectivist education patterns that reflected a break from Western ECE patterns represented by Montessori similar to “direct instruction” and “subject instruction” patterns in primary and middle schools. but also trained a large number of teachers who were good at subjects and direct instruction. Under the influence of Usova’s early childhood instruction ideas and Soviet ECE experience. (Wu 2006: 39) Individualists place “I” above all else and confront the masses. For example.” and considered her the spokesperson of bourgeois education. kindergartens. which meant teaching children systematically through homework (Early Childhood Education Research of China 2009). but collectivists put themselves into the masses and see themselves as part of the group. Subject instruction. Tianjin. It could be said that. She posited that the essential difference in instructional methods between the Soviet Union and capitalist countries was that Bourgeois education tries to train children to be individualists … while we want our children to become collectivists. The usual Chinese kindergarten curriculum was abandoned and instead was divided into subjects with teaching based on separate subject instructions. the notion of “instruction” was introduced in ECE in our country. Krupskaya saw collectivist education as an important element in communistic moral education. Work Instructions for Kindergarten Staff and other manuals. with a clear aim. and managed Kindergarten Regulations. Western ECE thoughts and experience. led by the Soviet early childhood educator Usova. In addition. were criticized. which had practiced “down-to-earth” early childhood instruction for 30€years. Chinese early childhood educators criticized Maria Montessori (1870– 1952) and her “child centralism” and “liberalist educational thought. direct instruction and subject instruction. were the main themes of kindergarten teaching and instruction in our country before the reform and opening up. When the education ideas and teaching methods of Krupskaya and Usova were widely spread. and children’s institutions and expand the work of ECE organizations on an unprecedentedly large scale under the direction of Lenin. and put into practice. which became the learning models for China. She called for wide development of ECE and implementation of various measures to expand nurseries. We not only wrote the syllabus for kindergartens as well as teaching materials and references for subject instruction. the collectivist education patterns of early childhood instruction. Krupskaya regarded ECE as an indispensable part of the national career and entire national education system. to some extent. Nanjing. took charge of its work. studied.

especially American early education curriculum patterns. It advocated that “the missions of kindergarten education are providing children education with health. 1981. Education. Three significant events happened during the 30€years of reform. The first part stipulated the age characteristics of children and missions of education. which were put into effect in February 1990. issued the Management Ordinance of Kindergarten (National Education Working Committee 1989. The Outline contained three parts. . introduced many advanced Western education experiences. including the Reggio approach. the majority of Chinese kindergartens practiced the collectivist education patterns of subject instruction and direct instruction influenced by the former Soviet Union. 1989. which were the three publications of country Guidance Outlines or Work Regulations. China entered a period of reform and opening up— reforming domestically and opening to the outside world—and gradually facing globalization and integrating into world trends.4╇Learning from Europe and America: Theme-Based Activities Instruction and Child-Centered Education in€Kindergarten Beginning in the late 1970s. On June 5. the Ministry of Education issued the Kindergarten Education Outline (Trial Draft) (hereinafter referred to as the Outline) (Ministry of Education 1981. observation. the National Education Commission issued Kindergarten Work Regulations (Trial) (hereinafter referred to as the Regulations) and on August 20. intelligence. There were 10 chapters in the Regulations. reform and opening up increased the trend of learning from the West. In the first 30€years after the foundation of new China. HUO recovery period. capability and personal life. We “opened the door” to these patterns. sports activities. classes. started a new round of reforms under the trend of learning abroad.10 L. 1. such as Montessori methods. morality and aesthetics fully developed to bring them up healthily and actively in both body and spirit. to lay the foundation for primary school and the next new generation. and providing all children with both common requirements and individualized instruction.” The content and requirements of education were stipulated in the second part. work. maintaining the normal orderliness of education and instruction. Beginning in the 1980s. On October 31. The countries we learned from in the second learning trend were America and capitalist countries in Europe beginning in the late 1970s. 1989. as an important component of the country’s reform and development. quoted from Early Childhood Education Research of China 1999). including that kindergartens conduct education through games. entertainment and everyday life. corresponding changes happened in practice. Early education in China. a cognitive curriculum inspired by Jean Piaget (1896–1980) and Multiple Intelligences. actively developing children’s intelligence. loving and respecting children. based on the Soviet subject instruction pattern. On the basis of these. quoted from ECERC 1999).

Second. and a pattern of curriculum variety gradually came into being. the orientation of curriculum evaluation shifted from “focus on results” to “focus on process” (Shi 2003). science. language. The third part stipulated the organization and implementation of kindergarten education content and specified matters that should be a focus. the focus of curriculum changed from “on subject” to “on people. and art.” which reflected the essential shift in value orientation of the curriculum. properties. Kindergarten Fund. Kindergarten Management. corresponded to the four key elements of the curriculum: educational goals. based on guidelines in the Outline. hereinafter referred to as the new Outline). and key guidance for these five aspects. main body. Rooms and Facilities in Kindergarten. The fourth part pointed out that education evaluation is an important component of kindergarten education work. The first part mainly included the properties and missions of early education and problems in kindergarten education that needed attention. and exploratory spirit. emotion. There were four parts in the new Outline: General Provisions. First. then the Order and then the new Outline. methods. implementation of the curriculum was transformed from just classes to a wide variety of educational activities.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 11 including General Provisions. Education Content and Requirements. and evaluation. the regulations were educating through all kinds of activities using games as the basic activity and education activities in kindergarten as an educational process in varied forms to lead children to take the main roles with purpose and plan. the Ministry of Education (2001) issued and implemented Guidelines for Kindergarten Education (Trial) (differentiated from the Outline in 1981. We can see from the new Outline that these four parts. and personality. emotional and linguistic communicative ability. The NEC issued Kindergarten Work Regulations on March 9. it became evident that early education in China hoped to adopt curriculum reform by learning from the West. the characteristics and changes in the three curriculum reforms since the 1980s can be summarized as follows. Fifth. theory. and practical . Healthcare in Kindergarten. In September 2001. In the rapid reconstruction of Chinese society. society. our early childhood educators started actively studying and learning from the ECE system. Education in Kindergarten. Staff in Kindergarten. and Education Evaluation. In Education in Kindergarten. During this important reform period. Enrollment and Class Arrangement in Kindergarten. The second part clarified that education content should be comprehensive and enlightened and divided into five major aspects: health. manipulative ability. offered clear direction for reform. and laid the foundation for working from the Guidelines for Kindergarten Education (Trial). which fully supported the significant achievements gained in the kindergarten curriculum reform in the 1980s.” from “on teachers” to “on children. and Supplementary. Fourth. methods. content. Generally speaking. and standards of evaluation. focusing on training children to have good individual psychological characteristics. content. Third. respectively. It gave different goals. Organizing and Implementing. requirements. none of which were mentioned in the Outline. the trend in course content changed from “static” knowledge to “dynamic” activities. 1996. the dominance of a subject curriculum was abandoned. cautions. and the function.

and choose which toy or game to play. Chen’s and Tao’s theories drew people’s attention again: Early education theorists and practitioners in China reflected on our kindergarten curriculum during the decades. who seemed to have no direct teaching tasks. with children having free exploration of the environment and materials teachers carefully designed and made. ‘liberalist instruction is not liberty’. though it had taken root in the field of international ECE and thrived. During the 30€years after reform and opening up.12 L. and re-evaluated the unit instruction advocated by Chen and re-understood Dewey’s educational theory. and patterns of the former Soviet Union and was proud to learn from them. what ECE teachers studied and learned was the Western liberalist education patterns of “activity instruction” and “comprehensive instruction. (Wang 2003: Preface 6) On the basis of review and re-discussion of Chen’s and Tao’s ECE thoughts. which were entirely different from the Soviet collectivist education patterns of “direct instruction” and “subject instruction. the Montessori method. and project spectrum. Gu Mingyuan has mentioned that modern education had two totally different educational forms: socialist education and capitalist education (Gu 2007). How to decorate the classroom environment. HUO experience of Europe and the USA. ‘Designing the environment is the teacher’s most important work. liberalist instruction meant that children learned independently in an environment teachers carefully provided. but ‘there are plan and purpose in the freedom’. Reggio approach. and researchers when children explored the environment.” which ECE researchers study and learn from Western capitalist countries today. as far as teachers are concerned. it made a clear break with or at least kept considerable distance from the liberalist education pattern of “activity instruction” and “comprehensive instruction. should be carefully planned’. Those in ECE . To some extent. ECE in our county adopted a liberalist education pattern mainly characterized by “activity instruction” and “comprehensive instruction” from Europe and America. Therefore. ECE in China adopted the ECE system. researchers found that features of Western ECE were different from those of the former Soviet Union: ‘This education approach is liberalism on the surface’. in Western early childhood institutions. During the 30€years after the first learning trend. thoughts. were actually the creators of the environment as well as the observers. (Gu 2007: 195–196) In other words. Teachers. though it had been used on the international ECE stage for a half century. when before ECE stood by the collectivist education pattern of “direct instruction” and “subject instruction” represented by the former Soviet Union. Previously. Early childhood educators believed that the collectivist education pattern was absolute truth and regarded it and our ECE pattern built on it as the ideal pursuit of ECE. long-term education and projects.” In various Western liberalist education patterns and children’s activities. guides. Few Chinese early childhood educators tried the new kind of drama “thematic instruction” on the educational stage in China. few early childhood educators tried experimenting with “regional activity” in China.” for example.

chose and organized curriculum content centered on nature and society. science and art. In the orientation of value. as a whole. children in a passive position”. ability. and then developed into coexistence of various curriculum patterns. the Ministry of Education (2001) issued Guidelines for Kindergarten Education (Trial). The early education curriculum. the modernization process of Chinese ECE was influenced by the modern values of the West to a considerable extent and began to reflect the values of Western modern education ideology. This reflects comments by Gu (2007) in his oral history of education. the main views of knowledge changed from empiricism to nationalism and preferred constructivism. It pointed out that Education content should be comprehensive and enlightened and divided into five major aspects—health. protecting children’s best interests”. society. teaching children. The content of every aspect mixes with the others and promotes children’s development of emotion. The orientation was towards child-centrism and took social need into consideration at the same time. morality. and then developed into a “child-style educational body”. but lacked . shifting from child centered to society need was the main change. paying attention to children’s all-round and harmonious development in health. art. all for production”. attitude. In brief. but also show their abilities outside the classroom. and plaits it in an organized and systematic way. It turned out that “silence-better-than-talk” Alive Education reflected a genuine love for children. and aesthetics. According to the features of children’s development of body and spirit. (quoted from Zhu 2003: 305) It is clear that the new round of ECE reform in China was based on a Western ECE pattern and Chen’s educational thought. In 2001. social. we see the following: Tracing the century-long history of the development of the early education curriculum and three major curriculum reforms.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 13 gradually began to understand that they should not only learn from the Soviet subject education pattern. (Mou 2004: 235–236) The three ECE reforms and adjustments after the reform and opening up took a variety of Western advanced education theories as its guiding ideology. but also integrate Western education patterns to give children “silent education” through activities. He pointed out that Fingers are alive. The relationship between teacher and child changed from friend style to “teacher as leader. and then developed into “caring for children. The view of children changed from “loving children. in regard to cognition. and Chinese activities. experienced a “down-up—up-down—downup” spiral development. recognition and skills from different perspectives. respecting children” to “all for children. He divided the kindergarten curriculum according to subject. five-finger activity weaves a net in children’s lives. If we focus on the reform of the ECE curriculum after the foundation of China. curriculum is a whole and coherent. after reform and opening up. science. but a matter of views of education and talent. retractable and interconnected. intelligence. It turned out that teachers should not only be “enchanting” or “gush” in the classroom. The curriculum pattern changed from a unit activity to subject curriculum. (Ministry of Education 2001) The comprehensive curriculum was similar to the “five-finger curriculum” proposed and implemented by Heqin Chen. language. ECE in China reflected Western civilization and values. and it turned out that genuine love for children was not only a matter of approach. and formed his so-called five-finger curriculum. including health.

The guiding ideology of the three curriculum reforms was closer and closer to the main theme of national ECE reform. and two-year preschool education should be basically universalized. urbanization. Based on the national plan. HUO its own theoretical basis.000 (equivalent to NT 33. primary and secondary compulsory education. and internalization significantly accelerated. Kindergarten education used to be the Cinderella of the education system in China. she remained in the kitchen. it sets out the basic development goal to popularize preschool education by 2020.14 L. ECE has been a key issue. preschool education is seen as key to physical and mental growth of children and to habits fostering intellectual development. The modernization and rise of China should neither simply repeat the track and logic of rising powers in the past nor only stand on the height of the nation. there were problems that we did not pay attention to related to the whole experience and instead simply pursued novelty. the economic aggregate leapt to the global forefront.5╇From Drawing on Others to Its Own Style: Adjustment of Early Childhood Education Reform Under a National Innovation Strategy With the average per capita GDP exceeded US$1. and more contemporary. Moreover. but was still far from the final form of ECE curriculum theory with Chinese characteristics. Only in this way could the rise of China bring more spiritual value and wealth for mankind and be more acceptable to the world. one-year preschool education should become the norm. and socialism progressed smoothly. As her two elder sisters. neglected and despised. gleaning the meager droppings that fell from the Ministry of Education’s table. stood at a new historical starting point and a critical period of development. 1. Things changed in 2010. entering the new century. Chairman Hu Jintao stated the goal of technological development in China in the next 15€years at the National Conference on Science and Technology: An innovation-oriented country built by 2020 with scientific and technological development the strong basis for the development of the economic society. . The State Guidelines for Medium-to-Long-Term Education Reform and Development Plan issued in 2010 depicts the impressive blueprint of China’s education reform and development in the next 10€years. which caused a phenomenon against theory and practice in the reform process. First. but must be the height of history and mankind. and quick success in the process of reform. The new national plan is an ambitious road map in preschool education. market-oriented reform. By 2020. with threeyear preschool education popularized in regions where conditions are ripe. This was not only a significant adjustment of the national strategy. speed. On January 9. 2006.000). China. prepared them for the ball organized by the Ministry of Education. the process of industrialization. but also a major turning point from passive to active globalization.

and Multiple Intelligences made us go back to the starting point. and methods of practice. studied it. Third. Taking ECE reforms in the 60€years after the foundation of new China as an example. We have to say that because of their high quality and strong practicality. the author could clearly see that our ECE experienced tortuous improvement and gradual development through several waves of learning abroad. Perhaps. even though the traditional subject curriculum has occupied an important position in the practice of kindergarten education. quality improvement. tried breaking out of the deeply rooted traditional education pattern. Furthermore. in a few years. and then studied it again without in-depth research. we will question . investment. many Western ECE thoughts swarmed into China. Kindergarten curriculum reform has reflected a subject curriculum system since the 1980s. Tracing the developmental history of modern ECE in China reveals a journey of learning advanced educational strategies from foreign countries. Specific provisions are made for the development. preschool education responsibilities are further clarified at all levels of government. Reggio let us start all over again. dropped it. ECE formed a system of curriculum ideology and behavior and a training and security system with support at the national and local level for curriculum ideology and behavior.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 15 Second. such as mind-sets and action sets in the first wave of learning from the former Soviet Union. project spectrum. based on the Soviet collectivist education pattern. and were eager for quick success in mastering each Western pattern. as well as increasing education resources and professional training for directors and master teachers. reflection on the reality of studying and learning from various Western ECE patterns during the 30€years after the reform and opening up reveals that China was not optimistic about studying ideas or learning principles. In the 30€years after reform and opening up. processes. This cannot be changed overnight. emphasis is on the development of rural preschools and various forms of actions required expanding rural preschool resources. During the 30€years after the founding of new China. persistent practice. we used each pattern. However. However. which inevitably resulted in unfamiliarity with each pattern. representing the organic unity of twists and turns inherent in progressiveness. teaching staff organization. and expansion of schools. and fair access of preschool education at all government levels. is the inert resistance that must be faced when ECE studies and learns from Western ECE patterns today. planning. The State has promoted the Rural Pre-school Development Plan focused on support for poverty-stricken areas in the central and western regions through new construction. renovations. early childhood educators have criticized this type of curriculum and explored many new curriculums with autonomy and diversity. Those in ECE studied and practiced several Western ECE patterns. In a general survey of the century of reform and development of ECE in China. We started from activity learning and chose Montessori again. and others became unstoppable trends in curriculum reform that influenced the reform and development of ECE in China. wanted to master various education patterns in another cultural background. some of the outstanding Western ECE ideas such as long-term education and programs such as the Reggio approach. Then. there is no doubt that the inert force formed by value orientation cannot be shaken.

6╇From China Toward the World: A Step Toward Globalization and Nationalization of Early Childhood Education Reform Studying abroad led to a desire for quick success and blind worship of foreign education theories that resulted in total acceptance of foreign ECE ideology. and facing problems that occurred in the studying and learning of European and American ECE patterns. action paradigm and advancing rhythm of the reform. At this stage. choice of a road. viewing ECE reform in the context of history. can we see the starting point of ECE and its move toward modernization. starting from imitation. and development of ECE in China in the next period and long into the future. with conflict and integration that has been ongoing. Only by reflecting on the tortuous history of studying and learning Soviet and Western patterns since the foundation. We just introduce a new curriculum pattern and apply it. All past patterns have reflected advantages of other patterns. In the 1990s. To some extent. ECE curriculum reform has “stepped on the development road of learning” from Western curriculum patterns. communicative with international ECE and believed by the world? In fact. and developmental tortuosity and progressiveness. but lack of in-depth thinking and local research. When will we stop blind obedience to and worship of Western ECE patterns? When will we have our own outstanding ECE curriculum pattern that is global. lingering on all kinds of patterns but never trying to make a breakthrough. which are comprehensive curriculum. can we rationally think about the value orientation.L. The diversity of value orientation in curriculum content was formed and tends to absorb the others. 1. HUO 16 Multiple Intelligences and its project spectrum and search for newer and better ECE patterns from the West. four major ECE curriculum patterns in China. (Shi 2003: 33) Only by insisting on interpreting the century’s ECE reform from the perspective of history and development. tracing back real ECE studying and learning patterns based on various Western patterns since the reform and opening up. game curriculum and regional curriculum. Under this circumstance. Learning from the Soviet Union in the 1950s reflected this. came into being. so we can creatively inherit European and American ECE curriculum patterns and create innovation. one of the biggest problems that ECE curriculum reform in China faces is how to implement the Guidelines for Kindergarten Education (Trial). which means that our practice is in desperate need of one or more original versions of ECE curriculum patterns. our curriculum pattern is still open to revision. and explaining it in the historical tradition and modernization process of ECE reform and development of new China. We create on the basis of imitation. activity curriculum. since the 1980s. and at the beginning of . This process represents a combination of developmental stage and continuity. Our pursuit of various curriculum patterns has been exhausting.

In the early stage of the reform and opening up. It also means that when we studied and learned foreign ECE patterns. Therefore. idealization of the West was deepened and spread unprecedentedly because of the reform and opening up. Dewey expressed his understanding of China’s desire to strengthen the nation through studying foreign systems when he gave speeches in China. education is usually decided by social needs and child development. I hope that Chinese educators. and on the other hand. which show our desire and pursuit of high-quality patterns. Therefore. Only by doing so can a brand new Chinese modern education is created. which causes ECE reform errors again. which leads to detours in child education in China. and unintentionally developed errors. it is still not appropriate to use them in China. though there are textbooks and methods with high quality. under the influence of “new” thoughts. things they think are good may not all be good when we use them in China. we dropped the new Chinese scientific ECE approach explored by educators like Heqin Chen. use Western education theories as reference materials. Why? Because all imitation can only learn surface forms of organization in other countries. sank into a “vicious circle” of part reading. In societies. We should know that Chinese children are not American. However. Some things should not be totally imitated. Regarding Americanization of ECE in China in the 1920s and 1930s. Professor Jishi Xiao stated In the history of the development of Chinese ECE. there was not enough thought and research expended. on one hand. Heqin Chen once said that All kindergartens in China are mostly Americanized…which does not mean that Americanized things should not be used. analyze national and local needs on the spot. misreading. they secretly change the old system. ECE fell back into total Westernization. (quoted from Xue 2000: 4) Chinese early childhood educators have desperately studied and learned a variety of foreign ECE patterns. some foreign things without overall recognition were totally accepted without analysis. as well as a different national condition. You will never catch up. (Chen 1992: 110–111) At the beginning of the twenty-first century. recalling the study history and hardships of ECE since the foundation of China. and can never obtain the internal spirit. We have a different history and environment than America. then dropping it and studying it again. but there are differences between the two national conditions. Education has always been associated with cultural and social backgrounds. we did not pay much attention to the time and national features of these patterns. In the period of comprehensive study of the Soviet Union. (quoted from Dewey 1981) So-called national and local needs are undoubtedly inextricably associated with culture. In the new round of learning from Western countries. we either “totally copy” foreign child education or “totally repudiate” it for a long period. . We fall into a vicious cycle of finishing a theory.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 17 the reform and opening up. and the negative impact of total acceptance gradually became prominent. and misusing patterns while recommending them. When you completely imitate success. Besides. now every country is gradually improving its education. and our sadness and frustration over not having such patterns. but he sincerely and earnestly pointed out that A country’s education must not indiscriminately imitate other countries.

and get broad perspectives by choosing and deleting—from China toward the world—taking both national characteristics and epochal characteristics into consideration. If we study education without studying culture. we only know the surface of the river. Cultural Basis of Chinese Education. and culture is the source of the river and running water continuously flows into the river.”13 which showed the regulation in nature. can we understand foreign education theories in depth. Western and Eastern ECE patterns have been the product of different social cultures and the specific expression of certain social ideology and values in childhood education. Mingyuan Gu thoughtfully pointed out that Education is like a river. Only by thoroughly catching its source and running water flowing for 5. forerunners thought that at least there was one point they were familiar with—they thought the coexistence and disputes of Western countries were like those in Spring and Autumn Periods in China. and contradictions among these patterns. (Feng 1989: 125) He also pointed out that in the modern revolutionary period. Youlan Feng criticized this phenomenon. they inevitably took Western history into the set of Chinese history. can we interpret the differences. and Western theories into the Chinese theories set. In his book.L. Only by reviewing the West with a healthy attitude. Therefore. we will certainly be at a dead end. which is a thousand times more complicated than nature! Education theories and patterns would no longer be vigorous and vital if not allowed to grow and develop. know their advantages and shortcomings. and be (Tobin et€al. let alone in human society. thinking about Chinese traditional cultures from the perspective of Western cultures and putting Chinese traditional cultures into a Western cultural set still existed. instead of its essential features. if we just study blindly without considering the national conditions of China. He said When China initially began contact with the West. . while north sour. Only by understanding ECE patterns through their own development. What should be particularly noted is that an 13╇ Chinese proverb—Translator’s note. Under the influence of this idea. similarities. similar to the epochal and national characteristics that a Western nation with a thousandyear culture and tradition possesses. We should build an ECE system with distinctive national characteristics and style. “Oranges growing south are sweet. do. there has never been an education system independent from social needs and ideology. (Gu 2004: Preface I) Therefore. 2009). HUO 18 Historically and globally.000€years can we thoroughly understand the essence and nature of Chinese education. According to the latest version of Preschool in Three Cultures. systems of ECE reflect and pass on cultural values while at the same time responding to changing social pressures and expectations for what young children should learn. adapting to the times but not conflicting with our traditional cultural features. it does not work to transplant education and teaching patterns developed in a foreign environment and endued with certain environmental features and demands into another country and accept them without analysis and research.

and suiting to the national conditions is the passage. as Professor Guomei Chen said. In addition. the future and destiny of China are closely associated with those of every other country. Insisting on practice is the bridge. can we make an original contribution to the world and occupy our deserved position in the multicultural world community. exist beyond national boundaries. the theory should suit the Chinese condition. Learning from history and evaluating the pros and cons enables us to learn from past successful experiences. We have no reason not to share our excellent educational heritage. Second. starting a new stage of implementing scientific concepts of development to build our own style and enter this new period of construction of an ECE theoretical system and practice model with Chinese characteristics and style. the rational choice made by our ECE is to take the nationalized road in this era of globalization. where the main features are learning the advanced strategies of other countries and self-developing ECE with Chinese characteristics. and suit universal regulations. First. moving toward the world with a national spirit. Only by being ourselves and releasing our own educational thoughts and ideology instead of following the West. In China. and honor that are different from Western values require us to conduct well-valued education and national ECE. In this era of globalization. we should interpret it from two perspectives. However. like the creation of Heqin Chen. Knowledge belonging to a nation can be shared globally and thus maintain its vitality and source of life. Nowadays. If we want to build ECE theory with Chinese characteristics. However. We should share the latest achievements in international education and cooperate with educators from other countries. in China.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 19 ECE system with distinctive national characteristics and style must represent the Chinese people’s new view of ECE at a new historical starting point and involve training creative talents. the theory should be proposed by Chinese individuals. Therefore. value. and rare historical opportunities with other countries of the world. life. The 60 plus years since the foundation of China represents decades of reform and development of ECE by studying and learning about foreign ECE. representing educational innovation (quoted from Chen and Liu 1996). but also a national educational view in this era of globalization. We should never be narrow-minded nationalists. high-quality educational resources. Values with strong Western ideology influence the pure . as Chinese early childhood educators. ECE is trying hard to go beyond the era of mechanical imitation to the self-development stage of learning. we should make efforts to respond to the calling of China. which is the foundation stage of life education. constructing an innovative country and comprehensively improving the national original creativity of China. we must keep in mind that power politics still exist in this pluralistic world structure. This is not only a global educational view rooted in ECE in China. Chinese views of world. developing an ECE theory and practice model with original epochal and national characteristics should become not only the rational choice of early childhood educators in the new era but also the actual action at the new starting line. we should create ECE dialogue and behavior with theoretical and practical creativity as soon as possible.

undertake local missions. thoughts. our ECE went through the confliction and integration of different ECE regulations. through our own efforts.” or “Chinese pattern. HUO thought of the new generation of China in many ways. In this era of political pluralism and economic globalization. Compared with 1840. Based on the unique and charming history of Chinese national culture. including Western ECE trends and practice models. socialism with Chinese characteristics. and practices in different social regimes as well as the processing. values. In addition.” is a series of strategies and tactics taken by China to achieve the modernization of socialism in the context of globalization. From an international comparative perspective. Our country advocates building a harmonious society that will need to involve education in the whole process of cultivating people. regulation. though China is not threatened by gunboats and armies of Western powers. which means developing an ECE theory system and practice model with Chinese characteristics and style. ‘Thinking globally. which is dealing well with our own affairs. In the new international and domestic situation and at the new historical starting point. our early childhood educators have responsibilities and obligations to regard ECE as a political issue related to the construction of a harmonious society and issues of livelihood. In modern times. the urgent and practical problem that ECE in China faces is how to develop an ECE theory system and practice model based on our core values and national culture. we need to start a rational transformation of ECE concepts and build our own ECE pattern.20 L. based on our social culture and the needs of modern construction. acting locally’ is very popular in the West during this era of globalization. it faces the turbulence of knowledge economy and the huge impact of the strong wave of global economic integration. and study the major problems and practical difficulties that Chinese social development and education reform face. we can create a new ECE pattern that provides basic energy and power for developing a harmonious education system and society in the new historical period. which could also be called the “Chinese road. which means that no matter how fast globalization proceeds or how broad it spreads. we need to better reflect on how to reach independent innovation from mechanical imitation as we think about how to combine globalization with localization to construct the Chinese pattern. and promotion of foreign ECE.” “Chinese experience. and choice. while advancing with the times and taking actions that suit local circumstances. and method “acting locally in a global era” and construct trial and test areas for ECE scientific development led by scientific development concepts and accept the mission of pre-exploring construction of an ECE theory system and practice model with Chinese characteristics and style. culture has increasingly become an important source of national cohesion and creativity. We must implement ECE creation of thought. (Li 2003: 6) Living in this era. thereby affecting our whole society. Thus. we are required to have an international view and eyes open to the world as well as focus on the motherland. transformation. and a vital factor in competitions of comprehensive national strength. we must start from a fundamental fact. a rich spiritual and cultural life has increasingly become the ardent desire of our people. For hundreds of years. model. In their new book . (Reform and Development Research Group of Chinese Education in 30€Years of Reform and Opening Up 2008: 36) Therefore.

researchers. Meanwhile. I and my team have done some deep researches on Western curriculum models. I was one of the first group to introduce Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences in China. attempting to find an experimental plot for preschool curriculum reform. which is a typical city for reforming and opening in China. so is the curriculum construction. but also a new way of thinking. such as project ideas. I did a lot of experiments on curriculum reform and nurture some seeds in this experimental plot. contents. and future evolution of international politics and economic order. aims. Trying to explain and summarize the Chinese experience and pattern with different theories has become a hot topic of academic research around the world. and evaluations. and practitioners are developing Chinese preschool projects. clearly point out that China is creating a brand new social. methods. Children’s Theme-Based Museum Program of No. I rooted my research on domestic preschool curriculums designing and developing since 2000. The Children’s Theme-Based Museum Program has been constructed since 1998. we hope that we can create our own education pattern. which has been a dynamic process with constant development. also was interested in Reggio Project. effective governance of global issues. As ECE researchers. which are based on Chinese culture and are gradually accumulating some results. aiming at cultivating children’s interests and . and one of the characteristics is becoming more and more merged in internationalization and nationalization. and collaborating with the preschool directors and teachers in Shenzhen City. As a scholar holding on comparative education research vision. which is created mainly for children of 3–6€years of age with a value orientation of promoting children’s active and collaborative learning. the rise of China is also the rise of the soft power of Chinese politics. The century’s reforms in ECE in China have paved the way forward through the study of advanced foreign strategies that can combine with local conditions to create an education pattern with Chinese characteristics. new ideas. one of the earliest to get a senior lecturer in teacher training qualification certificate issued by the American Montessori Association. including getting rid of poverty in developing countries. Chinese preschool curriculum reforms such as Children’s Theme-Based Museum Program made in China are developing. and probably even a new paradigm change that cannot be clearly explained by present theory and dialogue. After introducing and learning from the world’s most advanced curriculum ideas for a long time. find our own development pace. and contribute more research power to the world significance of the Chinese pattern. and theory. and political system. which can be the most important one to human knowledge. and I was the chief editor of a series of translated works on High Scope Project. and the Chinese pattern will influence the whole world with unbelievable power. In this time of global and local interplay. John and Doris Naisbitt. To some extent. famous American futurists. practice. Chinese scholars should make the most important contribution. which will have a profound influence on addressing challenges China faces. Rome was not built in a day. economic. Success of the Chinese pattern will bring not only the rise of China.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 21 China’s Megatrends. 2 Kindergarten in Shenzhen is one of the Chinese preschool and kindergarten projects deeply rooted in the soil of Chinese culture. Over the years. currently. more and more curriculum experts. and instructed some master or PHD student to write papers on it.

developed by preschool teachers of Second Lotus Village Preschool in Shenzhen. This project is mainly a course of “integrated curriculum” concept. and (8) flexibility. (7) planned. exploring and exhibiting. and review activities and experiments. The LDMI project believes “teachers should become active supporters. and evaluating and collecting. Its daily routine is well organized as follows: Morning arrival—Snacks and Meals—Greeting and planning—Work—Cleanup—Recall—Outdoor activities—Afternoon nap— Large-group time—Small-group time—Departure. one of which is “Learning by Doing for Multiple Intelligences” project. the teachers are the providers of environment and material. operating manuals. the teachers “roles are to arrange the classroom and materials and schedule a daily routine that permits children to plan. The project characterizes children’s daily routine and the five learning steps in the Theme-Based Museum Program as its teaching organization forms. localized practice” and is also an attempt to the preschool curriculum “localization” according to China’s national culture and regional conditions. the children’s picture books and operating manuals are not only “visualization” portfolios of children learning process. HUO enthusiasm toward nature and social life and promoting their positive approaches to learning. its goal is to cultivate enthusiastic and collaborative children. The themebased curriculum products consist of the kindergarten teacher’s books. (5) cooperative.” After 10€years of accumulation. and teacher professional growth. which are published by the Educational Science Publishing House.” with trying to evaluate the children’s development in the curriculum implementation process. we have had some unique projects which are in various stages of development from different preschools. (4) equality. The themed-based project is focused on the collective education activities with eight characteristics: (1) themed. The project is a comprehensive curriculum system. and guiders of early childhood learning. For the target of children’s development.22 L. The project products have been improved . and audiovisual materials. It advocates exhibiting children’s life and culture in artistic ways. (3) purposeful. children books. child evaluation. experience. parents are also active subsidiary. Particularly. Every semester consists of four months. collaborators. (6) exploratory. In the classroom. This series has totally 36 books for 3–6-year-old children throughout the preschool and kindergarten period. the five learning steps are the main teaching methods of the Theme-Based Museum Program. but also teacher reflection portfolios of teachers’ reflection on the curriculum. Among them. its content is teacher-designed themed activities and children-initiated activities. This project is developed in view of the “global vision. (2) integrated. which include planning and decision-making. If we have to sum up the whole program ideology in a single sentence. an integration of curriculum development. reviewing and rethinking. so there are eight themes for 8€months in every school year for this project. and its form is mainly group activities. it would be that children are both active learners and active planners. This project is guided by the theory of Multiple Intelligences and practiced for almost 10€years in Second Lotus Village Preschool in Shenzhen. which have one large theme in every month. visiting and experiencing. It is a unique project which is constructed by University–District–Kindergarten cooperation model after 10€years.

and sustainable development strategies of full-scale anti-poverty. skills training. a state poverty county in Qinhai Province in August 2009. The project has been welcomed greatly by Chinese teachers and parents of young children after it published for several years. but also actively made efforts to promote the development of the ECE in poor areas. city-. It is also a part of the story forward. References Chen. (2) it served the references for the institutions. so as to make an equal start of the ECE and make the equal start as the efficient ways to break the transmission of poverty through intergeneration and achieve social justice and state progress. procedures. (5) it offered the references for multiple collaborations of anti-poverty of NGO. Chen. and motivation mechanisms. Nanjing: Jiangsu Education Science Press. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press. and university research institutes. (1992). Aims of the experiment were to eliminate the poverty at the root in poor rural areas and explore the macroscopic thoughts and courses of action based on the Chinese-style anti-poverty strategy model to promote the comprehensive development of poor children in China. H. For example. Chen Heqin’s collections (No. recruited the “trans-village teacher” teams. 2). Beijing Normal University not only paid attention to the development of the ECE in big cities such as Beijing. and county-level governments and had a good collaboration with governments. Y. The research team established the ECE centers as teaching sites in mountain villages.1â•… The Centennial Change from Imitation to Innovation … 23 continuously by first product-practicing and testing—making better—new practice—new product versions. identification. Qinhai Province. The research team helps them with the great curriculum concepts and practices. & Liu. An introduction to preschool education. . and (6) it provided the practical methods to promote the development of teacher and curriculum and the improvement of quality of the ECE in poor areas.. (3) it provided the references on making decisions on equal start and formations of organization and pedagogical and teaching models. and trained the “trans-village teacher” according to the backgrounds of preschool education. In the process of this project. G. Beijing Normal University managed to get supports of provincial-. government. The research team succeeded in combining curriculum development with professional development in order to improve the ECE in Ledu County. Shenzhen. and practices training. training models. (4) it served the references for new jobs for teacher education. Beijing Normal University launched the social experiment: Project Equal Start: Program of Early Childhood Development in Poor Rural Areas Ledu County. Finally. and help train the “trans-village teachers” teams. which are a bunch of action for curriculum researchers and practitioners to participate equally. (1996). the project achieved some great goals: (1) It provided the basis for decision-making for the policies on anti-poverty and social equality.

Xue. X. S. Zhao & Ch. H. L. 7–8.columbia. A study on preschool curriculum reform since 1980s. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. (2007). J. Y. Wu. J.. (2009). Guangzhou: South China Normal University. Krupskaya. A. Li. Wang. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Mou. Maddison. D. Changsha: Hunan Peoples’ Press. China. L. Taiyuan: Shanxi Education Press.). Chongqing: Chongqing University Press. Beijing: People’s Press. J. In C. M. (2003). (2003). On Krupskaya’s educational thoughts. (2003). The centennial retrospect and prospect of preschool teachers education. . (1981). The cultural foundation of China education. (2005). Professor’s Zhao Jishi’s discussion on how to make a reform way in the 21st century based on China’s characteristics.). (2007). M. (2004).). (2006). Maddison. 1. Zhou. Chinese economic performance in the long run: 960–2030 A. N. New collections on china philosophy (No. M. X. C. (2nd ed. Early Childhood Education.) Shangleai: East China Normal University Press Feng. Preschool in three cultures: Japan.. The world economy: A millennial perspective. The spread and impact of Dewey an educational philosophy in China. Y. 6). 1–47.D. The centennial development and reform of preschool curriculum. Wei (Trans. Wang (Eds. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press. 58–60. J. Preschool Research. Nanjing: Nanjing Normal University. X. (2001). & Karasawa. (2001). (2005). Hsueh. Preschool education reform and development. Jin (Eds. A. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. and the United States. Accessed 1 December 2009 from http://www.pdf. Tian. Gu. The Educational Guidelines for Kindergarten Education. (2004). Shanghai: East China Normal University Press. S.24 L. Preschool curriculum. Shi. 4–5. HUO Dewey. S. Krupskaya’s Collections. (2000). Globalization and cultural integration. Y. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Tobin. Unpublished master thesis. (2003). (1989).edu/centers/coce/pdf_files/v8. John Dewey’s Collections. An oral history by Gu Mingyuan. Beijing: People’s Education Press. MOE. Gu.

Nowadays. and technologies for putting A. laws and customs. In social life. DOI 10.). the role played by ECEC is directly related to cultivating children for healthy growth and parents (guardians) for shouldering the responsibility of childcare. this frame of reference includes the systems as well as the above-mentioned cultural and spiritual realms in terms of content. Japan © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. including religion or philosophy in the spiritual realm. as society shows increased expectations of kindergartens and nurseries while determining the contents. this helps form ECEC curriculums. HUO et al. we highly emphasize the role played by frame of reference. so to speak. daily props. and other social norms. Frame of reference refers to. The usual frame of reference has become the yardstick for judgments on actions or for the actions themselves.Chapter 2 Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan Atsushi NANAKIDA 2. New Frontiers of Educational Research. the ECEC ideologies and child nursing norms advanced by older generations. Culture refers to the generalized and standardized mode of action in social life. In recent years. as well as institutional regulations and provisions. Frame of reference specifically refers to systems and regulations. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. NANAKIDA€(*)€ Hiroshima University. the framework of life and learning widely accepted by society. their actions and judgments should comply with certain standards. Higashihiroshima. (eds. In the realm of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) practice.1╇Definition of Curriculum As people exist together in a certain collective environment. and in particular. and mechanical appliances in the material realm.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_2 25 . Curricula designed for childhood education are related to this role of childcare. methods. culture plays the role of frame of reference. increased importance and attention have been placed on the support of child rearing. As a matter of course.

achieving childcare integration based on education (Ohno and Nanakida 2011). Specifically. and this is now defined as the public preschool educational system. It incorporated the jurisdiction of nurseries from stoical sectors to educational sectors in 1996. nurseries. particularly including guides for studies so that the first compulsory education phase. they are under the administration of different authorities. The guides serve as early learning goals.” “communication. emotional development. this evaluation focused on what forms or models through which children progress through the kindergartens and nurseries. moreover. which are institutions operated by guardian volunteers (with nursing services thus provided within a short period of time).” “knowledge and understanding of the surrounding world.” “math development. reading.” The . the preschool education curriculum was formulated. The education curriculum clearly communicates the idea of “cultivating the democratic values of Swedish society (Swedish National Agency for Education 2010). the relevant childcare regulations were transformed into educational laws from social service laws.” As for kindergartens and nurseries in UK. and thus. These countries illustrate examples of the orientation this policy highlights by paying more attention to kindergarten education and childcare (OECD 2006). catering to 3 to 5-year-old preschool children for obligatory education. let us look at the compositions of the education curricula of ECEC institutions of countries other than Japan. the results may benefit increasing numbers of people in society because of the investment value of such efforts. and thus. family care programs. In 2000. Although the contents of such programs are not compulsorily required. which were incorporated into a single educational authority in 1998 for actual integration. Currently. early childhood education curriculums and childcare have attracted increasing attention in all countries in Europe. society. In 1998.” and “creative development. Primary schools began conducting preschool classes for 6-year-old children from 1997. so as to guarantee the sound growth of children and at the same time enhance the quality of early childhood education and childcare because it is directly connected with the quality improvement of education results following compulsory education. including “individuals. and preschool playgroups. Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED)” by a government party before they are identified as kindergarten educational institutions (Sylva and Paugh 2008). must undergo an evaluation from “Office for Standards in Education. Key Phase 1: KS1. In recent years. and writing. can been conducted smoothly. language. the Department for Education and Skills requires that such contents should be part of the national education curriculum. NANAKIDA such curricula into practice. Newly introduced preschool programs are referred to as foundation stage preschool education programs.” “physical development. early childhood education curriculums have needed to be amended or modified accordingly. First.26 A. Let us look at Sweden as an example. most efforts have focused on the improvement of quality and the expansion of quantity. These countries attach great importance to early childhood education and childcare partly due to current demand. The OECD’s Starting Strong II: ECEC policy specifies the integration of competent educational authorities and the adaptation of the conceited actions.

it is also proposed that 5-year-old children will be completely incorporated into the unified education curriculum. At that time. including competent administrative authorities. and at the same time. testing and evaluation shall not be implemented in the basic phase after KS1.1╇Meiji Period (1868–1912) In 1871. All countries in Asia are concerned about the childcare reforms implemented in Korea (Niwa and Kim 2012). Science and Culture 1981). It is thus understandable to have incorporated kindergartens into primary school education during this initial stage of the modern Japanese education system (Ministry of Education. which accepted children under the required age for schooling with a view to “cultivate gifted kids to lay . childcare. thus introducing an assistance system for childcare fees which was easily acceptable to both high. this paper will focus on the Japanese ECEC curriculum.2â•… Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan 27 Qualifications Curriculum Authority (QCA) has the power of decision over the contents and preparation of national education curriculums. This plan will conclude in 2016. In 2013. it promulgated the Educational System Decree. further. whose preschool education institutions. Japan established the Ministry of Education (later the Ministry of Culture and Education). this initiative in Korea will continue to draw attention with respect to its future development orientation. this initiative will expand to cover children aged 3–4. implement a dualistic system. particularly those including the social expectations of the national culture. and students. began. Generally speaking. particularly by incorporating kindergartens into the decree as a branch of primary school education.” Likewise. and views related to human nature. and thus.and low-income parents in Korea.2. QCA conducts its assessment by pointing out that information about children’s school growth and progress will be provided to teachers. parents. when all children aged 0–5 will be completely exempt from childcare fees. 2. kindergartens still remained at the regulatory stage and had not been highly accentuated. education curricula are thus established on the basis of various comprehensive factors.2╇Changes in Japanese Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculums 2. at a small part of schoolyard of Kyoto Ryuchi Primary School. which signaled the initial establishment of the modern Japanese educational system. In 1872. In 1875. Japan has an ongoing discussion on the future development orientation of preschool education institutions. while still maintaining a dualistic system. In view of such ECEC curricula.” which caters to 5-year-old children. Korea conducts extensive discussions of a centralized proposal to incorporate kindergartens and nurseries into “nursery schools. the “5€Year-Old Child NURI Curriculum (free compulsory early childhood education). Japan set up its earliest public preschool education institution. From March 2012. From this perspective.

the Ministry of Education formulated the earliest Japanese Kindergarten Education Decree. 1981). the earliest kindergarten to exist in Tokyo. In 1894.” and it emphasized the four childcare skills of “playing. According to regulations at the time. opened with the purpose of “rendering it possible for the children of poor families to attend kindergarten and to help children with bad habits form good ones. such as arithmetic. the earliest childcare-based nursery. the purpose of childcare was to “contribute to physical and mental health development. and as such it required compliance with the children’s lifestyles in all specific activities. Science and Culture 1979.” “singing. In 1890. singing. According to grade scheduling. was started and was affiliated with Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School (Yukawa 2001).” which detailed clear regulations concerning facilities. these included 25 detailed subsubjects. games. and forming good habits as a supplement to home nursing. it strictly complied with the prevalent thinking of the time advanced by Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852). and this was integrated with Froebel Gifts for the children’s physical and mental development while not being excessively related to homework. childcare contents.” a goal modeled upon Germany standard education (Ministry of Education. at that time. and letters or words on such wood blocks. In November 1876. The decree further specified that attention should be given to the capacity of children. nurseries were quite different from .” In 1908. with Froebel Gifts at the centerpiece of the educational materials. equipment.” and “crafts. particularly in using daily toys such as solid figure wood blocks and the drawing of animals. the teaching time for the children was four hours a day. Under this decree. and operation times for nurseries in Japan (Yukawa 2001). food. “Regulations Concerning Kindergarten Childcare and Equipment.28 A. In 1894 (the 23rd€year of the Meiji period). Akazawa Atsumi (1864–1937) and his wife jointly set up the first nursery in Japanese preschool education history within Niigata Seisyu School. Japanese Nisshinbo Textile Corporation set up a nursery to help solve the nursing difficulties of women who had to work at this time to cover a shortfall in labor. NANAKIDA a solid foundation for their future diligent study. the issue of childcare was undertaken and newly defined as “Probation & Charitable Relief Undertaking” by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the purpose of protecting female laborers and their children and promoting the improvement of nurseries. and gymnastics (Yukawa 2001). which included subjects such as the teaching of the names of various objects and materials and subjects related to knowledge and natural beauty. From the very start. Japan. Futaba Kindergarten (changed the name as “Futaba Nursery School” in 1916) in Tokyo. however. In 1900.” There was a particular emphasis placed on the playing of games. any 3 to 6-year-old child should be admitted into the kindergarten. which played a vital role in taking care of children. or using painting books as basic tools. This adherence to the Friedrich Froebel system was set forth by this first kindergarten and most subsequent kindergartens followed suit (Ministry of Education 1876).” as well as “relieving parents of the burden of nursing their children.” “talking. speaking.

and a new education movement was quickly growing. and as a result. At the same time. be at least 3€years old (up to the age requirement for primary school). The times in which childcare would be available were also stipulated according to the principle of providing opportunities to children in lower-income and dual-earner families. which included such major figures as Brian Hall. He established new kindergarten education targets. Article 7 specified that a headmaster should be appointed for every kindergarten.2â•… Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan 29 kindergartens that were under the direct administration of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Education (Mutoh 2011). In 1926. In 1914. places at which children could be allowed to play in natural environments with an emphasis on outdoor protection. was introduced to Japan. 2006). Germany. the Japanese government promulgated a separate decree called the “Kindergarten Management Decree. Article 6 specified that children admitted into kindergartens should. Kurahashi was appointed as a member of the Ministry of Education in 1924 and participated in the formulation of the draft of the kindergarten management decree (Yukawa et€al. Froebelism had started to receive new scrutiny and criticism. mutual interactions among children. the children would be freed from heavy study burdens to focus on physical exercise instead.” Article 1 stipulated that “kindergartens shall be established as a supplement to family education to ensure sound mental and physical growth and to cultivate the excellent temperament and mental qualities of children. first of all. became headmaster of the kindergarten affiliated with Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School. He was greatly influenced by the European and American neoliberalism educational ideologies that had done away with Froebelism and its emphasis on free play.2╇Taisho Period (1912–1926) During the period from the end of the Meiji Period to the beginning of the Taisho Period.2. the American kindergarten education reform movement. he advocated the “inducement” of childcare with goals of self-achievement based on the daily lives and practices of children. the establishment of more . In 1917. second. following the outbreak of World War I and its concurrent surging prices. it follows that kindergarten education and childcare would continue to be segregated even at the introductory phase. Additionally. 2. These features of kindergartens were based in a respect for life. the father of Japanese kindergarten education. and thus. people was plunged into poverty. Preschool education in Japan therefore at this time still had both kindergartens and nurseries.” The kindergartens were. Kurahashi traveled to the USA. in principle. and Montessori. Article 9 prescribed the qualifications for nursery aides. Dewey. and specific daily activities without conceptbased restrictions but rather an emotion-centered emphasis.” a statement that clearly describes the childcare functions of kindergartens. “to cultivate mentally sound and physically strong children. and other countries during a 2-year period from February 1919 to inspect actual overseas childcare programs. Kurahashi Souzou (1882–1955).

Kurahashi Souzou participated in the drafting of “Childcare Guidelines” as the chairman of the committee. In 1947. music. daily routines.” which clarified the orientation of kindergarten education. health services. By then. 2. however. the laws and regulations related to all fields were modified and revised. the jurisdiction for their administration was mutually shared by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Education.” indicating an orientation to the values of happy childhood experiences. a legal document functioning as the pillar for national restoration. Kyoto in 1920. The Ministry of Internal Affairs established the Social Affairs Bureau in 1920 to manage the establishment of public nurseries catering to children from urban poverty-stricken groups. and based on this document.30 A. the Constitution of Japan. kindergartens were an integral part of the school educational system as stipulated by the “School Education Law. free play. and Tokyo in 1921 (Mutoh 2011). Kurahashi noted that “what we should not forget is that this approach represents the starting point for the interests of children. and their actual lives. 1945. In 1946. The earliest public nurseries were set up in different locations.2. and education system (Okada et€al. The subtitle of the guidelines included the phrase “happy experiences of children. following the end of the Second World War. and annual regular activities and events as required by the management. In 1948. economy. As stated above.. talking.e. including Osaka in 1919. school institutions were prescribed as latecomers. due to the different purposes for setting up kindergartens and nurseries.” However.3╇Second World War II Revival Period (1945–1954) On August 15. creating.” This act represented the start of the establishment of the Japanese postwar childcare system. On the other hand. The section titled of the . In the preamble of these guidelines. In the field of education. the Ministry of Internal Affairs published “Childcare Guidelines-Kindergarten Education Guidelines. Japan also instituted its “Child Welfare Act” in 1947. in actual implementation. natural observation. Japan formulated its “Education Basic Law” and “School Education Law” in 1947 (Japan Society of Research on Early Childhood Care and Education 2010). rest. the establishment of the Childcare Content Investigation Committee facilitated the clear interpretation of the contents of kindergarten childcare. Japan abolished the stated tenets of “Militarism and Nationalism” under the command of the occupying forces to construct a country based on “Democratic Culture” and to conduct a revolutionary reform of the society. 2010).” Specific content related to childcare was prescribed in 12 separate items: study time. drawing. puppet shows). nurseries abided by the specific provisions of the Kindergarten Management Decree. imitation games and drama games (i. the “Child Welfare Act” defined childcare as the establishment of children’s welfare institutions in which “children without care at home due to the daytime careers of their mothers are placed under care. With respect to public welfare. NANAKIDA nurseries became difficult for both society and the government. their demands. was promulgated.

at the same time.4╇Period of Rapid Economic Growth (1954–1973) Beginning in 1965. nature. but rather should be integrated well with children’s lives. This revision took into account the legally binding aspects of the national standard. Particularly. “the Curriculum of Study for Elementary School” modified in 1958. which represented the American mainstream. Core families lost environments for sharing a common life with their parents and grandparents. music and rhythm. Not only did kindergartens adopt the content of “Childcare Essentials. which is unfavorable to the preparation of curriculums” and “offering no hint as to how to prepare curriculum develop methods (Early Childhood Education Association of Japan 1979). and the central emphasis on children and life empiricism advanced by Dewey et€al. In 1964.2â•… Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan 31 Guideline “One Day in a Kindergarten” emphasized the point that the daily schedule of a kindergarten should not be limited to separate. The “Childcare Essentials” sections show that Kurahashi Souzou respected child education theories that took into consideration the lives of children. Compared with the previous emphasis on free activities..2. children often did not have a sibling to share the same living space with and play together for recreation.” but nurseries and family nursing providers also adopted these essentials as a type of guide for childcare which reflected the new liberalism. However. and yet the pace of change in childcare policy slowed down along with social changes in interpersonal relationships in regions with increased urbanization. which was very popular among nurses.” which are divided into the six aspects of health—society. 2. with the declining birthrate. This clearly shows that it is better to arrange activities in accordance with children’s lives. Most females started working outside of the home. people made even higher demands for childcare quality and availability due to their various lifestyles. these new efforts based on “Childcare Essentials” were criticized by professionals engaged in primary school education for “being rather difficult to connect with the primary school curriculum. and drawing (Early Childhood Education Association of Japan 1979). individual frames. language. The .” In 1956.” we can clearly identify the purpose of kindergarten education. and the “insufficient supporting capacity” of the family and regional communities became major issues. Japan experienced a period of rapid economic growth coupled with drastic social changes. it is clear that childcare content should involve “the contents of kindergarten education. the ways in which they play. Further. critical voices appeared in the care and nursing debate voicing concerns about “the lack of systematic organization in terms of care and nursing content. Moreover.” a revised version of “Childcare Essentials. but we also see that relevant content should be directly connected with primary school education to maintain consistency. the Ministry of Internal Affairs promulgated “Kindergarten Education Guidelines.” which was thus raised up to the national standard level.” and thus. when we examine and review the critical parts of “Childcare Essentials. “Kindergarten Education Essentials” was modified for the first time.

“Kindergarten Education Essentials” was revised for the second time. In the same year.” was used for 25€years. all of which were subject to the kindergarten “Childcare Essentials” and “Kindergarten Education Essentials” as guidelines for childcare content.2. “Nursery Childcare Guidelines” was modified before it was released based on “Kindergarten Education Essentials. while the revised “Kindergarten Education Essentials” retained its initial childcare features. Therefore. and attitudes . “Kindergarten Education Essentials” was revised under the impact of such an ideology. and persons with a strong mentality as Japanese citizens living in a national society” and put forth ideas for maintaining an education curriculum from kindergarten to higher education as the mainstream educational track as promulgated.” “close connection with family. it is necessary to describe the “optimal major activities at all ages” according to the different historical periods of recent Japanese society (Early Childhood Education Association of Japan 1979). it did not clearly define the “Playing” aspects of kindergarten education when sections such as those related to “teaching language” and “teaching math” were expanded to include the use of game play in actual teaching activities. the second revision reverted to only five aspects instead of six: “health. The second revision returned to the postwar “Childcare Essentials” and the times of Kurahashi Souzou. in a revised version of “the Curriculum of Study for Elementary School” with a view to cultivate “self-adaptive persons in giving full play to individual education and social changes.” Furthermore. however. The nurseries at the time were described as functioning differently from kindergartens and that all functions of nurseries should comply with the kindergarten education essentials. environment. Previously.” With respect to childcare contents.” “Nursery Childcare Guidelines” clearly specified “the basic nature of nursery childcare representing the integration of nursing and education to cultivate children with rich human experiences. For these reasons. and art. desires. “Nursery Childcare Guidelines” emphasized the “promotion of active play and work to cultivate social attitudes of selfcoordination. NANAKIDA Ministry of Internal Affairs then promulgated “Kindergarten Education Essentials” in the form of a “public announcement” to emphasize the fact that the guiding roles and contents it contained complied with national standards (Early Childhood Education Association of Japan 1979).” In contrast. interpersonal relationships.” It was clarified that the targets of kindergarten education were in the “emotions. and nurse staffing for nursery operations. “teacher-directed style.5╇Bubble Economic Period (1986–1991) In 1989. “Kindergarten Education Essentials” emphasized its “difference from primary school education. 2. language. the “Lowest Standards for Child Welfare Facilities” (1948) and “Nursery Operation Essentials” (1950) were the two documents that prescribed the necessary facilities. The first revised version. It was not until 1965 that the “Nursery Childcare Policy” was formulated.” and its “combination with family education for a better overall educational effect. equipment.32 A.

the concept of “licensed child gardens” was highly integrated with existing kindergartens and nurseries. According to 2002 survey data released by the Japanese Ministry of Health. kindergarten education can be defined as “environmental care” with an emphasis on the play of children in their self-motivating activities. a policy to combat lower birthrates was earnestly implemented. the “Child Welfare Act” was revised to specify that those nurseries with effective measures and the necessary facilities would become facilities institutions. Under such a system.2.” “basic instruction. although a note was added which stated that “assistance or education” should be necessarily given by a nurse (currently called “a childcare teachers”). parents could obtain information related to the service contents of the nursery so that they could select an appropriate nursery according based on the information.” there were no obvious changes in the overall content.” with the major adjustment being related to “childcare contents. and as a result increasing numbers of people began paying attention to the professional features of childcare teachers. “Nursery Childcare Guidance” (1999) clarified childcare functions as forms of the support of child rearing: “In view of the environmental changes surrounding children. In 1998. Labor. this policy was legally strengthened in 2003. the basic ideologies of “education through environment” and “comprehensive guidance through play” remained. However. In the first revised version of “Nursery Childcare Guidance” (1990).” but in actual practice situations in which “childcare teachers were only onlookers” and in which it was “not necessary to the specific environment in advance” were taken into account. the “Child Welfare Act” was partially revised to specify the qualifications of childcare teachers in legal form. Furthermore. “Kindergarten Education Essentials” was revised for the third time with the purpose of further specifying the main aims of “Kindergarten Education Essentials. This note did not provide a full explanation of the concept of childcare. In 2001. compared with the previous “Kindergarten Education Essentials.6╇The Heisei Period (1989–) In 1998. the changes made mainly involved the second revised version of “Kindergarten Education Essentials. Therefore. However. from the perspective of children.” The second revised version had specified that “respect should be given to child activities to implement childcare through environment. In 2006.2â•… Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan 33 of the cultivation results as expected by the conclusion of kindergarten” with an intent to demonstrate the features of childhood education.” and five major sectors directly related to children aged over 3€years old. 2. thereby unfavorably contributing to the practice. nurseries should be combined in consultation with a discussion of childcare problems for better the support of child rearing so as to meet current social demands . The “Children-Childcare Assistance Plan” was issued in 2004 with a view to achieving the goal of effective implementation of the lower birthrate policy. childcare prominently featuring the “integration of nursing and education” remained to be emphasized.



with more guidance” (as prescribed in Chap.€1: General Provisions: Preamble).
Additionally, “age distinction” in the section related to childcare was changed to
“development process distinction.” The diction of “age distinction” could therefore
be understood as the differentiation of the average development of children and
the childcare contents, and as such the additional contents could be interpreted as
representing the “children’s individual development process.”

2.3╇Establishment of the Education Curriculum
Over 20€Years in the Heisei Period
In 2008, “Kindergarten Education Essentials (Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology 2008)” was revised for the fourth time, and
“Nursery Childcare Guidance (Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare 2008)”
was revised for the third time. The purpose of the fourth revision of “Kindergarten
Education Essentials” lies in the consideration of the continuity of development
and learning to substantiate child education; the consideration of the connection
of children lives with those of their families to further substantiate preschool education; and to substantiate the main aspects of the support of child rearing and
entrusted childcare (National Institute for Educational Policy Research Curriculum
Research Center 2005). It particularly emphasized the smooth continuity of childhood together with family coordination to assist guardians in getting involved with
kindergartens as regional child education centers.
“Nursery Childcare Guidance” was revised three separate times, each with considerable changes in both the contents and format, including the following specific
changes. Compared with the previous relatively limited guidance document that
lacked a legally binding force, the final revision had legally binding language as
well as the power to constrain for the purpose of regulatory requirements. At the
same time, it was positioned as “the lowest standard for child welfare facilities.”
Despite the drastic changes in the newly added contents compared with previous
versions, the text still retained the five primary childcare content fields and the
“integration of care and education” in terms of childcare and development theory.
The term “Childcare Plan” was renamed “Childcare Curriculum.” However, with
respect to the education of children aged 0–6, it pointed out that it was necessary to edit and publish consistent curriculums and course materials. All of these
changes indicated the emergence of the official regulation of child education in
defining nursery childcare integration to promote nursing and education.
In view of the developmental trends of the Japanese socioeconomic mainstream
environment directly involving the early childhood education and care, Japan
found itself in a whirlwind of social change from a farming society to an industrial society, and now an information society (Government of Japan Cabinet Office
Working Team 2012). Along with such changes in social structure, the number of
working couples exceeds half of the current employment population, and thus,
parents have fewer hours to stay at home and engage in direct communication with

2â•… Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan


other community members. In such a scenario, it is necessary to reexamine the
early childhood education and care, and it goes without saying that previous kindergartens were chiefly institutions of facility-based education. However, the most
worrisome problems of the current situation are related to family education capacity and regional social education capacity. It is necessary for us to seek ways to
increase birthrates and raise families along with regional social education, because
the current state of affairs represents a real danger, namely, it is no longer possible to guarantee the officially stated purpose of education—“the healthy growth of
future children.”
Under the circumstances of the obvious changes in recent childcare environments, and based on the premise that families and regional society have sufficient
education capacity, including the education provided by kindergartens and facilities under construction, it is necessary to fundamentally adjust the entire development orientation of kindergarten education. In light of the above-mentioned
situation, the Japanese government is devoted to the reconstruction of integrated
childcare and nursing facilities to promote future child education and bring into
full play the educational functions of facility-based institutions, families, regional
society, and kindergartens. Further, the government will enhance the qualifications
of working staff to improve comprehensive kindergarten education and assist in
the healthy growth of children.

2.4╇Reform with Integration of Education and Care
Kindergarten education initially took shape from the Froebel kindergarten in the
middle of the nineteenth century. This does not mean that the traditional education
contents of the 3Rs (reading, writing, and arithmetic) were simplified to be applicable to children because it instead advocated the individuality of kindergarten education. This kindergarten movement spread to the USA and Japan, but after the end
of the war, kindergarten education as a “child-centered ideology” was well established. With the postwar recovery, the functional differences between kindergartens
and nurseries were clarified in a notice issued by the two ministers of the Ministry
of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 1963; the notice specified the educational functions of nurseries while substantiating and developing the
dual system related to various competent authorities. Many different attempts were
made to eliminate deviations within kindergarten education and nursery childcare,
and as a result, the dual system could coexist for more than 50€years.
However, according to the so-called 1.57 Impact of 1988, the increasingly low
birthrate attracted much attention as a social problem. It was the “Angel Program”
(basic orientation for assistance in future childcare measures) formulated in 1994
that attempted to solve this problem, and as such the childcare measures based on
this program included a number of drastic changes. As we entered into the twentyfirst century, Japanese family patterns shifted to a standard of working couples, thus
triggering the problem of “leftover children,” which was not directly related to issues



of nurseries and kindergartens, but rather involved politically oriented policies. The
most effective way to solve this problem lies in the integration of education and care,
namely the combination of the functions of the nursery and the kindergarten by setting up comprehensive facility-based institutions and recognizing the previously
mentioned licensed child garden (Oda and Mori 2006). The resulting new power and
authority would give priority to childcare integration as a strategy to aggregate the
problems arising from the increasing absence of children, absence of environments,
and absence of actionable concepts, while presenting them for modification and
After such comprehensive institutions were introduced in 2006, familial factors such as whether the parents were employed could be used to facilitate the
choice of childcare times and to recognize the achievements obtained by the
licensed child garden. However, due to facility transfers and shortages in financial assistance for licensed child garden, and the fact that they were controlled
by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, both of which involved complicated procedures for account handling and recognition, the number of licensed child garden remained strictly within the number required by the government without any
increase. By the end of April 2011, there were 762 licensed child gardens nationwide. These licensed child gardens deviated from the unified integration of kindergartens and nurseries and remained with third party facility-based institutions that
did not include kindergartens or nurseries, and as a result, it was pointed out that
the dual childcare system was actually a pure ternary system.
Against such a background, the difference in contents related to kindergartens
and nurseries, and that of childcare in general were gradually scaled down, particularly with respect to education curriculums, education, and childcare. With
respect to education curriculums, in 2008, kindergarten education essentials and
nursery childcare guidelines were very similar in content. As for the main differences between individual education and childcare content, childcare differences rather than differences among the various facility-based institutions were
more prominent. However, nursery education became emphasized according to
the integration of “Nursery Childcare Guidance” but not according to the School
Education Act (1947, Act No. 26). Nurseries were retained within some kindergartens, and guardians only performed their childcare duties without an awareness
of the implementation of education. Therefore, it is highly necessary to explore
“Child Guide” education curriculum to integrate kindergartens and nurseries.
Even within the same country, from the perspective of child policy-based kindergartens and nursery systems for the “maximal interests for all children” aspired after
as required by the children’s constitution concerning protected children, the “Child
Guide” should be advocated as the first principle for child protection. This will be
of vital significance in terms of the basis for cultivating human characteristics from
infancy to kindergarten education, and it will be “a guide formed by humans” from
a higher perspective. While current kindergarten education essentials and nursery
childcare guidance, and other relevant facility-based childcare policies do have their
limitations, policies beneficial to children and which effectively incorporate families

• Providing the protection of children’s maximal benefits and prioritizing child education into the national society to guarantee the self-development of children and the construction of a tangible structure for children’s respect. and increase commercial opportunities in hopes that we can provide the next generation with more favorable environment. and selfdiscipline in a collective manner). effectively mitigate controls and monitoring. should improve education capacity and bring the leading roles of child education into full play (and not overall family improvement). and thus. it is important to conduct unconscious learning from the age of 3€years as the “initial time for learning” to cultivate a continuous and basic learning capacity after elementary education. it can be said that Japan’s ECEC facility-based institutions are now ushering in a period of change of their own. • Assisting in the sound growth of all children as the foundation and future investment to cultivate future pacesetters. make all services more convenient. This does not refer to educational cramming. 2. . it is necessary to provide basic education to stabilize the emotions and maintain one’s lifestyle (namely childcare) catering to children aged at 0–8. • It is very important to cultivate children’s capacity for survival (i. and under the premises of childcare as the first responsibility for parents.2â•… Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum in Japan 37 and local areas into the scope of the vision are currently under discussion. • Childcare facilities such as kindergartens. social conscientiousness. interpersonal communication capacity. All countries earnestly implement education and care reform.e. this paper provides a full discussion in an effort to enhance countermeasures to protect leftover children.” and as such. The following are the matters currently being discussed by the government: • The functions for society to assist children and parents have degraded. the inconsistency of the current system and its current requirements remain real problems.. based on closer cooperation with families. • In view of the growth that occurs after elementary education. at the same time. but rather an educational model based on exemplary demonstration. which will be an important period for the implementation of necessary education methods. families and local areas have combined the assistance functions of childcare.5╇Future Development Orientations In spite of the many problems still present under the new framework. This round of ECEC integration reform is expected to develop out of a framework catering to “adults. which will take shape in a new format. independence. • To center on the child rights treaty and abide by the principle that a child will be well educated from birth. • Command the life skills and social relations with others from infancy and have experiences that relate to personal desires and interests.

Naito. Wood (Ed. Hundred years history of kindergarten Â�education.. Tokyo: Nihon Tosho Center. Yukawa. Childcare in Japan’s postwar. Fukumoto. (2011). Ohno. J. and Welfare. 19–29.). F. Government of Japan: Cabinet Office. .38 A. (2010). Ministry of Education. et€al. (2010). Tokyo: Nihon Tosho Center. (1979). (2008). Y. Government of Japan: Ministry of Education. Japan Society of Research on Early Childhood Care and Education. Sweden: Stockholm. Transforming the early years in England. Labor. Labor. Research on preschool class in Sweden: From viewpoints of the “schoolification” problem and lifelong-learning approach. (2006). Science and Technology. S. 82(6). Government of Japan. Tokyo: Kazama syobou. & Morigami. Suzuki. (2006). K. Minister’s Secretariat. Kubo. (2008). (2001). (2008). (2011). Shishido. Okada. Ministry of Education. Research of Early Childhood Care and Education. (2006). The Routledge reader in early childhood education. Sakamoto.. Paris: OECD. Research and Statistics Division. Mutoh.. (2012). School of child care 1–3. Education from infancy to childhood. The magazines of the ministry of education. Starting strong II: early childhood education and care. M.. M. & Nanakida.. & Kim. Osaka: Hikarinokuni.. Osaka: Hikarinokuni. T.. (1981). Ministry of Education. T. (1876). The study of the establishment of the kindergarten in Japan. (2005). Sports.. Childhood Education. 49(2). & Mori. H. Niwa. A. I.. Tokyo: Ochanomizu University Center for Woman’s Education and Development. Yakada. M. Course of study for Kindergarten. Ministry of Health. OECD. H. Science and Culture. Sports. (2010). G. Summary of basic system on the new system of children and child-rearing. Research on Early Childhood Care and Education in Japan. (1979). K. (2012). Sylva.. Current challenges of kindergarten (yochien) education in Japan: toward balancing children’s autonomy and teachers’ intention. Nagai. London: Routledge. M.... Ministry of Health. Yukawa. K. and Welfare. Science and Technology.. T. 43–54. Ministry of Education. 24.. Curriculum for the preschool lpfö 98 revised 2010. 369–373. A. Ministry of Education. & Paugh. Oda. National Institute for Educational Policy Research Curriculum Research Center. Culture. T. Early childhood education and care in Japan. Japan’s modern educational system: A history of the first hundred years. NANAKIDA References Early Childhood Education Association of Japan. A study on an introduction of NURI curriculum policy in Korea. The history of Japan’s preschool education and care. Swedish National Agency for Education. M. Culture. History of early childhood care in Japan 1–6. Shiozaki. Government of Japan Cabinet Office Working Team. Tokyo: Froebel-Kan. Guidelines for center-based daycare. Science and Culture. R. Tokyo: Child Honsha. Science and Culture. In W.

Smith 2010). Tempe. and resilience (Johnson et€al. objects. (eds. There is less opportunity for play at home due to hectic and overscheduled family life. Christie€(*)€ Arizona State University. OH. USA K. Recent reviews of research have gathered an impressive body of evidence that play makes important contributions to child development and needs to be actively supported and encouraged by adults (e. and€Communities in the United States James F. HUO et al. and others. children’s opportunities to play in school settings. problem solving. USA © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. enormous amounts of time spent viewing television and the Internet. and in school because play is a natural tool for learning in the early years. New Frontiers of Educational Research. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. and mathematics (Roskos and Christie 2007). We agree with this perspective and believe that we need to invest in play as J. Christie and Kathleen A. both at home and at school.F. 2005).Chapter 3 Play with a Purpose: Creating Meaningful Environments with Children. have created strong curricular forces focused on cognitive development. AZ. Active play enables children to develop knowledge. a lack of safe places to play. both in the classroom and outdoors at recess.A. Recent policy shifts in early childhood education in the United States. But play is changing in a changing world. Roskos All children need time and opportunity for play at home. have been dramatically reduced. and the growing popularity of organized sports and activities for young children.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_3 39 . including the standards movement and the new “science-based” perspective on early learning. As a result.g. creativity. literacy.” and return play to the center of the early childhood curriculum (Hirsh-Pasek et€al. Elkind (2007) estimates that American children have lost 12€h of unstructured free play time a week—a total of 624€h of play opportunity per year! Play’s status at school is even more precarious. 2009. Zigler and Bishop-Josef 2004). Roskos€ John Carroll University.. Families. in childcare. They learn through their playful interactions with ideas. University Heights. self-regulation. Play advocates have raised a call to “turn back the tide.). DOI 10.

13). or targeting. especially for children from low-income families whose access to playful learning may be seriously limited. ALL FIVE must be met in at least one respect” (Burghardt 2011. Hence.” the children may not be playing at all. p. “We are playing a game. While meeting elements of some play criteria (e.1╇Coming to Terms—Understanding the Nature of Play Although play has been an object of study for over 100€years (Bateson 2011). researchers. when several kindergarteners choose to build a house out of wooden blocks during center time. Burghardt (2011) has made some recent progress in this regard by identifying a set of five criteria that characterizes play behavior across species and contexts. Burghardt has stipulated a “one element rule” with respect to these criteria: “NO single criterion. clothed. But when the children are playing a phonological awareness game during Circle Time (e. This chapter examines what early childhood educators can do to promote rich opportunities for play. precocious. teachers need to help parents understand the difference between play and adult structured recreation and inform them of the purposes that free play can serve when children are at home and in their communities. tightly structured and sequenced.g. . sequencing. intentional. (3) incomplete. Even though the teacher might say. and maybe somewhat stressful for some children. both in the classroom and outside of school. it is important that teachers make it clear that play is a purposeful part of the curriculum.g. (4) performed repeatedly in a similar. and relaxed. repetitive. finding objects in the classroom that rhyme with objects that the teacher holds up). pleasurable. it is not play because the activity is completely functional in the context (learning to hear sounds in words). which at present seriously lacks conceptual clarity on this concept. we might define this as play: not fully functional (their “house” is not a real house). loosely structured.g. we probably would not define this as play. Given the strong “anti-play” influences that permeate daily life and the current educational environment. rewarding. healthy. the Common Core State Standards). Roskos a foundation for learning. Christie and K. (2) spontaneous. 3.. helping children attain the objectives specified in educational standards (e. Considering these criteria. In addition. or involves behavior with modified form. is alone sufficient to label a behavior as play. awkward. these 5 criteria and the one element rule show promise as a more rigorous framework for identifying play behavior in playschool readiness research. voluntary. voluntary. what is and is not play continues to perplex scholars.F. These criteria can be useful for helping teachers discriminate between classroom activities that are truly playful and those that only appear to be play. and teachers. and not under stress.A. exaggerated. These criteria stipulate that play behavior is (1) not fully functional. or autotelic (“done for its own sake”).40 J. intentionality and repetition).. but not rigidly stereotyped form. reinforcing.. even if satisfied. and (5) initiated when an animal (or person) is adequately fed.

Educational play can make learning activities enjoyable. So the question is. children need ample opportunities at home and at school to engage in both free play and educational play activities. learning numbers while enjoying a game of hop scotch. It is also useful to make a distinction between two types of play that can occur in school and non-school settings. and using dramatic play to increase literacy skills. Therefore. This completely unstructured type of play is often very active and provides children with opportunities to build physical skills and social competence. On the other hand. and stress free. woven into the fabric of the academic curriculum and ample time for children to engage in free play. and involve considerable stress (courtesy of overly involved parents and demanding coaches). and become self-reliant. Examples include games that provide enjoyable practice of academic skills and literacy-enriched play centers that are designed to prompt children to incorporate reading and writing into their dramatic play. teachers can use play as a vehicle to learn other more specific skills. skills.3â•… Play with a Purpose: Creating Meaningful Environments … 41 Burghardt’s criteria can also help parents and caregivers distinguish between play and pseudo-play activities. many key play elements are missing. interesting. make decisions. such as playing a geography game to learn the names of states and their capitols. and physical development. First. voluntary. all these outcomes can be taught without using play. It is the type of play that children often engage in when on their own alone or with friends-at home. if the child is enrolled in Little League baseball. It also provides children with opportunities to plan. why use play? . or on the playground during recess. such as problem solving. and outcomes. Second. Indeed. and engaging. Educational play. occurs when adults link playful activities with educational goals. To take maximum advantage of play’s contributions to learning. Free play is play that is child initiated and child controlled. this is true play. on the other hand. loosely structured (the child makes up his or her own rules). and attitudes from play itself. If a child takes a baseball and throws it against a wall. repetitive. The activity is not completely functional (no one is there to hit the ball that is thrown). 3. are highly structured with rules established by adults. This mix of planned academicfocused play and child-initiated play is an ideal combination for promoting children cognitive. Competitive sports require skilled performance.2╇Educational Play Educational play provides two vital functions in children achieving school goals. positive self-esteem. and divergent thinking. objectives. in their neighborhood. Both types of play make important contributions to children’s learning and development. social skills. educationally focused play provides opportunity for learning general strategies. creative thinking. social. pretending to be a big league pitcher. teachers and parents need to provide children with a combination of educational play activities.

pp. They begin to rewire with four dry cells. There are several basic strategies that teachers can use to provide children with educational play to promote the mastery of academic standards.F. children will tend to develop positive attitudes toward academic learning. Wasserman (2000. Roskos The key advantage of linking educational outcomes to play is that it enables us to teach specific educational goals through a vehicle that is. the sight dazzles me. They try increasing the number of batteries to three. 22). While they have not articulated the hypothesis. from the child’s perspective. By this time. who come over to observe. Sinclair. while others go back to their groups to test the same hypothesis.A. What makes this activity playful is that the children were simply provided the materials and given an opportunity to “play around” with them. Rather than passively absorbing information and memorizing facts from a science textbook. Playing with Academic Materials╇Wasserman’s battery example above is an example of this type of academic play. “Try six. buzzers. teachers do not have to externally motivate the child to learn because play. their enthusiasm has attracted an audience of children from some of the other groups. . “Oh. 21–22) gives an excellent example of how a teacher uses a playful activity to help second graders learn about electricity: As I walk through the door. p. Play advocates claim that this type of playbased learning activity offers distinct advantages over more direct types of instruction. Play is intrinsically motivated. accompanied by shouts and laughter. children have opportunities to construct their own knowledge about electricity with help from their peers. in and of itself. is intrinsically motivated. Five groups of children are working in investigative play groups with dry cells.42 J. low-wattage light bulbs and switches…I take in the overall scene first and then edge over to the group of five children working near the window. The use of play answers one of the central dilemmas of education: how to motivate children to learn. rather than following a set of teacher-made instructions. the children responded in collective wail. No rewards or reinforcement are needed to get the children to learn science. do we have to go outside today?” (Wasserman 2000. Mr. The four-cell hypothesis is supported. The teacher provides children with materials that have the potential to help children learn academic concepts and then allows the children to “mess around” with material. inherently self-motivating.” one observer offers. and the light brightens. The fact that the exploration is child initiated. A shout goes up from the investigators. There was no right answer to discover or any pressure to achieve a preset goal. with no particular goal in mind. when recess bell rang in Bob’s classroom during the electricity experiments. using dry cells and light bulb. Imagine the different response if the second graders had just spent an hour reading a chapter about electricity in their science textbook and then filling out a factual recall worksheet. With play. In fact. not always functional. I can see that they are implicitly testing the idea that an increase in the number of dry cells strung together will increase the brightness of the light. Because concepts are connected with enjoyable play. Christie and K.

and notepads. The home or housekeeping center. and less stressful puts this form of activity in the realm of play. The learning potential of sociodramatic play centers can be greatly expanded by adding one more ingredient: academic-related props and materials. 2005). and calendars). In these studies.. objects and play things in the center can be labeled (e. In addition. and pencils for recording data. cognitive. Because the teacher has carefully selected the materials that provide the opportunity for children to discover academic concepts. The home center can be enriched by adding a variety of home-related literacy materials such as environmental print (grocery packages. For example. using .. The basic ingredients for developmentally stimulating dramatic play setting are as follows: a well-arranged space for play. theme-related props. Bruner also found that children in the play conditions tended to be more persistent in trying to solve the problem. 2010). Research has shown that this type of environmental enrichment can lead to gains in the range and amount of literacy behaviors during play. materials for an “experiment” measuring the temperature of water under different circumstances.g. coupons. A well-designed dramatic play center can provide children with opportunities to develop oral language.g. and printed matter related to the topic of measuring temperature. during a 6-week “unit” on winter. On/Off knobs on the play stove and places to store dress-up hats and coats). Results show that children who were allowed to play with the clamps and sticks did just as well at solving the problem as children who were directly trained to solve it. it fits our definition of educational play. the teachers supplied dramatic play centers with various types of thermometers. Play centers can be enriched to promote learning other curriculum areas such as mathematics. assorted paper.. dolls. Roskos (1994) helped two kindergarten teachers develop play settings that were closely connected with science content presented in whole-group instruction.g. is typically equipped with miniature wooden or plastic kitchen furniture and appliances. To connect this content with play. Results showed that a majority of the children’s interactions were related to the content-oriented activity available in the centers (e. thus allowing children to practice their emerging skills and show what they know about print (Roskos et€al. 1976). the teachers taught children how to read thermometers and how to record information using symbols for degrees. and other “domestic” play props. science. flexible. for example. writing utensils (pencils and markers). children had to solve a problem that involved clamping sticks together to retrieve a marble or piece of chalk that was out of reach. laboratory coats for dress-up. Academically Enriched Play Centers╇ Dramatic play centers are areas of the classroom that are designed to stimulate sociodramatic play.3â•… Play with a Purpose: Creating Meaningful Environments … 43 non-goal oriented. Several studies have found that play helps children’s problem-solving abilities (e. Sylva et€al. adequate play time. whereas the children in the training group tended to give up quickly if their initial attempts to solve the problem were not successful. and appropriate forms of teacher involvement in play (see Johnson et€al. notepads. For example. and social skills. Simon and Smith 1983. and social studies.

but not all. First she read an informational book about a father and daughter building a doghouse. For example. The children did not shift to “off-task” activities such as visiting with friends or other forms of play. games promote children’s self-regulation and sociomoral development by creating a context that encourages children to voluntarily submit themselves (DeVries 1998). Games can offer a highly enjoyable means for children to learn new academic skills and to practice skills that have already been taught. discovery. The class was engaged in a month-long unit on building and construction. 10 more. for example.F. take turns. What was more impressive. art. who were all English language learners. Finally. Topic-Oriented Dramatic Play╇ Roskos and Christie (2007) have proposed that a considerable amount. Kamii and Lewis (1992) explain the advantages of using games over traditional drill-and-practice worksheets: (a) The motivation to play the game comes from the children. This involves connecting traditional play areas (e. Roskos thermometers). thus facilitating transfer of what is taught to what is learned.. and (c) children provide each other with immediate feedback and correction during game play.A. blocks. children can be taught new concepts and skills. and thus can be explicitly communicated. The tiles are placed upside down. Christie and K. cooperate. The players then take turns placing tiles on the grid that touch a side or corner of a tile already on the board. In large and small groups. Games also promote social development by requiring children to share. and each player selects eight tiles and keeps them face up in front of him. 68 would be placed six rows down and 8 columns to the right.” a game from Kamii’s (1989) second-grade mathematics program consists of a blank 10€×€10 grid and 100 tiles numbered 1–100. the teacher set up the dramatic play area with a cardboard “house” and added the same . The game helps children learn about our base-10 number system and provides experience with finding numbers that are 1 more. are probably codified in some way. indoor classroom play should be “networked” with instructional goals related to academic content. book corner) with instructional activities in the early childhood curriculum in ways that support children’s learning of difficult ideas. and delay gratification. dramatic play. Arizona. be sensitive to other player’s viewpoint. This academic content can then be reinforced and practiced in play settings. p. (b) games require children to use critical thinking skills and invent their own strategies. Take.” Because of their rule-based nature.g. the “The Hundred Board. Then. Games╇ According to Baines and Blachford (2011. For several days. and 10 less than a given number. 1 less. A good example of this type of topic-oriented play occurred in an Early Reading First project in San Luis. the names of common tools. 262).44 J. One of the remaining tiles is turned up and placed in its appropriate space on the grid. the teacher focused on teaching the children. The children said the name of the tools and did an action that showed how the tool was used. “A main characteristic particular to games is that they involve rules and roles that have previously been established by others. the children’s engagement in these content-oriented activities persisted across the entire play period. she conducted small group activities in which children matched toy tools up with pictures of the same tools in a big book.

namely inhibitory control. whereas planning involves forethought and follow through. When Josie writes her plans to play “I am going to be selping buttye and I am going to mery a prince” and then follows through by dressing up with a veil and high heels. Moreover.g. if a preschool teacher is teaching children to recognize specific letters of the alphabet. At first. 2008). They also used many of the tool names during their play conversations.. For example. working memory. Educators can also take steps to promote academic play at home. (Of course. for examples of these types of parent education strategies). play and skills-focused early literacy instruction improves both their play and literacy abilities (Bodrova and Leong 2007. Following this phase. First. the concept seems a contradiction in terms. this new age of standards and accountability requires that all the activity settings in the early childhood classroom work together to provide sufficient opportunity for learning the content necessary to be well prepared for school entry. labels on product boxes) and in magazines.. and cognitive flexibility (Diamond et€al. children advance to writing a play plan. “I am going to make a farm”). In a more advanced version of . she could send home directions on how to play “letter search. using the toy tools to pretend to build a doghouse. parents will be encouraged to let their child win most of the time!) Examples of print with the target letter can be cut out and brought to school. say. children choose. the intentionality of the play planning and resulting play appears to exercise mature play behaviors that are foundational in executive functioning. The person who finds the most instances of the letter is the winner. At the heart of the technique is a literary-related process of assisted or “scaffolded” writing where children draw and write a play plan in a highly structured approach. 2012. Play Planning╇ Play planning is a recent evidence-based technique in early literacy instructional practice. The children played for hours in the center. conferences. Teachers can use newsletters. Yet the theory and research suggest that merging children’s planning.” The parent helps the child search for the letter in everyday environmental print in the household (e. the merit of the play planning technique becomes apparent. teachers can provide parents with instructions for several types of academic play.g. Lonigan and Phillips 2012).3â•… Play with a Purpose: Creating Meaningful Environments … 45 toy tools that were used in the small group instruction. they can help parents play games with their children that reinforce specific skills that are being taught in the curriculum. and draw a picture of their play plan. writing only their name on a play planning form (usually a half-sheet of paper). as they progress from making marks to making words and from producing prealphabetic to alphabetic word spellings. and parent workshops to give parents suggestions on educational play activities that they can do with their children (see Vukelich et€al. Because the “bar” for learning educational concepts and skills has been set so high. Play is spontaneous and improvised. making a line for each word and then attempting to spell each word on the line (e. Using these types of communications. On the surface. Roskos and Christie (2011) maintain that the early childhood curriculum can neither afford to privilege play nor to exclude it. Repeated practice in writing a play plan supports children’s developmental writing.

or a picture of a seal in a magazine.A. With the current emphasis on standards and accountability. Free play provides children with opportunities to develop a different set of skills than educational play. For example. for example. If children have unstructured.” a game that he played with his own children when they were in the middle grades. Christie and K. For example. Again. Then. Elkind (2007) gives the example of “fictionary. the activity would have been free play. Because children are “on their own” when they engage in free play. Then.g. if the target letter is s. a border town in southwest Arizona. We have had success in helping teachers facilitate educational play at home in several of our Early Reading First projects. The play itself reinforces these social skills. However. their peers will . cooperate. Using a dictionary. This is an engaging way to build school-age children’s vocabulary knowledge. unsupervised time at home. Roskos the game that focuses on phonics. These play activities need not be restricted to young children. they must learn to get along with others. they can suggest ways that parents can help children incorporate literacy into their dramatic play (e. children could search for objects in the house that start with the target letter. They have to learn how to enter into play with other children. Whereas educational play promotes academic learning.46 J. Wasserman’s battery play vignette. 3. Take. negotiate. nor assistance from an adult.3╇Free Play Free play occurs when children initiate a play activity. the official definition is read. and take turns. planning. Teachers can also give parents suggestions for types of play that build more general types of academic skills. the other players take turns making up definitions that might go with the word and vote on the best definition. players take turns finding a word that the other player will likely not be familiar with. free play offers opportunity for children to develop important social and physical skills. Free play is much more likely to occur at schools in outdoor settings during recess. appropriate items can be brought to school and shared with the class. the child might find soap.F. including ones located in inner-city Northeastern communities. soup. Our experience has been the parents readily see the value of these academically oriented play activities and are often eager to implement them with their children. with no guidance. scissors. by providing theme-related reading and writing materials). and how to share. We classified this as educational play because the teacher had carefully chosen the materials to provide an opportunity for children to discover scientific concepts about electricity. free play also is likely to occur. It is the element of self-initiation and spontaneity that distinguishes free play from educational play. If children play well. this type of free play is extremely rare in school classrooms. had the teacher simply provided the children time to explore a random assortment of materials without any academic outcomes in mind.. and on the Navajo Nation.

others will simply not play with them. Free play also fosters self-reliance. are selfish. This provides children with opportunities to develop physical skills and maintain fitness. While most early childhood programs still provide time for outdoor free play during recess. help parents understand why adult structured activities. Children have to make their own decisions about what they will do. With the ongoing epidemic of childhood obesity. etc. “over-programming” with numerous adult structured activities (team sports. teachers have teamed with parents in several school districts to reinstate recess periods that had been eliminated by administrators who were preoccupied with raising standardized test scores. When children go home from school. free play tends to be much more active than educational play. It is not uncommon for structured physical education classes to be the only opportunity that elementary-grade students have for outdoor exercise.3â•… Play with a Purpose: Creating Meaningful Environments … 47 continue to play with them and invite them to play in the future. are not the same as free play activity. dance classes. and self-reliance. In Phoenix. such as a . as we mentioned above. teachers can and help parents understand why a balance of structured and unstructured activities is needed. the intense focus on academic standards and accountability has made it very difficult for teachers to provide time for unstructured play in the classroom. In addition. “Coming to Terms”). This will. videogames. there are several formidable barriers to free play. There are several steps that teachers can take to promote free play at school and at home. both at school and at home. social development. 2009). If they break the rules. teachers need to educate parents about the important benefits of recess and free play (Hirsh-Pasek et€al. even at the preschool and kindergarten levels. or will not compromise. and cheerleading camps.). and the Web (Elkind 2007). If teachers can get support from parents. Finally. They should start by helping parents understand the characteristics of play (see section above. Teachers can also make suggestions for freeing up time for play. Adults are not hovering around to do this for them. First and foremost. Teacher can then acquaint parents with the important role free play can have in promoting physical fitness. such as organized sports. However. and the seductive lure of television. Arizona. The teachers alone were unable to counteract this trend. there is little or any opportunity for children to develop the social skills that can be learned in free play situations. it would appear that free play would be much easier for teachers and parents to encourage and support. Because these classes are tightly supervised. especially when it occurs outdoors. their opportunities for free play are often quite limited by protective parents who are afraid to allow their children to play outdoors. Teachers also need to acquaint parents with the value of free play at home. At school. tumbling lessons. At first glance. in turn. the parents mobilized and put enough pressure on the local school board to get recess back onto the daily school schedule. But when they brought the problem to parents’ attention and informed them of the many important benefits of recess. there has been a disturbing movement for the reduction or complete elimination of recess at the elementary and middle school levels. active free play is essential for children’s healthy development. they have a chance to roll back or counteract some of the barriers to free play at school.

(2011). on the other hand. J. perspectives. Washington. 318. P. Barnett. Comparing skills-focused and self-regulation focused preschool curricula: impacts on academic and self-regulatory skills. (2008). both at school and at home. New York: Oxford University Press. Johnson. References Baines. NJ: Pearson/ Merrill/Prentice Hall. Children’s games and playground activities in school and their role in development. S. (2007). As educators. we need to insure that children receive a “balanced diet” of both types of purposeful play. 41–46). provides children with opportunities to develop physical skills. C. Roskos. and early education. The oxford handbook of the development of play (pp. & Blachford. Kamii. Bateson.. (1998). DC: National Education Association. G. New York: Oxford University Press. New York: Allyn & Bacon. (2011). Christie and K. Play from birth to twelve: Contexts. P. S.. Educational play is a way to make academic activities enjoyable. .).. B. D. Primary arithmetic: The superiority of games over worksheets. The power of play: Learning what comes naturally. Fromberg & D. Play’s place in public education for young children (pp. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. 3.F. B. C.. In A. (2009). Theories of play. A. 1387–1388. (2011).. (1989). J. Pellegrini (Ed. Thomas. Young children reinvent arithmetic. 85–103). interesting. 409–415). Lonigan.A. Preschool program improves cognitive control.). K.). D. C. Bergen (Eds. New York: Garland. & Leong. The two types of play have distinct purposes. J. (1992). Golinkoff. Games with rules. Dimidjian (Ed. E. J. Free play. April). Tools of the mind (2nd ed. & Wardle. Pellegrini (Ed. F. & Phillips. Roskos regular “no-screen” period each day when television and computers are turned off and children have to figure out on their own how to entertain themselves. R. L. Upper Saddle River.).. The Oxford handbook of the development of play (pp. In A. Bodrova. Defining and recognizing play. we have discussed a number of strategies that teachers can use to promote educational play and free play. New York: Teachers College Press. Philadelphia: DeCapo Lifelong Books.. DeVries. (2007). Burghardt. Washington.).. In D. and meanings (pp. 2nd grade: Implications of piaget’s theory. Diamond. and engaging.. Science. DC.4╇Conclusions In this chapter.48 J. The oxford handbook of the development of play (pp. (2005). 9–18). W. social competence. A mandate for playful learning in preschool: Presenting the evidence. K. R. 260–273). Berk. and decision-making abilities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. New York: Oxford University Press. D.. Elkind.. & Lewis. Connecting academic work and play at school: Preliminary observations of young children’s content-oriented interactions and talk under conditions of play in kindergarten. development.). New Orleans. & Singer. In A. D. In V. Hirsh-Pasek. (1994. D. Paper presented at the Spring Conference of the Society for Research in Effective Education. Pellegrini (Ed. (2012). E. Christie. Play.. Kamii. & Munro.

Bishop-Josef (Eds. Boston: Pearson. C. 1–14).. & Enz. & Christie.). American Journal of Play. K.3â•… Play with a Purpose: Creating Meaningful Environments … 49 Roskos. including director of federal programs in the public schools and department chair in higher education. & Smith. 83–100). Chichester. (2010). & Genova.). & S. J. Helping young children learn language and literacy: Birth-kindergarten (3rd ed. Play under siege: A historical overview. Jolly. Play in the context of the new preschool basics. Roskos. Smith. Bruner.). (2010). Christie. West Sussex.. & Holding. Zigler. 289–297. Dr. Dr.. Simon.. & K. In J. New York: Teachers College Press. Play and its role in development and evolution (pp. 10. (1983). (1976). P. providing leadership in the design and implementation of P-12 reading policy and programs. A. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. (2000). 204–224. P. The play-literacy nexus and the importance of evidence-based techniques in the classroom. K. New York: Basic Books. For two years. Play and literacy in early childhood: Research from multiple perspectives (2nd ed. (2011). an elementary classroom teacher. Washington.. 4. Mahwah. Children and play. B. she directed the Ohio Literacy Initiative at the Ohio Department of Education. S.. Roskos╇ is a Professor at John Carroll University. The role of play in the problem-solving of children 3–5€years old..). teacher cognition. Singer.. Roskos & J. (2007).). 244–257). Wasserman.. Children’s play: The roots of reading (pp. Vukelich. and the design of professional education for teachers and has published research articles on these topics in leading journals. In K.. J. (2004). Roskos has served in a variety of educational administration roles. . 1. Sylva. Widman. Dr. Christie. S. UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. J. K. 55–96. P. DC: Zero to Three Press. Author Biography Kathleen A. Roskos teaches courses in reading instruction and reading diagnosis. (2012). Sylva (Eds. Roskos studies early literacy development and learning. The study of play and problem solving in preschool children: Have experimenter effects been responsible for previous results? British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Christie (Eds. Roskos. T. Bruner. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Three decades in: priming for metaanalysis in play-literacy research. J. In E. E. & Bishop-Josef. Formerly. & Christie... A. D. S. Serious players in the primary classroom: Empowering children through active learning experiences (2nd ed. K. J. Zigler.

Part II Childcare Policies in Changing Contexts .

This chapter attempts to describe the current state of affairs in our policy efforts. 4. particularly of married mothers. DOI © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. and to reflect on our challenges in establishing a better safety net for our children at risk. It is only in recent years that policymakers have turned to early childhood as a critical factor in children’s education. this rate has more than quadrupled by 2014. Whereas in 1960. The S. NEUMAN€(*)€ New York University. These are (1) expanding the number of available places in childcare. (2) improving the quality of early childhood education.Chapter 4 Describing the Early Childhood Policy Landscape in the USA Susan B. New Frontiers of Educational Research. and the relationship between care in community-based organizations and public schools.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_4 53 . The first is the dramatic rise in the number of women in the work force. New York. and (3) targeted versus universal funding for families.B. Expanding the number of places: The current move to expand the number of available places for childcare stems from several changes in American society. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. USA e-mail: sn1150@nyu. HUO et al.1╇Current Priorities in Early Childhood Education Three major priorities currently dominate the early childhood education and care policy arena in the USA (Zaslow and Martinez-Beck 2006).). USA is relatively new to the scene in early childhood education as a federal and state policy. one-fifth of mothers with a child under age six were employed. (eds. I then move to examine the major types of programs serving our young children and then offer recommendations for the future. NEUMAN Unlike many countries throughout the world. I briefly describe our current policy priorities. To do so.

This is true particularly for low-income families. However. and of stimulating and responsive learning environments for their children. The view is that a strong early start is a preventative measure: children who are likely to get help early on are the ones who will eventually not need special education services. the quality of services and standards varies greatly. Boston.000–10. now parents are required to work. Weiland and Yoshikawa 2013). and they are not affordable for large sections of the population. The survey found that in every state.B. in terms of federal and state support does not match these demands and requirements. early childhood is viewed as a worthwhile investment in order to ensure that a future workforce will have the necessary foundation skills. that figure has changed dramatically. more than half of all women are now returning to work with six months of having a child (Pianta et€al. what is an available.000 on average per child. services are not easily accessible across the nation. later school achievement. remediation. A second factor centers on our “welfare” legislation. In recent years. Hart and Risley (1995) showed that there is a 30-million word gap for those children who come from low-income circumstances compared to their more middle-class peers. Seen from this perspective. a significant new group of large-scale studies have shown strong initial evidence of effects as well (e.g. . The result of these studies and concerns is that parents of young children are in need—probably more than at any other time in the history of the USA—of reliable family support structures. poor children get poor programs (Barnett et€al. new knowledge about the development of the brain during the first few years of life have given impetus to a policy concern about the quality of the stimulation children receive in these early years. Generally too often. A third factor has been the growing interest in school readiness—both as a policy and as a costeffective measure (Heckman 2000). Whereas once a low-income parent could bear a child and stay home which receiving federal subsidies. and adult productivity in terms of income and earnings. For example. the average childcare tuition exceed 6. Oklahoma. 2005). In addition. for profit. A Children’s Defense Fund report surveyed childcare costs for 4-year olds in urban childcare centers (Children’s Defense Fund 2004). NEUMAN rise in the proportion of working mothers with children under age 3 has been even more dramatic. tuition for a single year at a public university was less than half what a parent would have to pay for childcare. A number of dated studies in 1980s and 1990s demonstrated links between early learning experiences. In 15 states. Additionally. Millions of children do not have access to early childhood care and education. the majority of working families with children from birth to 5€years paid about $74 per week for childcare. 2005. 2004). In 1993. Although private..54 S. and government subsidies. Without stimulation and active involvement with adult supports and parents. there is now very strong evidence that children experience a language and vocabulary “spurt” in the early years. Today. and in 17 states. Georgia) (Gormley et€al. Tennessee. those fees were even higher. With no mandated paid maternal or paternal leave. Poor families spent about 18€% of their income on childcare while other families spent only 7€% of their income. centers are available.

7 billion per year on programs that include Head Start and Child Care Subsidies. it was created as an anti-poverty program with a strong local and community base (e. Each of these systems has its own infrastructure. As a result. and days per year. there has been a substantial infusion of public funds in early childhood. Administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. 4. a child must be living in a family where the income is below the federal poverty line. days per week. serving children from birth to kindergarten in centers and private homes. Strikingly different than many other countries throughout the world.g. targeting very poor young children. there is considerable variation . Instead. primarily those ages 3–5 in the 2 years prior to school entrance. Three separate types of programs tend to operate alongside one another: (1) Head Start and Early Head Start. To be eligible to attend the program.000 children at a cost exceeding 8 billion dollars per year. and even its own standards. However. five days a week. many children are not served well or consistently throughout their early childhood years. its own goals and practices. and other services to low-income families and children. There is no national coordinated policy framework. offering pre-kindergarten classes on the basis of need. (2) independently financed programs.2╇The Landscape of Early Childhood The landscape of early childhood policy in the USA is a complicated one. often with programs that stand in competition to one another. and (3) the public school system..3.4â•… Describing the Early Childhood Policy … 55 4. Altogether. and intellectual growth. The program provides health. but also early intervention services for infants and toddlers and preschool special education for those in need. 4. The program focuses on the “whole child” philosophy—the view that children’s school readiness is enhanced through their social. outside of the education department or the school system). Most are 9-month programs. while these programs must all meet national Head Start Performance Standards. there is no “system” of early childhood education and care in the USA. and none of the 50 states across the country has yet to establish a coherent approach concerning early services for children under age five.3╇Types of Programs and Their Provisions In recent years. Annually. the federal government spends $21. Head Start may serve around 900. Programs vary in the number of hours per day. its own rules and regulations. the field of early childhood is highly fragmented.1╇Head Start Head Start is a federal government initial with a rich 45-year history. emotional. nutritional. Less than half of the children enrolled receive a full school day. social.

The first report. Although it shares the name of Head Start. which is center-based. However. a small pilot program called Early Head Start was created in order to reach low-income families (Raikes et€al.B. Nevertheless. 2006). The Head Start program has been considered to be the “jewel” of all early childhood programs in the USA. services for Early Head Start share multiple modes of service delivery. Colleagues Ramey and Ramey (2006). Each Head Start program is free to choose its own curriculum and assessments. the US Department of Health and Human Services in 1998 began a large-scale randomized control trial of the program. Although some modest effects on parenting. In a study that we conducted several years ago of 55 different classrooms (Wright and Neuman in press). recognizing that the program had not been subject to rigorous research. we noted that teacher’s language and vocabulary with children was low level. The evaluation included about 5.000 3. and children are provided with both home visiting and childcare. found some modest impacts on language development at the end of the Head Start year (Puma et€al. there has been a good deal of reflection on the reasons for these disappointing findings. It was based on the belief that earlier intervention could prevent development of the gap in the first place and provide earlier intervention than Head Start which begins at age 3. However. In fact. enabling poor children to be successful in school. and there was little effort to use cognitively challenging language. NEUMAN across programs. In short. found virtually no overall cognitive. once again. the Early Head Start program targets pregnant woman and families with infants and toddlers. published in 2010. the program has not fulfilled its promise to improve children’s school readiness. the most recent report. for example. 2010). As a result of these concerns. Participating children represented 383 centers around the country. In 1994. effects on child . social. Two detailed reports have now been published about the outcomes of this study. Unlike Head Start. Families receive counseling in the home. it really is quite different. These results are extremely troubling to those of us who work in poverty programs in the USA. published in 2005. a rigorous evaluation has produced findings consistent with its older sister. The study found that the learning gains of Head Start (and control children) in literacy and math were quite slow at ages 3 and 4 compared to rates of growth for the same children in kindergarten and first grade.56 S. there has been little reaction by policymakers to the 2010 longitudinal study report showing that virtually Head Start has no impact on children’s academic performance. Designed to reach low-income families before children fall behind. The curriculum is poor and teacher quality is low.and 4-year-old children. or emotional impacts at the end of the first grade. Many teachers lack a college degree. believe that far too many Head Start centers are ineffective because they are of such low quality. and they often come from poor neighborhoods themselves. Interestingly. making this the largest study ever conducted of Head Start. the Rameys have argued that the poor quality and lack of impact of Head Start have been widely known for many years and that a “culture of silence” about these shortcomings has grown up around the program to protect its funding.

Many of the centers that participate in this voucher system have minimal health and safety regulations. 8 toddlers). while only small effects were found for parent reported behavior problems and approaches to learning. there were no lasting effects for language or cognitive development. many childcare facilities. 4. from the perspectives of preparing low-income children to better succeed in kindergarten and beyond. yet children’s vocabulary scores only increased from the 10th ‰ to the 13th ‰. The program was initiated in the USA to help young parents get back to work or continue their schooling after having a young child. That sounds like a positive development. 4. at a center or family day care of their choice. This funding is given to the states to disperse to families in need.g.4â•… Describing the Early Childhood Policy … 57 development by the end of the program at age 3 were small in both absolute terms and relative to the gap with more advantaged children.5 billion in funding over 5 years was established to .3╇Home Visiting Home visiting is among the newest form of federal support for childcare. this legislation requires that low-income women engage in work within 2 years of claiming ‘public’ assistance. the percentage of parents who reported reading to their child every day at age three increased from 52 to 57€%. Unlike Head Start. parents can use these vouchers to support childcare. therefore.5 billion for children under age 5. reaching $6. they are allowed 4 babies. it is a large federal program. As part of changes to the welfare law for poor families.2╇Child Care Subsidies A second source of federal support comes in the form of subsidies or vouchers for childcare. As a result. although states may exempt woman with infants under the age of one from the work requirement. In short.3. To describe the magnitude of the effects.3. subsidized childcare contributes less to improving child development than does Early Head Start or Head Start. including both centers and family day care offered in the homes of women who run a small business. and very often does not even reach a “satisfactory level. do not provide an enriching educational experience for children. at age 5. Further.” There is even anecdotal evidence that this kind of childcare can be harmful to the child’s safety. Enacted by the Congress in 2010. Once again. 2002). Therefore. Despite the considerable amount of funding given to this program.. birth through age 5. Family day care is very prevalent in poor communities. $1. These childcare settings work out of someone’s home and are very difficult to regulate by the government. Early Head Start has been no more effective at improving children’s school readiness than was Head Start (Love et€al. there will be more than the regulated number of children in a woman’s home (e. routine subsidized childcare is at best modestly effective. In some cases.

and engaged many policymakers in promoting high-quality programs. Following the hour long session. smoking. to date. olds reported major gains in parent engagement. The visits continue throughout the pregnancy and. 4. alcohol consumption. For example. the Obama administration has placed an enormous energy and interest into early childhood education. beginning in the 1970s (Olds et€al. HIPPY is a program that helps parents read with their child. One of the most well-known home-visiting programs. leaving out more than 90€% of newborns. breast feeding. When necessary. Olds’ program sends trained nurses into the homes of disadvantaged mothers starting before the third trimester of pregnancy with their first child and provides guidance to the mother about prenatal care. initiated a home-visiting program. nutrition. Rigorous evaluation evidence will be critical to determine its potential for scale up. New York. in order to close the mismatches in program requirements that are often detrimental to parent involvement. A major characteristic of the program is that the mother develops a close relationship with the nurse—a respected authority figure—whose major goal is to help the mother make good choices in her personal life and for her baby. NEUMAN reach both parents and children.4╇Recommendations In recent years. Nevertheless. There are many different types of home-visiting programs (Neuman 2007). with decreasing frequency. the volunteer leaves a book with the parent so that they can practice the strategies of reading aloud. she might accompany the parent to the doctor’s office for the baby’s well-baby check and go grocery shopping with the parent to model healthy habits.58 S. He is trying to . and positive interactions with their children. In scaling these programs up to larger numbers of setting. Recently he created a program called the Early Learning Challenge Fund to help states coordinate their programs better. starting at a young age. and very well researched is the Nurse–Family Partnership program developed by David Olds in Elmira. work ethnic. through the first and second years of the baby’s life. employment. The trick will be to figure out ways to ensure that projects are implemented in a manner consistent with the program model they are following. there has not been much evidence indicating the long-term benefits of this approach. 2004). the program is expensive and targeted to the lowest income families. In two randomized controlled trials.B. The major purpose of this project would be to help states improve the quality of early childhood care and education programs in their state. However. The nurse will assist the parent in developing healthy habits and will help to establish attachment relationships between the parent and the child. Olds program is only available to first time mothers with income below poverty. and many other topics that are central to child development and care. He has expanded funding in all the early childhood programs. a major problem is related to maintaining their quality. Volunteers come to the family’s home and teach parents simple strategies for engaging children in book reading.

B.. Brooks-Gunn.S Department of Health and Human Services. J. 144–159.. Administration for Children and Families Final Report. E. Atwater. Olds. W. (2000). R. E.. Effects of nurse home-visiting on maternal life course and child development: Age 6 follow-up results of a randomized trial. & Barbarian. DC: Administration on Children.. 2–24. S. Constantine. D. classrooms. R. Neuman. Cook. In D. C. New York: Guilford. DC: U... II..4â•… Describing the Early Childhood Policy … 59 make the government deliver on its promise to help children from poor and minority families arrive on the doorstep of the public schools ready to learn. Puma. pp. Ramey. Schochet. Youth. DC: Children’s Defense Fund. C. M.. & Dawson. Baltimore. Handbook of early literacy research (Vol. R. References Barnett. B. MD: Brookes. S. Washington. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. NJ: NIEER. Gormley.. Washington. R. (1995). 16–21. The bottom line is that disadvantaged children are not achieving in the public schools as they should or could with proper help and preparation during the preschool years. (2004). Bell... Paulsell. D. D. rather we need to consider an ongoing data-collection process that allows us to see how programs in action are working to improve children’s opportunities. R. Educational Leadership. KSidora. 1550–1559. Ross. Changing the odds for children at risk. Raikes.. L. S.S. Gayer. Kitzman. J. Head start impact study. and Families. we have not changed the odds for children at risk. Pediatrics. B. The nation’s childcare programs have been shown to be of mediocre quality or even worse. Kisker. Making a difference in the lives of infants and toddlers and their families: The impacts of early head start. Green. B. D. & Heid. (2002). K.. Heckman. U. B. Department of Health and Human Services.. T. H. Efforts to dramatically improve federal early childhood programs will succeed only when they are tied to formative research and subsequent summative evaluation. 41(6).. Involvement in early head start home visiting services: Demographic predictors and relations to child and parent outcomes. J... 9(3). Features of pre-kindergarten programs. et€al. Neuman (Eds. The effects of universal pre-k on cognitive development. Meaningful differences. Early. T. Kisker.. & Ramey.... J. (2010). Dickinson & S. Developmental Psychology. Love. 872–884. Cole. (2004).).. Despite the significant investment. S. O. Long-term studies are not sufficient.. Brown. neither Early Head Start nor Head Start has delivered much in terms of improvement of children’s achievement. P. DC: Ounce of Prevention Fund. (2007). H. 65(2).. J. We also need continuous professional development that trains our teachers and engages them in considering how to challenge children in ways that are developmentally appropriate. The state of America’s children. Phillips. 445–459).. J. Brady-Smith. . & Shore. 114. Without these quality supports. W. (2004). disadvantaged children and their families will continue to be at risk. targeted debate: Should the United States have preschool for all? new brunswick.. Luckey. Clifford. However. D. K. & Chazan-Cohen.. 21. The universal Vs. and teachers: Do they predict observed classroom quality and child-teacher interactions? Applied Developmental Science. Early educational interventions: Principles of effective and sustained benefits from targeted early education programs. (2006). (2005). Washington. Children’s Defense Fund. Hart. Invest in the very young.. & Risley... C. Robinson. D. Bryant. executive summary. Washington.. R. Pianta. (2005). C. (2006).

& Neuman. 84(6). literacy. Baltimore. C. & Martinez-Beck. (Eds. H. S. (2006). language.. Critical issues in early childhood professional development. & Yoshikawa. Zaslow.60 S. 2112–2130. M. . I. T. Journal of Literacy Research.B.B.). (in press). MD: Brookes. and emotional skills. executive function. Impacts of a prekindergarten program on children’s mathematics. Paucity and disparity in oral vocabulary instruction in kindergarten.. (2013). NEUMAN Weiland.. Child Development. Wright.

In the past.Chapter 5 Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy Akiko Kimata and Yoshihide Kaneko 5. the Japanese central government has set great store in kindergarten education from a national strategic perspective. after all. childcare was a social benefit provided by the government. James Heckman. DOI 10.” This argument has had a strong impact on Japanese kindergarten education in recent years. Kimata€(*)€ Meisei University.1╇Preamble It can be said that it is common knowledge that kindergarten education plays a vital role in our life. In April 2015. So revised kindergarten education policy will blaze a new path. national policy has clearly identified the position of kindergarten education. Hiroshima University. New Frontiers of Educational Research. The Japanese government has set about designing and formulating this new kindergarten education system. HUO et al. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_5 61 . As stated above. In the summer of 2012.” which specifies the new development orientation of kindergarten education and childcare assistance (or necessary tendency). published a paper entitled “Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children” (Heckman 2006). suggesting that Early Childhood Education and Care can narrow the poverty gap. However. important in enhancing the economic status and life quality of the families where they have the disadvantaged children. however. substantial preparation commenced and entered into the phase for implementation.). professor from University of Chicago. so kindergarten education was deemed the private responsibility of each family and people lacked an awareness that it should be incorporated into government support. Hiroshima. in recent years. Japan © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. Hino-city. (eds. Tokyo. which pointed out that “Kindergarten education is. Kaneko€ Research Institute of Early Childhood Education (RIECE). the Japanese Diet passed the “Children-3 Corresponding Childcare Plans. A. Japan Y.

before finally leading to a major decision.2╇Features of Japanese Kindergarten Education 5. this issue has not been resolved. (2) reduce the number of children on waiting lists? (known as “Standby children” in Japanese) to increasingly bring more children into childcare.1╇Dual Childcare System: Kindergarten–Day Nursery Japanese preschool education–childcare is provided by the kindergarten system and the day nursery system. As a result. (2) Children–Childcare Assistance Plan. The problem is that the kindergarten system comes under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Education. Yet in recent years. therefore. and so administrative authorities differ.” which focuses on three aspects of the implementation of the new plan. and was legally enacted. and so in Japan. this paper will use the term “childcare” for kindergarten education. and Technology. and . Culture.. but the day nursery comes under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Health. Japan implemented the “Education– Childcare New System” fully covering the childhood in 2015. This “dual” system has been frequently discussed with a focus on the “childcare unification (integration)” problem. On the other hand. nursery care and kindergarten education are equally shortened to “childcare. respectively. “Children–Childcare New Plan” was changed to “Children–Childcare Assistance Plan” and then partially revised and published based on the original contents. Early Childhood Education and Care refers to the integration of education and nursing. nurseries have evolved to resemble kindergartens more. Labor. however. Kimata and Y. There is a difference in day-to-day operations. and the government changed its democratic regime to the Liberal Democratic Party-Koizumi Regime. and also to strengthen regional assistance to children.62 A. This paper will present a discussion of the targets of the new plan and future expectations associated with the development of the Japanese kindergarten education policy. The Cabinet Office also prepared a paper entitled “Children–Childcare Assistance Plan. yet even up to now. and Welfare. Science. Japan underwent regime changes.” As discussed below. In addition. the Japanese kindergarten education policy went through many years’ discussion and debate. Kaneko The corresponding three plans are entitled: (1) Reform-Kindergarten Identification Plan. it is hard to unite the two systems. 5. they can each be interpreted as an integral part. and (3) increase childcare consultation and temporary nurseries.2. and (3) Relevant legal supplementary Act. etc. It is evident that it was well prepared in terms of time and subject matter. As mentioned above. thus adding another chapter to the new plan. This act was recognized by the House of Representatives and the Senate in June 26 and August 10. kindergarten education–childcare is classified into “kindergarten education” and “children welfare” for administrative purposes. (1) Providing high-quality kindergarten education–childcare (to promote a “nintei-kodomoen” (center for Early Childhood Education and Care)).

5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy


have become more like nurseries. The nursing and care of children
has been gradually been incorporated leading to a system which supports an integrated policy.
The Japanese kindergarten education–childcare started with the kindergarten at
Tokyo Women’s Normal School set up in the early Meiji Period. As the kindergarten system developed, a childcare system focusing on the concept of children’s
welfare began in the same era with the establishment of a day nursery at Niigata
school in 1890.
Notwithstanding this, in the 1940s, nurseries and kindergartens shared a similar approach. In 1951, the “Children Welfare Act” was revised, which clearly
identified the policy differences the day nursery and the kindergarten put simply;
the difference lies in the notion of the nursery as a place to take care of children
“lacking the proper care,” whereas the care of children at kindergarten was undertaken by the family. In 1963, “Relations between Kindergarten and Day Nursery”
(Notification) was announced, which clearly identified the two separate purposes
and functions. At that time, housewives played a vital role in childrearing, so it
was regarded as a comparatively rational system.
After the 1990s, the “childcare integration” argument could be mainly summarized as follows:
)>>(a))>> Changes to the dual administration to overcome the separate administrative
)>>(b))>> Transcends the regional unevenness between the nursery and kindergarten so
that children should be equally provided with care and kindergarten education;
)>>(c))>> The urbanization and smaller family model (nuclear family trend) and the
declining birthrate process have rendered regional Early Childhood Education
and Care inadequate. In view of the current situation where all children “lack
nursing and care,” it is necessary to integrate the childcare service.

5.2.2╇Basic Popularization of 4- to 5-Year Childcare
In general, childcare is accessible to all 4- to 5-year children in Japan. Despite the
difference in curriculum for different children, the rate of enrollment at kindergartens and nurseries (recognized nursery or licensed nursery) has reached more than
95€% (Fig.€5.1).

5.3╇Weaker Care Force for Low-Age Children
Childcare for 4- to 5-year children has been widely publicized, but in contrast, the data
above show that the enrollment rate for young children (aged at 0–3€years old) remains
very low, while the enrollment rate for 3-year-old children is no more than 80€%.


A. Kimata and Y. Kaneko

Fig.€5.1╇╖Utilization ratio of preschool children in 1999 and 2009. (Source Nobe 2010, p. 2).
Note (1) In some cases, the total does not add up to 100€%. (2) The data in 1999 are based on
1. Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, Social Welfare Administration Work Report, 1999,
p. 364. 2. Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology, School Basic Survey
Report, 1999, pp. 474–475. 3. Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Population
Estimate Data (Population Estimate Annual Repot), No. 71, May 1999, p. 20 and No. 72,
May 2000, p. 20. (3) The data in 2009 are based on 1. Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare,
Welfare Administration Report Illustration (Approximate Number in 2009), http://www.mhlw., 2. Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology, School
Basic Survey Report in 2009, General Counter of Government Statistics, http://www.e-stat., 3. Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Population
Estimate Data (Population Estimate Annual Repot), No. 82, June 2009, p. 16, 4. Ministry of
Health, Labor, and Welfare, Population Movement Statistics Monthly Report (Approximate number), 64(3), August 2009, p. 4. (4) “Family, etc.,” includes non-approval nursery, the nursery care
in kindergarten, and family childcare business

Many parents hope that their 0–3 year children can be well cared for, yet many
children fail to comply with the conditions or qualification set forth by the nursery
and kindergarten due to different demands and the strict conditions. As a result,
there are a lot of children (standby children in Japanese) who cannot access suitable childcare. This is a problem which has yet to be solved.
In 1991, the Ministry of Health and Welfare gave the following targets in its
survey report, specifying its goal as “rejuvenating kindergarten education” to
“popular 3-year childcare” in an attempt to ensure “all 3–5€year children can
have access to a kindergarten education”. In 2006 “Kindergarten Education
Rejuvenation Action Program” (2006–2010) stated that, “we will ensure that all
children aged at 3–5€years old in need of kindergarten education will have equal
opportunities to access kindergarten education.” The aim was that the facilities of kindergartens, nurseries, and nintei-kodomoen could be fully utilized to
ensure childcare for 3-year-old children. At that time, the program clearly specified that “children aged 3€years old” can be admitted into the kindergarten on their
birthday, which makes it quite similar to the nursery practice in terms of the age
This way 3-year-old children can be entitled to the kindergarten education.

5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy


The number of 3-year old children is increasing year and year (Fig. 5.3).
Private kindergartens are accepting most of 3-year old children (Fig. 5.4).
Two-year-old children are not eligible to attend kindergartens. However,
demand for places for 0- to 2-year-old kids is on the rise year by year, which can
be obviously seen from the number of children on the waiting list. As nurseries
can barely meet the current demand, the issue of finding places for young children
has become a major topic of discussion in Japan.

Fig.€5.2╇╖The 2-year-old and 3-year-old children acceptance situation. (Source Benesse Institute
for the Development of Next Generation 2007.) Note (1) No answer or uncertain answer samples
are excluded. (2) The result is totalized as: if the kindergarten accepts both 2-year-olds and 3-yearolds, it is put into the category of “both 2-year-old children and 3-year-old children are accepted”;
if the kindergarten only accepts 2-year-olds but not accepts 3-year-olds, it is put into the category
of “2-year-old children are accepted”; if the kindergarten accepts 3-year-olds but does not accept
2-year-olds, it is put into “3-year-old children are accepted”; if the kindergarten accepts neither
2-year-olds nor 3-year-olds, it is put into the category of “neither 2-year-old children nor 3-yearold children are not accepted.” (3) In () is a sample figure (the following are same)

Fig.€5.3╇╖The aging comparison between total number of kindergartens nationwide and 3-yearold children (Form School Basic Research). (Source Satoki 2011, p. 26)

The OECD emphasizes that “kids should be constantly exposed to an education curriculum which strongly integrates the kindergarten and nursery. before identifying weak aspects of the Japanese kindergarten education.€5. 2001. Firstly. Kimata and Y.€5. what changes have kindergartens undergone? Nowadays.4╇╖The aging comparison between total number of children in private kindergartens and 3-year-old children. p. kindergartens are confronted with a comparatively difficult situation as the number .4. the Japanese kindergarten education has adopted a dual system resulting in uneven development. By the end of 2005. this figure had not decreased at all. In recent years.” Professionals and scholars in Japan believe that ongoing discussions over the problem of integrating kindergartens and nurseries are the main reason the issue of “standby children” remains unsolved (Fig. In 2001. we introduce a global comparison of OECD internationalization.031 kids. initial comparative data about “standby children” were released: By April 1. as illustrated in the table. with changes in social circumstances. yet it had climbed steadily again by 2012. Kaneko Fig. (Source Satoki 2011. the number of the standby children had reached 21.66 A. After 2005. this figure dropped somewhat for a short while.. the problem of standby children remained unsolved. particularly the increase of female employment and the expanding gap in incomes etc. Although the quantity of nurseries and the number of children entering nurseries increased each year.4╇Reflection on Kindergarten Education System 5.5). the pressing problem is how to safeguard fair and high-quality education to young children. 26) 5. On the other hand.1╇To Provide All Preschool Children with Equal Educational Opportunities As stated above.

(Source Ministry of Health. Japanese kindergarten education is likely to fall apart. whether they will have a longtime need for this kind of nursing and care. so there are many kindergartens compelled to close down due to low student numbers. there appear to be more and more families deprived of options due to their household’s economic condition. the economic gas leaves a larger and large cry. Females failing to work outside due to ‘no options for childcare’ make up more than a half of the total number of housewives” (JILPT 2012). . Japanese children (under 18€years old) living in poverty reached 14. The nursing and care service includes the service rendered separately by the kindergarten and the nursery. whether they are willing to accept toddlers and secondly.9€%. “comparative poverty of full-time housewives is 12. Although there is room for flexibility and choice. etc. In the modern child nursing and care 000002khid. (April 1st. thus driving more and more kids out of the kindergartens. which highlights such a problem as “child poverty” According to UNICEF statistics. parents tend to choose a kindergarten for their children based on two separate considerations: Firstly. So there are comparatively wealthy housewives and also housewives living in poverty.5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy 67 Fig. 4€% higher than ‘part-time’ housewives. Nursery Related Summary. 2012) http://www. it rated 27 out of 35 developed countries.€5.5╇╖Increasing trend of standby children for nursery.mhlw.go. If the above issue cannot be properly solved.4.html) of children enrolling continues to drop. One survey indicates that. However. yet some full-time housewives have to go out for a job due to various reasons. Labor and Welfare. in 2009. and even the unauthorized nurseries and babyshitters.

Labor. (Source Ministry of Health.7€% (Fig. Kimata and Y.2€%) (according to 2009 OECD survey data).mhlw. it is essential to ensure all children have equal and low-priced access to kindergarten education.7). To prevent the further rise of children in poverty. OECD survey results show that: (1) The childcare and nursing fees for each 5-year-old child given by the Japanese government is lower than that of other OECD countries. Therefore.€5. (4) Household members of equivalent disposable income amount unknown are excluded Moreover. and Welfare in 2010 indicated that the children poverty has risen by 15. the national life basic survey data published by the Ministry of Health.6╇╖Relative poverty rate and poverty rate of children.€5.68 A. Take 4-year-old children for example: The rate remains at 84. However. far more than the OECD average rate of (71.4€%. Labor and Welfare. So what is the current situation? As stated above. (3) It is said that adult is over 18 year old.€ k-tyosa/k-tyosa10/index. and working generation is above 18 under 65 year old. The above survey shows that Japanese kindergarten education depends on each family to a considerable extent.8).6). changes to the current system are essential if all children are to reach their maximum potential (Fig. Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions€2010. child is under 17 year old.go. . but the proportion borne by the government is lower than the other OECD countries (Fig. the kindergarten admission rate and the number of registered children at the nursery remain comparatively high in Japan.html) Note (1) Hyogo is excluded in Figures€1994. http://www. each family is heavily burdened with education fees. Kaneko Fig. with the exception of Korea and (2) more than half of the preschool education cost is borne by families.€5. (2) The poverty rate is calculated on the basic standards of OECD.

The kindergarten education essentials lie in the new curriculum (in 2008). .8╇╖Each country’s public expenditure on preschool education. (2) According to the percentage of the median household income of working generation. which targets on children over 3 years old. (Source OECD report 2010. which was initially implemented in 2011 (Fig.5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy 69 Fig. (Source OECD report 2010).7╇╖Childcare per child public expenditure on education.4. 5). Note Based on data 2006. p. p.€5.9). Note (1) Childcare per 5-year-olds proportion of public expenditure related to education. Based on data 2003 Fig. 5 5.€5.€5.2╇Implementation of the New National Curriculum and Two Major “Joint Cooperation Continuities” Currently. the Japanese education policy is being developed in line with the new national curriculum and being strictly implemented in all school grades.

(Source Ministry of Education.. (7))>> Guide and cultivate a strong mentality and a healthy physique. (6))>> Enhance interest in learning and cultivate learning habits. Kimata and Y. (4))>> Cultivate and train thinking ability. Kaneko Fig. New course of study implementation schedule (overview) http://www. judgment and expressive force. detailed in the following 7 aspects: (1))>> Implement it according to the revised educational basic law. (5))>> Ensure sufficient lecture time to guarantee necessary learning capacity.go.. (3))>> Learn basic rudiments and skills.€5. etc. (2))>> Share the concept of “viability”. Culture. Science and etc.9╇╖New course of study implementation schedule (Overview).mext. .70 A.pdf) The central education initial report seeks the improvement of the orientation of the guidelines for all school grades.

5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy 71 In view of the above guidelines. namely “entrusted childcare” will supplement educational activity. connection between primary school and families. Science. it is required to elementary schools discuss the new semester curriculum. it is necessary to strengthen cooperation between primary schools and kindergartens. and spirit independence) of childhood (in the lower grades) after the end of the kindergarten education. it is necessary to ensure continuity of development and learning and the connection of kindergarten life and the family life. life independence. which can all be conducted based on combined lessons for better teacher performances. we conduct further analysis of issues that may affect kindergarten education. Next. . painting. (2) “education activities after the end of the teaching hours as provided by the education curriculum”. music lessons. revision of kindergarten education essentials focuses on the following points: (1))>>In terms of kindergarten education. Additionally. it is necessary to be connected with the primary school. Sports.” that is. nurseries. Ministry of Education. it is necessary to identify the activity contents and their significance. According to the children’s growth environment and the social changes in the past few years to promote the children’s healthy growth through a well-scheduled and well-constructed situation.” First of all.” This association seeks to conduct research into the development and learning continuity of students from the kindergarten and nursery to the primary school and how the education method maintains this continuity. In view of the learning guidance essentials. (2))>> In view of after school activities as provided by the Childcare Assistance Plan and the education curriculum. requiring a childcare quality standard. students transition easily to school life after their completion of the kindergarten or nursery learning using a cooperative model. in the life lesson. This report has pointed out the importance of cultivating the “three independences” (learning independence. this time attention was particularly paid to the correction of the learning guidance essentials of the primary schools. and Technology (MEXT) has set up the “Research Collaborators’ Association to facilitate connections between preschool education and primary school education. Culture. in the new learning guidance essentials. which can be closely connected with their national language lessons. Although the relevant contents were promoted in the past. and nintei-kodomoen. etc. Introducing a primary school “life class” allowed more exchange with neighboring kindergartens or nurseries to increase cooperation. namely “the connection of the kindergarten–childcare–primary school education. To be more specific. and drawing lessons. School activities should reflect practical and pertinent contents. This basic guidance clearly orientates future kindergarten education toward the two necessary “joint cooperation continuities”: (1) “continuity of development and learning” and “the life continuity. etc. With regard to 1st graders in a primary school. students are organized for adventure learning activities and children learn how to describe things they have learned to give full scope to their expressive capability.

Kimata and Y. The most important point of nursery childcare is the fact that previously. the director general would issue any notices.1╇Nintei-Kodomoen Nintei-kodomoen refers to a preschool facility which integrates education and assistance with childcare. . we can predict the connection of education activities between the kindergarten education and the primary school education to achieve a smooth transition” (MEXT 2010). Kaneko It also pointed out that. In conclusion. but now. “in view of the connections with other human beings or with materials or specific objects. nursery. it is better to formulate a teaching curriculum in conjunction with kindergarten. the nursery has increased its original nursing function and clarified the education functions of the nursery. This is of great importance. the nursery childcare guidance and kindergarten education essentials have been simultaneously revised (in August 2008). This means that childcare guidance has been elevated to the same level as kindergarten education essentials.3╇Exploring Future Development Models Beyond the Current Childcare Framework In summary. are now the childcare five fields covered by the kindergarten education. how to transcend the childcare framework has become a central topic for childcare policy in recent years. in kindergarten education. put simply. The previous kindergarten education conducted by the nursery is officially redefined this time? One can assume that there are more and more overlapping functions mutually shared by the kindergarten and the nursery. The so-called education functions. It also recognizes licensing from the prefectural government.4. in order to achieve a smooth transition to primary school.3. With this change. it is the minister of welfare who does this. and primary school education. we now shift our attention onto viewpoint of the day nursery system. A child can be enrolled at the garden no matter what the employment status of his or her parents. 5. The previous discussion mainly focused on two models: one promoting the rearrangement of nintei-kodomoen and the other promoting the childcare assistance program [particularly to promote the work of the kindergartens (entrusted childcare) and the regional childcare assistance centers]. games and physical experiences that facilitate multiple activities and models cultivate students’ emotions and encourage their curiosity and desire to explore (MEXT and MHLW 2009). Programmers need to be devoted to discussing and mutually preparing the relevant teaching curriculum (Yokoi 2011). That is to say those.72 A. 5. In terms of nurseries. Following on from this discussion of preschool education policy.4.

” “kindergarten model. there were 911 nintei-kodomoen and an increase of 149 gardens over the same period. However. These are issues which require attention. to preschool kids” promulgated in 2006. It is vital to identify the supporting foundations for the nursery. the relevant act was adopted. In 1995.” “nursery model. . as “regional preschool education centers. 2012. In 1994. Initial targets predicted that there would be 2000 children gardens by 2012. it would favor the nursing and care cooperation model.5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy 73 Nintei-kodomoen are set up according to “the relevant laws concerning the provision of the comprehensive education and childcare. (e. which was followed by the cancellation of the proposal for Comprehensive kodomoen and “Family Management Ministry. and local).. This represented an initial plan for the central ministries to set up a “Family Management Ministry. parents are faced with an uncertain childcare environment and rising isolation. The Cabinet Office officially issued “how to identify the development trend of nintei-kodomoen in the future (a report of a discussion over the relevant identification of the ninteikodomoen system).. Nintei-kodomoen are composed of four models. local tax assistance measures were initiated to promote the regional kindergarten program at all levels (municipal. thus achieving consensus toward the new system. the opposition party did not support this aim. the kindergarten education essentials aimed to further substantiate the contents of the childcare assistance.” In June 2007.” which discussed how to transform the current kindergartens and nurseries into “comprehensive children gardens” and achieve unified management. kindergartens. A continuing issue is the complicated duel administrative procedures and the minimal financial support. The democratic government prior to 2012 published an initial plan entitled “Children–Childcare New System. respectively.” which pointed out. in 2012. By April 1. and kindergartens which are engaged in the childcare assistance program. the situation still remains stagnant.” As stated above.” will give full scope to its facilities.” with a variety of teaching contents. In March 2008. there was a change of government. regional. release its functions. and devote themselves to the childcare assistance activities. “nursing and care cooperation model. but thus far.” In December of the same year.g. 5. the School Education Act was revised and the childcare assistance was redefined to bring the kindergartens into line. and it was expected that the new government would maintain the practice of the old government.2╇Childcare Assistance Program and “Entrusted Childcare” With changes in social conditions.” and “local government supported model. the declining birthrate and nuclear families). regional childcare centers. In view of the above considerations. measures for sponsoring the private schools were advocated to cater for private kindergartens under “Childcare Assistance Activity to Promote kindergartens. among the four models.3. etc.4.

thus rendering it inefficient in terms of performance and making procedures very complicated. (Source Ministry of Education. it only increased by 19.4€% (Fig.€5. though these measures are equally devoted to infancy and childhood education.74 A.10╇╖Implementation rate of entrusted childcare. On the other hand. Science and Technology. all relevant measures were put into operation to substantiate education–nursing of children in infancy or childhood. The government has initiated a policy to cater for the “entrusted childcare promotional program” for private kindergartens in 1997. However. they are administered from different ministries. Kaneko Fig.€5. p. It can be said that these complaints and inconsistencies generate strong support for the “Children–Childcare New System” and “Children–Childcare Assistance System” introduced in recent years.4€% on the whole. about 30€% private kindergartens had “entrusted childcare”. and in 2010. Culture. 21) The kindergarten’s “entrusted childcare” is promoted in parallel with the work of the regional childcare assistance center.10).” As early as 1993. In June 2007. the School Education Act was revised to redefine the entrusted childcare from a legal perspective. however. in recent years.5╇Implementation of “Children–Childcare Assistance System” As stated above. Kimata and Y. 2010 Early Childhood Education Survey. it had increased by 75. “kindergarten education essentials” underwent a revision in 1998 in line with a phase highly featuring “educational after school activities. . 5.

etc. Table€5.5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy 75 However. in view of the integration of childcare and nursing.” or “expense burden integration.” entailing further analysis of relevant polices according to specific work contents. With this change in the percentage of VAT. These mainly relate to “education–childcare content integration. In addition.5 trillion yen. concepts about “integration” and “unitary system” have become very vague as they have various interpretations and applications. and the significance of integration.) Formulating a survey of the potential childcare demand Consumption tax will be increased by 8€% City.1). 5.” “administrative management integration. the Japanese government estimates that tax revenue will increase by about 13.6╇Plan Implementation The already issued “Children–Childcare Assistance System” will be therefore scheduled for implementation after 2015. It will be financially supported by increasing the level of consumption VAT increased from 5 to 10€%. and village level Setting up the preparatory organizations to integrate the relevant departments Setting up the local “children–nursing association” Survey of the potential childcare demand Formulating “Children–Childcare Assistance Plan” One-station reception and inquiry and handling service (The consumption tax will be increased by 10€% as from October) The new system will be officially implemented Based on data and materials published by the Japanese government . this policy should be regarded from the perspective of ensuring quality education. contents related to the new system will be discussed in view of aspects of “Children–Childcare Assistance New System. with 700 billion yen of this new tax yield earmarked for the expansion of the “Children–Childcare Assistance System” (Table€5.” plan implementation. Next.” “facilities integration. town.1╇╖Schedule program In 2012 In 2013 In 2014 In 2015 National level Formulating “children–childcare corresponding three plans” Cabinet office sets the preparatory office in charge of implementing the new system Setting “children–nursing association” (discussion on the basic guidelines to approve the basic standards and the necessary identification standards for childcare.

and (3) substantiate regional children-childcare assistance (improve family support and regional childcare assistance sites) (see Table€5.” which has become an economic burden for families.000 nurseries – 637 cities. yet most importantly. It has been changed so that “working staff and facilities will be directly contracted. and villages – . Kaneko 76 The major highlights of the new system are as follows: Many specific items or clauses were modified or revised during the period from 2012 to 2013. Meanwhile. (2) metal use of nintei-kodomoen. The government emphasizes three main aspects of the policy in order to support the new system and to archive their targets: (1) to improve the center for Early Childhood Education and Care system (improve cooperation between childcare centers. can be transformed cooperative nintei-kodomoen. towns.” but reception and inquiry functions for admission into the nursery remain unchanged.05 million kids) By the end of 2017 44€% (1. and village levels. This will also lead to more choice for parents.22 million kids) 7. retains the operational model for the kindergarten. and nintei-kodomoen. etc. the new system.2╇╖Examples of the targets of new system Enrollment rate for nursery for children under 3€years old Increase in regional childcare support sites Family assistance centers utility In 2012 27€% (0.2). Kimata and Y. and they are brought under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet Office. while the collection of childcare fees remains unchanged. nursery.A. Table€5. and villages will be liable for implementation. in essence. the system for establishing the nintei-kodomoen was adjusted to achieve the licensing–guidance–monitoring integration in order to implement the new “childcare cooperation model center. It is expected that it will form the basis of this newly diversified preschool education–childcare assistance service system. As a result.).” On the other hand. kindergarten. the procedures for admission to the nursery were simplified compared to previous procedures for the city. Cities. and villages 950 cities.555 nurseries 10. The implementation of the childcare policy follows the “from Cabinet Office to City–Town–Village” flow. If the model of “entrusted childcare. and nurseries facilities (“supply of facilities”) and the supply of the small-scale childcare (regional childcare supply).86 million kids) By the end of 2014 35€% (1. towns. towns. town. it was revised to the effect that joint-stock corporations were not allowed to participate in the establishment of comprehensive kodomoen. effective childcare assistance can be realized.

5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy


5.6.1╇Significance of Integration and the Theme
On the occasion of the implementation of the new system, discussion around
“Unified Administration” was shaken. Although a new ministry was ultimately
established, it is, appropriately, the Cabinet Office that will make a decision over
the comprehensive discussion of the children-childcare problem.
Additionally, in using the nintei-kodomoen, kindergarten, nursery, or smallscale nursing, integration of childcare assistance supply has been achieved.
It can be said that the “facilities integration” strongly advocated by the previous
government fell flat. However, the complicated kindergarten work around kindergartens was completed, and the number of the application for the future ninteikodomoen will increase accordingly.
Issues confronting the new system are mainly involved with the following three
aspects: (1) welfare policy to maintain the government’s responsibilities; (2) the
promotion of the decentralization and unified cancellation and merger; and (3)
childcare diversification and quality guarantee.
(1))>> In terms of welfare policy to maintain the government’s responsibilities, the
greatest concern lies in the responsibility for nursery childcare at the city,
town, and village level. In the present stage, the childcare implementation
obligations of the city, town, and village are maintained. However, any special implementation methods for the responsibility at the city, town, and village level and “the necessary identification of child care” are not afforded in
the small-scale childcare contracts. With this change, small-scale childcare
become part of “regional supply,” yet the small-scale childcare family care,
house visit care, office care, etc., will be incorporated into the new system to
reduce the number of “standby children.” This is naturally causing the uneasiness about reduce government liabilities.
(2))>>The promotion of decentralization and unified cancellation and merger:
Cities, towns, and villages have become the major players for the implementation of the Early Childhood Education and Care and the main supply bodies,
thus accelerating the pace of decentralization. Incentive measures should be
implemented to promote the establishment of local versions of the “childrenchildcare” association, but in deciding regional policy, can the opinions of all
parties concerned really be heard? We are afraid that this is likely to accelerate
the privatization of more public kindergartens.
(3))>> Childcare diversification and quality guarantee: In view of the main conditions for establishing the authorized nurseries, restrictions have been gradually
eased. But after the implementation of the new system, alternative childcare
services will be widely available, so how quality of education–childcare is
guaranteed? This needs to be based on the establishment of an identification
and appraisal system.
Currently, there is little information about the new system. The numbers of topics
under discussion are, in fact, quite significant.


A. Kimata and Y. Kaneko

5.7╇The Future Children Education Policy
and Children Education Study
In view of recent years’ trend toward children education policy, particularly the
process for formulating “Children–Childcare Assistance New System,” it appears
that the government is uncertain about their responsibilities in the field of childhood education. Diversification of children’s education is unavoidable, yet a rash
delivery of “choices” to parents will result in deprivation of the children in the
most need. It is important that families’ economic circumstances do not affect the
right of all children to have equal opportunity to the quality childcare services.
Through the children education study, researchers find it necessary to stand up
for the childcare practitioners. To be more specific, merger under way needs to
incorporate requirements which guarantee the quality of childcare environments
(equipment and facilities, scale, nurses and ratio of children, the employment
rate of the full-time nurses, the ideal work system and further study opportunities, etc.). Empathic research can provide an objective foundation for discussion
regarding the regional policy decision-making process. Researchers should have a
greater role to play in these discussions.
Meanwhile, in terms of families, it is necessary to instill in children a sense of
their rights, particularly right to learn. This will support children’s development
and their choices which is of lifelong value.
Last but not least, in view of child education policy, three major argumentations
concerning “ensuring high-caliber nursing staff”, “external appraisal of children
education,” and “remunerative children education” are drawing attention.
First of all, in view of “ensuring high-caliber nursing staff,” large numbers of
nurseries have been set up in recent years with a fixed number of staff members,
yet the shortage of nurses has become a major issue. The shortage of teachers in
the kindergartens has also become more and more serious, particularly with the
increase of entrusted childcare (kindergartens) and extended child care (nurseries).
Nursing staff are faced with a tough labor environment coupled with an average
salary and work conditions which calls for urgent improvement to the system. On
the other hand, after the implementation of the new system, it is predicted that
staff will be required to hold both a kindergarten education qualification and a
nursing staff qualification (or an equivalent qualification). Currently, training
schools can basically offer the opportunity to obtain the two required certificates;
however, 20–30€% of the kindergarten and nursery staffs have only one qualification. The data refer only to full-time staff, but as the number of part-time staff
in private kindergartens is increasing, these statistics would increase if these staff
were included in the data (Table€5.3).
Firstly, to encourage staff to obtain the above qualifications, attention should
be paid to current practice. For example, to ensure staff qualifications (nurse
qualification certificate) of the centers for Early Childhood Education and Care,
such contents are under discussion as to “promote the simultaneous acquisition of the requirement licenses and qualification to appraise the nursery or the

5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy


Table€5.3╇╖Kindergarten education qualification certificate and nurse qualification certificate

Day nursery

Current situation
(70,843 persons/94,933 persons)
(Note 1)
(223,806 persons/296,007 persons)
(Note 3)

Graduates (employees)
80€% (estimated)
(7,545 persons/9,465 persons)
(Note 2)
(30,328 persons/34,965 persons)
(Note 4)

Note (1) The proportion of the qualified nurses in the full-time kindergarten (including master
of the kindergarten) (2011, surveyed by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and
Technology) (2) proportion of staff with a nurse qualification certificate among kindergarten
teaching staff (estimated). The 2011 school teaching staff statistic survey report of the working
staff in kindergartens. Data of the staff with a nurse qualification certificate following graduation from designated nurse training facilities are based on the survey conducted by Ministry
of Health, Labor, and Welfare (in 2011) (3) the proportion of kindergarten education certificate
holders among nursing staff out of the full-time approved nurseries (October 2011, based on a
survey conducted by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) (4) data of staff with a nurse qualification certificate and also with a kindergarten education certificates and who graduated from a
designated nurse training facilities are based on a survey conducted by Ministry of Health, Labor,
and Welfare (in 2011)

kindergarten work experience and reduce the number of the working staff without
the required licenses and qualification” (in reference to the report of “Promotion
and Population of Centers for Early Childhood Education and Care” prepared by
Childcare Cooperation Promotion Office under MEXT and MHLW)?
Secondly, it is important to look at the external appraisal of children’s education. In June 2007, the School Education Act was revised, and in October the
same year, the implementation measures for the School Education Act redefined
the relevant regulations concerning the implementation, openness, and appraisal
of the report’s results in relation to relevant staff. Kindergartens began to implement the compulsory self-evaluation in 2009 and also began the implementation
of the obligatory external appraisal. The “kindergarten school appraisal guideline” was released in March 2008 and revised in 2011 following discussion of
the “kindergarten school appraisal promotion survey cooperator association.”
External appraisals of welfare facilities in nurseries have become the obligations
of third-party institutions. However, in terms of external appraisal of kindergartens, the above guideline states that the appraisal could be divided into two separate phases: “relevant staff appraisal within the kindergarten” and “third-party
appraisal,” respectively. Due to the features of kindergarten education, it is necessary to give more attention to third-party appraisal objective values and written
materials; therefore, private kindergartens were not incorporated into the external
appraisal system. As a result, “relevant staff appraisal within the kindergarten” is
widely promoted and conducted by an appraisal committee composed of relevant
staff in the region. There are different appraisal methods available, including public childcare external appraisal and appraisal based on childcare records as well as
appraisal methods which foster staff enthusiasm.

Heckman. Kimata and Y. The future trends of the gratuitous early childhood education will draw more attention. (2006). It explores recent developments in childcare and outlines the themes related to the “Children–Childcare Assistance System” and future policies. Acknowledgmentsâ•… I would like to express the deepest appreciation to Yoshihide Kaneko at Hiroshima University for his valuable comments and suggestions. (2007). 5.pdf. 1900–1902.go. The first basic survey of early childhood care and education. 312(5782). These repeatedly discussed themes were finally outlined. (2010). At present. http://www. J. The necessary situation of the smooth connection between the kindergarten education and the primary school education (report).mhlw. This attention will help to guarantee the best result for Japanese children. our research into children’s education research will come to play a more and more important role. Science. Labor. Sports.pdf.jil. Science and Technology & Ministry of Health. yet it represents considerable progress. Kaneko Finally. JILPT (The Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training).go. http://www. References Benesse Institute for the Development of Next h0319-1a. Culture.80 A. (2012). the education rebuilding council of the government formed a recommendation to promote the gratuitous early childhood education of 3 to 5-year-old children in stages (MEXT 2014).mext. Sports. and Welfare. http://www. Science.8╇Conclusion This paper focuses on the Japanese policy on Early Childhood Education and Care and presents a summary of the features of Japanese children’s education. development trends of the gratuitous early childhood education: In July 2014. MEXT (The Research Collaborators Association About Facilitate the Connection of the Preschool Education with the Primary School Education in Ministry of Education. and with this. and a specific way forward was identified. . Skill formation and the economics of investing in disadvantaged children. (2009).pdf MEXT and MHLW (Ministry of Education. The whole process took quite a long time. Labor and Welfare).jp/component/b_menu/shingi/toushin/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2011/11/22/12 98955_1_1. Collection of typical cases of cooperation between nursery and Kindergarten with primary school. Benesse corporation. Culture. Survey on employment of parents and living conditions of families with Children. Sports.go. Specific methods for implementing the recommendation are now being debated in the liaison council composed of ministers from Ministry of Education. documents/20120229. Culture. and Technology and Ministry of Health. it is not only early childhood education staffs that are paying attention to the development of children’s education but the whole of Japanese. Science and Technology).

Kindergarten-nursery-primary school cooperation principle and Â�practice: Catering to the assistance to children in the transitional period.pdf Nobe. & Yokoi.pdf. National Diet Library. Sakai.mext. H. http://www. Bulletin: College of education of Tamagawa University. Research and Information. . Current status and issues of childcare system.667. Science and Technology). Towards the children comprehensive policy: Trends in OECD countries and suggestions for Japanese reform. H. (2010).5â•… Latest Development of Japanese Kindergarten Education Policy 81 MEXT (Ministry of Education. http://www. OECD 0100610ecec. (2011). (2011). London: Minerva Press. A. (2010).jp/b_menu/shingi/chukyo/ chukyo3/051/siryo/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2014/09/11/1351916_1. Satoki. (2014). T. Recommendation on the future trends of the educational system.go. Present condition and future assignment of pre-3€ years old enrollment in kindergarten: Based on present practice of prefectures. Culture. 1–11.oecdtokyo2. Sports.

1007/978-3-662-44986-8_6 83 . the government of the Qing dynasty implemented the first educational system that included ECE. It confirmed the status Â� of ECE in China’s education system and approved regulations for Meng Yang Yuan. New China’s current education financial system is based on the system implemented in China’s liberated area. the Kuimao school system. China © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. After the foundation of the PRC. which were largely based on the experience of China’s liberated areas and a Soviet Union model. the Chinese government built and developed ECE administrative and financial systems. Cai€(*)€ Central China Normal University. Feng€ Beijing Normal University. Family education laws stated that the governments of all provinces should be responsible for the annual ECE expenditure and that nurseries should enjoy an “additional monthly salary. (eds. and community organizations and institutions were encouraged to raise their own funds to establish kindergartens. many more specialized public agencies have emerged. In 1903. Hubei Kindergarten. During the Chinese Civil War. HUO et al. New Frontiers of Educational Research. Y. the first public ECE institution.” This article recognizes the start of the government’s commitment to financially support preschool education policy in modern China. This policy only advantaged the children of Party officers and reduced the effectiveness and fairness of the financial policy after the “New China” was founded. Since then. the Communist Party of China adopted investment and education systems that largely supported military and Party kindergartens.Chapter 6 The Evolution and Innovation of China’s Preschool Education Financial System Yingqi Cai and Xiaoxia Feng China first began allocating financial resources into early childhood education (ECE) at the end of the Qing dynasty. Wuhan. DOI 10. The foundation of the public social ECE institution marked the start of the Chinese government’s financial support of ECE. In 1903. was established with features similar to that of an education institution. China X. Beijing.).

enterprises.84 Y. The funding of other public and private kindergartens should be the responsibility of the founders or board of directors. Feng The development of China’s ECE financial system can be roughly divided into two obvious periods. the administrative system of ECE in China underwent several significant changes. and an ECE office was established under the Department of ECE. and second is the reform period of economy.1╇Under a Planned Economy. From there. respectively. entities. The system and its effectiveness also experienced a complicated and tumultuous evolutionary period. The first period is under the condition of planned economy. In 1952. At that point. It stated that kindergartens established by counties and cities should be funded from the education funding received by local governments. funds for enterprise management. the government required the military. an investment system for ECE was established. In March 1952. it was decided that the basic blueprint of ECE enterprises would be extended from cities to villages. there was a clear rural and urban demarcation. and operating expenses. combining financial power with administrative power. 6. Until the beginning of the 1980s. which contained the first regulations governing the financial resources and management for all kindergartens and at all levels. welfare fees. In this way. and public institutions to contribute to ECE funding via infrastructure fees. funding was the responsibility of farmers. enterprises. With separate rural and urban areas. under China’s planned economy. At the time when the PRC was newly founded. and a diversified ECE financial investment system was ultimately formed. An urban plan for financial investment in ECE soon appeared. the government not only supplied funds and equipment for those kindergartens established by the Department of Education. The following passage will shed light on these two periods. . this office was incorporated into a department within the Ministry of Education. Cai and X. ECE could then spread to other centers. the Ministry of Education published Draft Interim Kindergarten Regulations. a diversified ECE financial investment system was formed. however. labor union expenditure. In August 1952. the central government of the PRC was founded. the Diversified ECE Financial System Takes Shape From 1949 to 1979. in rural areas. a relatively diversified ECE investment system would parallel the national investment systems of other organizations and non-governmental investment systems. By the end of the 1970s. and public institutions. Thus. the military. a government administrative council stipulated in Decision on Reforming the Educational System that kindergartens could only be initially established in cities that had the ability to sustain them. Period 1 (1949–1953): In November 1949. specializing in the management of ECE. but also indirectly provided for the welfare of staff as well as supporting kindergartens attached to national organizations.

In July 1979. municipalities. This involved horizontal integration management and investment with various resources. . restructuring. In 1978. All provinces and municipalities gradually established agencies that were responsible for nursery organizations. This system followed the principle that administrative and dependency management should be combined. this move marked the separate management of and investments in these two agencies. Thus. which initiated the Great Leap Forward and the movement of rural people’s communization. In February 1956. development. From 1958 to 1960. there were then calls for the government to make significant improvements to the ECE system. China entered its Second Five-Year Plan. ECE administrative and investment systems (that combined administrative and dependency management. Several provinces. including “walking on two legs. The diversified investment system of ECE was revived and strengthened once again. Regarding financial support. the administrative management system and the ECE financial investment system were amended. Before long. various departments including the Ministry of Education. They became more localized and agencies more independent and diversified. the Ministry of Education. ECE underwent a rocky period and previous advances were lost. and improving China’s various nursery institutions. The responsible administrative agencies were under the umbrella of the ACWF. Numerous policies were discussed. and individuals. After 10€years of turmoil. This principle guided both nurseries and kindergartens. highlighting dependency management) were close to being established. the State Council established in 1979 a group to address nursery work and its administrative agencies. Thus. Ministry of Health. the Ministry of Education restructured the ECE office. communities. forming a complete system with centralized leadership and levelto-level administration. and autonomous regions resurrected various agencies to manage ECE and supported managerial staff. and the Department of the Interior jointly published Joint Notification on the Various Problems of Kindergartens. China implemented an administrative management system. ECE fell back to where it was in 1957. This group was responsible for researching and implementing regulations relating to nursery organizations. The financial budget was arranged according to the system arrangement of centralized leadership and level-to-level administration. highlighting dependency management. China’s ECE system was essentially in tatters. In addition.6â•… The Evolution and Innovation China’s Preschool Education … 85 Period 2 (1954–1979): In this period. The agencies to which these institutions belong to became responsible for all administrative affairs: Kindergartens were managed by the Business Education Department and nurseries by the Department of Health. it was agreed that it should be the collective responsibility of the nation.” recovery. Ministry of Health. The publication clearly stipulated the development project and leadership problems faced by kindergartens and proposed “centralized leadership and level-to-level administration” for the first time. with the approval of the central government and the State Council. and the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) convened a conference on the situation of China’s nurseries.

the administrative system. Meanwhile. This situation therefore imposed unexpected problems for the stability and sustainable development of ECE in China. First.86 Y. the ECE financial investment system has claimed several achievements. Third. Thus. ECE lacked independence and relied too heavily on welfare from other departments and social funds. and the ACWF before going elsewhere. it was difficult for China to plan and manage ECE. education.2╇Achievements and Shortcomings of the Reform of the ECE Financial System In the 1970s and early 1980s. However. This situation was not in accordance with the financial management principle of “unifying financial power and administrative rights.” offered the perfect setting for the establishment of kindergartens in three ways: (1) raising social capital and goods. the “market” began to regulate and its effect became stronger. public institutions.3€% .2€% of all ECE funding. Many kindergartens established by various departments at various levels resulted in inconsistent conditions and quality. and further sharing the financial duties of ECE. were the responsibility of different departments and organizations. The first was improvements in its planning and legislation. Second. The stability of the ECE financial investment system created under a planned economy collapsed and in its transformation it faced a new beginning. a gradual revolution occurred with China’s enterprises. and (3) rapidly popularizing ECE. fiscal input accounted for 77. The same was true for the allocation of resources. the funding of ECE became society based. and administrative management. (2) activating the initiative of local government. the diversified system of ECE investment facilitated the popularization of ECE and promoted education in rural areas. the government’s allocated funding for ECE in China equaled 58. a profound revolution occurred in the economic systems of China’s counties and cities. Fifth. For example.” Fourth. Cai and X. with no one willing to shoulder the responsibilities.” Such conditions can easily result in a grab for power and benefits. the governance of fundamental education became separate. Urban and rural collectives and nursery institutions (especially in rural areas) received very little financial support from the government. Negotiations among the departments were also difficult and ECE resources differed among regions and departments. property. Feng Under the planned economy. military. in 2002. By requiring the collective involvement of the nation and individuals. 6. which focused on “regions. Since the beginning of the 1980s. The various issues involved in ECE. clarifying the duties of governments and institutions at different levels. including financial. personnel. ensuring that the government’s annual contribution to ECE regularly increased since the reform and opening up. the system did have obvious disadvantages: China’s limited funds had to be first transmitted through various departments including health. and government agencies. the national financial system began a reform process with the main tasks described as “decentralization and the distribution of profits.

In addition. This move was made in accord with the National Account on Budget. In addition. institutions. alongside their overall plans for local economic and social development. In some developed areas. In addition. Aiming to shut down or reduce kindergarten size. which was established by the Ministry of Finance in 1980. The second achievement is the amendment of the administrative and financial systems of kindergartens attached to those agencies not under the control of the Department of Education. and staff separated kindergartens from the institutions they used to be attached to. the government should assign them local education administrative departments.6â•… The Evolution and Innovation China’s Preschool Education … 87 of the national ECE input. it was also decided that a preschool education project should be included in the investment into infrastructure construction to guarantee the systematic development of kindergartens. However. the State Council distributed the document Guidance on ECE Reform and Development. under a background of greater economic reform and the foundation of a socialist market economy system (especially the transformation of management systems in industries). in 1983. local financial inputs would finance the education of rural areas. Ministry of Construction. and other ministries released Opinions regarding Enterprises that Establish Kindergartens. The subsequent reform of institutions and the modulation of authority departments. the funding (from enterprises and institutions) to establish kindergartens could be wholly transferred to local departments of . To guide the conversion of these kindergartens and to guarantee the steady development of ECE. since the 1980s. Thus. the Ministry of Education decided that the administrative agencies of each level should separate ECE expenditure from local education funds. This was the first time that government had clarified the division of powers of financial authority and rights. Since the founding of the New China. China has demanded that all sectors of society be responsible for the development of ECE through various methods and forms. a socialized period of enterprise logistics enabled industrycreated kindergartens to enter the market. or individuals to ensure a smooth transition. To remedy any issues during the period of transformation. Income. In March 2003. social groups. and Expenses. The roles of enterprises and public institutions and the collective nature of the establishment of kindergartens were also highlighted. the State Education Commission. after conversion or negotiation. outlining more concrete regulations. the Ninth Five-Year Plan required that local government should prioritize ECE as an important agenda issue. First. regarding kindergartens that are not independent. Ministry of Civil Affairs. It marked the restructuring of the national management and financial investment systems for ECE. The guide was designed by the Ministry of Education and other ministries to further clarify the responsibilities of departments and governments at all levels. The document pointed out that enterprises should continue with the management of kindergartens and the socialization of ECE. the General Office of the State Council published Guidance on ECE Reform and Development. the government guaranteed its continued financial support (and appropriate increases) via planning and legislation and Â�suggested that there should be funds specifically assigned to ECE.

” To develop such an enterprise. In July 1997. and relevant departments be responsible for the different affairs of kindergartens. which are supported by social factors. counties should strongly encourage agencies. The third achievement of the ECE financial system is that it has taken full advantage of community resources and has attempted to promote the socialization of an ECE system that is based on community. The second point was to increase profit and vigor via the reform of the Â�kindergarten system by including joint operation and responsibility and allowing local people to run state-owned kindergartens. the collective. and individuals. classification and grading. public (mass) organizations. the legal rights of early childhood teachers were to be protected and the overall quality improved. Private kindergartens should follow this principle aimed to actively encourage. and individual citizens. Governments should strengthen the management of private kindergartens and explore the developmental mechanism of private kindergartens. Furthermore. support. neighborhood committees. the General Office of the State Council departments transmitted the notice Guidance on ECE Reform and Development. kindergartens funded by social funding and public kindergartens are treated equally. stating that the development of ECE should follow the principle of “walking on two legs. local government should guarantee centralized leadership and highlight the involvement of the nation. In 1983. . This regulation regarding the transformation of kindergartens owned by enterprises and institutions also functioned as a guide to other kindergartens including those attached to agencies and owned by groups. China has always encouraged non-governmental entities to establish kindergartens. classification management. and individuals to establish kindergartens. should enjoy equal status with public kindergartens in the process of registration. In terms of laws and regulations. This regulation was also included in the Ninth Five-Year Plan. The notice stated that society should be actively encouraged to act to retain control of their kindergartens. The implementation of the reform guaranteed that the national assets would not be lost and the quality of China’s nurseries and education would not decrease. the State Education Commission believed that “early childhood education should be strongly localized and popularized. professional title evaluation. industries. local communities. Cai and X. the State Education Commission released Opinion on the Implementation of ECE Development in the Ninth Five-Year Plan to determine how social power should be mobilized to establish kindergartens. and strengthen kindergarten management. Meanwhile. guide. the Ministry of Education published Suggestions on Rural ECE. In 2003.88 Y. Kindergartens. Meanwhile. local governments established kindergartens while encouraging the involvement of enterprises and institutions. according to the principle that local authorities. Some kindergartens proceeded to reform according to this principle. To meet the huge demand of cities and counties for the development of education. In addition.” Rural areas should seek to establish kindergartens by way of collective and fully harness the enthusiasm of villages. teacher training. which was published by the Ministry of Education and other government ministries. and awards. Feng education.

merged. Thus. Cost sharing has become a popular development trend in ECE fee policies. free education suffered a major blow. some previously dependent kindergartens now seek independence. it is urban workers who benefited most from departmental benefits. under a planned economy. Furthermore. the costs associated with ECE related to the quality of education. According to the principle of the market economy. the charging practices of local private kindergartens are loosened and widened. those funded by various organizations and individuals . some kindergartens in developed cities and coastal areas calculate school running costs and design fee policies based on teaching costs. and training. As a result. China has continued to use many resources including communities and rural clubs to develop ECE. it has resulted in the unequal investment in and development of education in different areas. equipment. Nowadays. There are also many kindergartens that have since closed their doors.6â•… The Evolution and Innovation China’s Preschool Education … 89 ECE is closely related to daily life in China and its location within a Â�community. the collective welfare of city workers is now being gradually socialized. ECE systems that are attached to another entity face the danger of collapse. permitting kindergartens to decide to a certain extent the price and whether they charge extra fees. The Ninth and Tenth Five-Year Plans proposed the partition of ECE and a step-by-step popularization of education. To involve parents and to create a healthy community environment. kindergartens attached to departments of education. and class size generally increases. As an aspect of workers’ welfare. after the transformation of the economy. Local government and agencies are responsible for ECE in their localities. From the mid–to late 1980s. Under a planned economy. Along with the reform of the economic system. Their children had the best chance of entering those kindergartens attached to organizations. Within a market economy. those sponsored by institutions. The fourth achievement is the gradual standardization of kindergarten fees and the attempt to build a system where teaching costs are shared by several agencies. For example. or been transformed in some way. dependent on the level of the various kindergartens and their location. However. and many kindergartens started to charge according to their level and type. while others search for a new agency or department for support. and under the welfare system. it was necessary for some adjustments to be made to the urban preschool education development strategy to develop community-based ECE and to promote its communalization and socialization. the construction of urban areas and community preschool education is relatively slow. there are significant differences in terms infrastructure. egalitarianism gradually collapsed. and demonstration kindergartens have enjoyed special attention from government for some time now. ECE in China is accompanied by severe financial disparities between urban and rural areas. ECE fees are essentially symbolic and thus relatively low. The fifth achievement is the implementation of flexible and gradually increasing financial investment policies and tolerance toward moderate differences and imbalance. However. when you enjoy the privilege of consumption. In contrast. you should cover any associated costs. Furthermore. the standard tuition fees and expenses of public kindergarten are relaxed.

enterprises now consider that they already pay for basic education (including ECE) and are not obliged to establish fundamental education (including ECE). the existing structural problem is a much greater issue. Cai and X. there is a lack of financial investment. which accounts for only 1. it has undergone substantial improvements. Thus. funding for ECE has been included in that for primary and secondary education. The national funding of ECE is largely confined to an internal distribution among kindergartens attached to the Ministry of Education. some funds were transformed into individual welfare funds that were paid out directly to workers. educational resources are inequitably distributed and used inefficiently. only a small group of children benefit from this support. industry. after the introduction of an additional education tax in 1986. there have been no relevant laws that specifically state a required expenditure for ECE. and funds. all of these sources present some difficulty. In terms of the large number of young children in China. As the requirement for compulsory education is taken very seriously. . there was a strong desire for units to establish and run kindergartens. some limitations also exist with the education finance system. Feng have been largely ignored. accompanied by some structural problems. each department apportioned funds from its collective worker welfare fund or reserved pretax education funds. Thus. First of all. and some were used to purchase social insurance for staff. expenditure on ECE.3€% of government expenditure. However. In addition. some local governments have not been refunding taxes back to the enterprises that would then be channeled back to kindergartens in accordance with regulations. It is considered a pragmatic approach. In terms of ECE.90 Y. In terms of taxes and fees. fees. however. society. After the foundation of the PRC. Despite the achievements listed above. kindergartens were once governed by various departments. In addition. taxes. the audit and supervision of kindergartens are not powerful enough so it is common practice for expenditure to go unchecked and unaccounted. due to the socialization and openness of social insurance and welfare. As a result. central. the development of ECE has been extremely uneven. In comparison with the shortage of ECE funding. Overstaffing and the mismanagement of funds are frequently occurrences. enterprises are reluctant to establish kindergartens because they will essentially be paying twice for ECE. From central to local governments. there are six sources of education funding: finance. Take financial allocation as an example. The idea of imbalanced investment and development is appropriate owing to the significant disparity between urban and rural areas and the gap among eastern. In addition. In China. they can no longer afford to set aside funds for ECE. can be described as a drop in the ocean. This can be explained in part by systematic reasons. funds for ECE in some areas face the danger of being reduced or completely eliminated. Some education departments have focused on allocation and therefore neglect management. Furthermore. until now. overall. it has been commonly misinterpreted that ECE encroaches on funds allocated specifically for compulsory education. and western areas. Thus. In terms of enterprises.

In 2003. today’s financial system accompanying ECE is based on military management practices from old liberation districts. the segmentation of the administrative and financial systems. guarantee investment in ECE and comprehensively improve the quality of nurseries and education. After liberation.” However. after the publication of these documents. As previously mentioned. The associated expenses and financial issues of ECE have existed for some time now. and the often inappropriate management of kindergartens. a series of specific measures were introduced to maintain the proposed increase of education expenditure. the legal meaning of these documents is more important than the pragmatic meaning. The second problem with the current system is that there is no sound ECE financial investment system. under the planned economy. The financial problems of ECE are clearly aggravated when limited funds are accompanied by financial mismanagement. The Ninth and Tenth Five-Year Plans repeatedly stressed a guarantee of government expenditure for ECE. To some extent. Kindergartens that have been sold should be repurchased within a certain timeframe. ECE resources in some areas are not used efficiently. In the 1990s. the funding of ECE was still reduced. Furthermore. (2) education funds in the government’s financial budget were to increase annually.6â•… The Evolution and Innovation China’s Preschool Education … 91 Due to the diversification of administrative and dependency management. Despite an increase in attendance since 1949. there has been no systematic planning or legal guidelines for fiscal funds. First. After the restructuring of middle and primary schools in towns and cities. the munitions supply method continued by way of a planned distribution mode. or sell them in a disguised form. there is currently no system that accommodates China’s latest social and education developments. some traditional management and financial systems are no longer suitable and some have been discarded altogether. However. in 2004. the No. and as such. Government is not allowed to cease or decrease funds to public kindergartens. 13 document transmitted by the State Council clearly stated that “local governments at all levels should strengthen the construction of public kindergartens. The transformation of public kindergartens first requires examination or approval from provincial departments of education. No sanctions have been meted out to local governments that did not adhere to these policies. There are two main reasons for this omission. . in terms of government. and (3) public education funds for every child were to increase annually. the admission rate was only 40. With China’s social transformation. excess buildings should first be used as kindergarten. the government established three growth targets for education funding: (1) Education funding was to increase annually. and kindergartens owned by the Department of Education and community kindergartens were sold and not repurchased. sell public kindergartens and community kindergartens.75€% for children aged 3–6€years. most children do not have access to the 3-year ECE program. The construction of surplus kindergartens and unsatisfactory conditions and quality all contribute to the mismanagement of funds.

ECE is the responsibility of local government. this reform was extended to a further 20 provinces and cities. In 2002. For example. Second. The financial reform of ECE still has a long and difficult path due to its passive and hysteretic characteristics. do not have a policy answer.92 Y. However. How is it possible to obtain funding for ECE from a government that increasingly suffers from a serious shortage of funds? Where do the funds required to establish rural kindergartens come from? These problems. Cai and X. Reform in this field does not follow the reform in other social fields. First. China has not yet established an ECE financial transfer payment system or any other appropriate systems. policies and collection rules for agricultural tax were amended and the Cun Ti Liu (an agricultural tax) was reformed. Third. Communities in China are not unflawed or standardized. bringing their children with them. The composition of the market gradually increased. Regarding the reform of social welfare. due to the reform of unban enterprises and institutions. This reform can be summarized as entailing “three repeals. ECE has been obviously left behind in China’s social development and reform. the reform of taxes and fees was recognized as the third significant revolution after the land reform movement and the contract responsibility system. the government decided that the responsibility for the socialization and marketization of welfare. Feng Second. the community. village and town-level taxes. a large number of people left rural areas for cities. with the rapid process of urbanization. regulations regarding labor accumulation and voluntary labor services were repealed. However. animal slaughter tax. While the local reforms have reduced the burden on peasants. including salary expenses and their calculation. was to be quickly transferred to society and individuals. and national and land taxes are now collected separately. Next. Kindergartens should be based on community.” First. There is no financial support mechanism to solve the education issues surrounding children whose parents work in non-public organizations or are unemployed. this resulted in the removal of a number of administrative fees and government taxes facing peasants (e. the country has reformed its tax system. social stratification is more obvious and the gap between rich and poor is greater. the Anhui Province piloted a rural tax reform program. the government must raise funds to fill the gap in compulsory education funding at the very beginning. In addition.. the financial ability of local government has also lessened. especially the collective welfare of urban workers. being is a non-government entity. Third. Many of the financial problems identified in ECE can be attributed to the impact of social reform. issues regarding ECE for these children have not been addressed. and the need to raise capital for education). non-public components have come to the fore. Under such a condition. at a meeting in Zhangzhou in 1987. Under the pressure of the popularization of compulsory education. the sense community is not strong in the Chinese population. is characterized as spontaneous and fluid. two adjustments. modern society has had an effect on ECE. as the gap between towns and cities becomes larger. . one gradual repeal.g. it always lags behind social reform and development. government put forward that ECE should be socialized and more community based. Concerning China’s financial reform. Finally. In 2000. and one reform. and the unit welfare service was gradually replaced by social public security.

The popularization of China’s 9-year compulsory education has been a hard task. How can a kindergarten be attached to these primary schools? Nowadays. How can there be sufficient ECE funding when it comes from general education funding? Third is the issue of ECE being second to compulsory education. turn. The national situation is the same as the local situation. The Ministry of Education sought to solve this problem in 2000 using catchphrases such as “close.3€% of the total ECE expenditure. .” The debate still continues over issues of salary. and retreat. With the disappearance of the title “private middle and primary school teacher. these kindergarten teachers will no longer be considered community school teachers.6â•… The Evolution and Innovation China’s Preschool Education … 93 but this dependence is weaker and more variable than with the former unit. which is not in accord with the principle to unify administrative and financial powers. Thus. However. and insurance.” more than 10. recruit. The conditions of teachers in rural private kindergartens are the same as those for primary and middle school teachers. As resources for national and local education are scarce. Therefore.” These kindergarten teachers. how can rural education be planned and paid for? Can the responsibility for preschool education management and financial support be shifted to a higher level of government? If not. welfare standards. as some villages have been relocated and amalgamated with towns.49 to 1.000 private school teachers lost their object of “reference. From 1996 to 2000. In addition. the government stated that as of 1986. the proportion has reduced from 1. Thus. there are fewer kindergartens. some became temporary substitute teachers and others were dismissed. the gap among schools is greater than before. In China. and any reform of basic education impacts on ECE. the greater the structural shortage of ECE. How can the support for the social units be renewed and maintained? How can new and reliable support be found? How can we integrate and deploy various resources? We have no answers to these questions at this time. How can this contradiction be addressed? The financial budget of fundamental education is allocated directly to schools from a county level and not via villages and towns. the proportion of the national education expenditure budget allocated to ECE has steadily reduced. since the management center of compulsory education has been moved to counties and districts. the common practice is to remove such kindergartens. How can China deal with this situation? Second. resign. Since 1998.40€%. Primary schools have been moved to more populous areas and towns. First. teachers at private kindergartens have been disadvantaged by government policies. Since 1999. How can China address this problem? Fourth. ECE faces some new problems in the wake of education financial reform. Thus. Â�primary schools have been reconstructed. national funding for ECE has only accounted for 1. who were once on par with rural primary and middle school teachers. education revenue is now largely the responsibility of local governments. the more that compulsory education is promoted. the reform of countryside taxes and fees has seen the income of local governments substantially reduced. were then considered public teachers. then the financial support and the main administrative body will come from different organizations. ECE comes under the umbrella of basic education.

local governments are unwilling to buy kindergartens as they do not want to take such a burden. regarding the numerous private kindergartens. In terms of those kindergartens that are attached to enterprises and institutions. local government officers do not have the required time and energy. In 2003.94 Y. In addition. but governments neither investigate nor guide them. It is clear that this system is not ideal. Thus. the internal management of the Department of Education is not unified and management is difficult. Unless education administrative departments actively investigate. Generally. Thus. for example. enterprises and business often intervene in the hope of making a profit. However. In some places. independent. Due to limited financial resources. . the situation for kindergartens has become rather difficult. Thus. the officers who are in charge of elementary education also manage ECE. and so the administrative method is the only way to manage and guide them. even if they wanted to manage them. they see too much of their own investment in the kindergartens. In the instances there is an accident. they focus on public kindergartens. If they do have time to manage ECE. and if not. their focus is largely on elementary education. and is often characterized as laissez-faire. which means if they do well. hidden. the State Council No. 13 document stated that enterprises and institutions could freely transfer the assets of kindergartens to local education departments. very few enterprises and institutions are willing to transfer their kindergartens for free. these kindergartens will not register. Some illegal kindergartens have been operating for several years now. The management of the establishment of kindergartens by non-governmental forces is rather lax. and unstable. The departments employ a limited number of staff and have limited funding. it is difficult for these departments to manage kindergartens. In China. Therefore. There are now a large number of Heihu kindergartens in China. many kindergartens are in a dilemma: Enterprises and institutions are not willing to make a free transfer nor do they want to invest in their kindergartens. local governments have little financial investment in private kindergartens. the management and approval of kindergartens fall under different departments. education administrative departments do not have law enforcement powers. they will be supported. however. Thus. the government will often deny any knowledge of the kindergarten. nor participate in local education programs. The fourth shortcoming is that the responsibility for the sharing costs is not clear and clear guidance is lacking regarding kindergarten fees. The reason why local governments take such an indifferent attitude toward these unauthorized kindergartens is that they find it difficult to enforce compliance with ECE standards because of staff and funding shortages. accidents are a frequent occurrence in kindergartens and most happen in private and transformed kindergartens. These kindergartens are poorly run. especially for private kindergartens. in practice. The management of ECE mainly lies on the education administrative departments of counties and districts. When the kindergartens reach the point of going under. they are shut down. Feng The third shortcoming is that there is no powerful regulation and guidance for other departments and social forces. Government’s attitude toward private kindergartens is usually supportive in policy. Cai and X. They are isolated. In addition. the government guidance regarding their reform is not practical.

6. Policies that regulate and encourage investment in ECE lack enforceability and effectiveness. education comes well below everyday survival. Finally. the success of the reform depends on support from various areas of society and should be carried out in a stable political and economic environment. The support mechanism is not stable. units. local governments have been failing to adequately perform their financial duties. China does not maintain records on nationwide kindergarten fees. and departments will disinvest or reduce investment. They are supposed to implement ECE entrance subsidies as per government policy. In some of China’s poorer areas. in poorer areas. it has not been addressed by policy.3╇Recommendations Regarding China’s Reform of the ECE Financial System China’s current ECE finance system is clearly a mix of new and old contradictions and volatility. asking the kindergartens to become self-sufficient. Some kindergartens have introduced a myriad of charges. the reform should really consider all these aspects and ensure that the measures taken work well as an overall 6-year-olds in China is slowly improving.6â•… The Evolution and Innovation China’s Preschool Education … 95 At present. Third. ECE finance has suffered unprecedented setbacks in the wake of China’s . people worry that once kindergartens are permitted to collect fees to meet their costs. we can summarize several points. Second. However. and the social background and history behind these systems. social welfare system. research does suggest that the overall enrollment rate of 3. As a result. Private kindergartens support themselves and so can public kindergartens. urban children from low-income families cannot afford to go to school. the charging of kindergarten fees is unregulated. The first is that children who arrive in urban areas with their families drop out of school soon after arriving. There are a number of reasons why rural attendance is in decline. At present. governments at all levels. new kindergartens are often of high quality and therefore have high fees. they will not be able to ask for government support. and as such. the introduction of a market mechanism and multiple integrations are required for the national reform of the financial system governing ECE. Therefore. the survival of many families in rural and remote areas is tenuous. First. Second. There are numerous fee programs and levels nationwide. Looking at the history behind the financial policy guiding children’s education. kindergarten fees have become the biggest obstacle to improve the enrollment rate for local children. while charging according to cost occurs in practice. Kindergartens worry that once they start to charge parents money for meeting their cost. Fourth. These features commonly appear in times of social transformation. These shortcomings are the result of the national financial system. Third. education system. including sponsorship fees and stationary fees. the inefficiency and unfairness that characterizes the financial system of ECE originates from its shortcomings. However. the government’s statement on financial investment responsibility is not clear.

The second recommendation is that decision-making regarding financial investment be more scientific. then the superior government. The current decision-making process restricts and determines the results. the impacts include democratization. nursery institutions should be managed by local education departments according to their location. These internal and external factors constitute a joint force. democratic. there is another possibility. Kindergartens would be of equal level and status. All public kindergartens should answer to a local education department. Therefore. under the support and guidance of a superior government. In detail. promoting advocacy and the coordinating roles of education authorities. This method also solves the diversified arrangement of ECE financing as all levels of government and subsidiary units would only supervise and fund their own kindergartens. Financial decision-making should be based on laws and strictly enforced. other departments may not retain the money allocated for ECE operating expenses. In the process of deciding and legislating financial investment. and the coordination of funds should be the task of the finance department of the county (district) or township (neighborhood). In addition. This would remove the situation where nursery institutions belong to units and departments of different levels. However. If the financial burden and responsibility of local governments are much heavier. These amounts should be legally standardized. The intensification of social stratification. The levels of these institutions would also depend on the administrative levels of the units or departments that they are attached to. . breaking the tradition that classifies public kindergartens would be a start. All nurseries should be under the management of the local education sector. legal reforms. The attributive hierarchy of kindergartens should be adjusted. openness. In addition. The economic impacts have been the Â�restructuring of the multiple systems of ownership and reform to a market orientation. Feng social and educational reform. and law based. For example. Cai and X. a reform of the financial system should include attention to the following aspects. the financial management system of ECE should be restructured. and the internal contradictions between the supply and demand have had an influence on education. First. equal participation and the interests of all parties should be taken into consideration. The appropriate management system is that local government alone is responsible for China’s kindergartens. specific allocations should be made at each level. Strengthening the monitoring and management of financial investment programs as well as the executive process of regulation is also essential. the popularization of other education stages.96 Y. promoting the important strategic adjustment of the financial system that accompanies ECE in China. the propulsion of educational equality. and the restructuring of government function. Paying attention to the basic procedures and rules of financial investment and legislation will help to safeguard and promote the quality of financial investment decision and financial regulations. could take over the financial responsibility. and diversification in cultural life are impacts from changes in culture and society. In politics. Furthermore. provincial or central government.

In terms of releasing the government’s financial burden. and sufficient” and provide funding and detailed budgets for all expenditure. Second. practical. the reform of China’s various kindergarten operations should be conducted pertinently and gradually. These kindergartens can compete with public kindergartens and further promote the reform. especially the central government. These funds. it is not necessary to offer too much sympathy to China’s governments. China is now engaged in a preschool education cost-sharing policy that aims to raise more funds rather than ease the government’s financial burden. Governments can also assist poor children or their families to ensure admission and adequate schooling conditions. the auditing of expenses item by item. the government should first establish various nursery institutions and conduct various preschool education services that will expand the breadth of preschool education and the number of children who will benefit. the government should establish nursery institutions that are “safe. Thus. Governments should provide financial support to public kindergartens that enroll a certain proportion of children from low-income families and charge these children lower fees. the scale of today’s ECE is being expanded. its public identity need not change. The first step would to encourage non-state-owned kindergartens (kindergartens not established by the Ministry of Education. and cooperation with other kindergartens should be promoted and a market competition mechanism introduced. Governments at all levels. they will enhance fair competition. a preschool entrance subsidy system and a transfer payment system should be introduced. we need to discover how to open financial sources rather than to tighten the purse strings. However. mainly the reform of the market orientation of kindergartens established by the Department of Education. collective ownership enterprises. Fifth. should establish special funds for children’s education. and social forces) to engage in more beneficial practices. the reform would also introduce new energy. is inevitable. public ownership. the investment object of ECE. which are mainly used for transfer payments (special funding for kindergartens in poorer areas) and remedial help for children in disadvantaged areas. and in doing so. will improve use efficiency and produce greater social benefits. its traditional position of privilege must be disregarded. To improve efficiency. Thus. including kindergartens established by departments. in the form of project management and government purchase services. Such reform can progress within the framework of public ownership. The financial reform of ECE should start “beyond the system” and revitalize ECE outside the system. Fourth. .6â•… The Evolution and Innovation China’s Preschool Education … 97 The third recommendation is based on appropriately increasing the financial investment in ECE and improving the management of those funds. enabling access for all. In addition. In this way. and improvements are being made to enrollment levels. We can also use the operation and management mode of the market to improve the efficiency of the use of funds. and the implementation of project investment for financial expenses are appropriate controls. Each kindergarten should bid to break the “iron rice bowl” in preschool education expenditure. The target management of daily funds. this is the primary task of ECE reform.

” She has also participated into the national project cooperative with UNICEF and the project ECCD. causing inequality in the development of ECE. financial means are more efficient than administrative means. In a market economy. Prof. and parents can be easily triggered by an adjustment of the internal investment strategy. Feng published a few books and authored a number of treatises which make a lot of contribution to Chinese ECE. Faculty of Education. the government’s roles to guide and macro control ECE financing should be fully transparent. the financial investment of governments cannot be reduced. the government’s macroeconomic regulations and controls are extremely important. She has hosted a number of national projects. Cai and X. Feng In terms of the reforms discussed above. A disparity of benefits among areas. and financial support policies are indispensable and should correspond to other reforms. Prof. Beijing Normal University. Feng is currently the chairman and the director of the academic committee of China National Society of Early Childhood Education and the chief editor of Studies in Preschool Education.98 Y. Thus. including the “Ninth-Five” major project “Research on Chinese Kindergarten Curriculum policy. Thus. kindergartens. . not only to education reforms but also in other fields. Author Biography Xiaoxia Feng╇is a retired professor of Institute of Early Childhood Education.

Part III Best Practices for Early Childhood Teacher Professional Development .

Adler€(*)€ College of Education. Children born into poverty enter school at risk for developmental delays and academic gaps (Zigler and Finn-Stevenson 2007). Dearborn. and Human Services. with a disproportionate number attending high-poverty schools. for whom the 1975 Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires educational services starting at age three (Snyder and Dillow 2011). There is a general consensus that these three populations of children can improve their school readiness and academic outcomes if placed in high-Â�quality early childhood programs. Adler Over the past decade. Most significant of these descriptors is poverty. University of Michigan Dearborn. USA © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L.A.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_7 101 . The changing demographics in US society have led to an increase in the demand for quality preschool programming. (c) an increase in the percentage of English language learners. (b) a higher percentage of children in poverty.Chapter 7 Early Childhood Challenge: Preparing High-Quality Teachers for a Changing Society in the USA Martha A. 2012). Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. and (d) a high percentage of students with learning disabilities receiving special education services (Aud et€al. one of the fastest growing populations in the USA. The two other groups of children who depend on school for educational opportunities include English language learners. particularly in language and literacy (Hart and Risley 1995). They are especially vulnerable from birth because of under-educated and/ or unemployed parents and health-related issues. population trends for school-age children in the USA show (a) higher percentages of children of color.). Children living in poverty can benefit from high-quality pre-K programs to mitigate the gaps they experience in their early years. DOI 10. and children identified with special education services. HUO et al. Participation in a high-quality preschool program has the potential to address the academic achievement gap for children who might otherwise not M. Health. New Frontiers of Educational Research. (eds. Forty-six percent of the current 25 million children under the age of six live in poverty (NAEYC 2011).

2006. … particularly for children who are at risk for early development problems and later educational underachievement” (63). Neuman 2009). and commitment that define well-trained staff and professionals. Shulman 2005). especially for this at-risk population. However. In particular. 2009. In 2011. and mathematics skills that provide constructive scaffolding and feedback can go a long way toward getting preschoolers ready for first grade and beyond. with calls for a national policy for universal preschool (Zigler and Finn-Stevenson 2007). and mathematical skill development theories and skills in scaffolding child–teacher interactions to guide their development (Pianta et€al. and economic Â�disparities that separates them from their middle-class peers. literacy. Hardman 2009. and cultural sensitivity toward children who come from different socioeconomic and/ or sociolinguistic backgrounds ( Early et€al. Snyder and Dillow 2011.102 M. improved professional development systems (Demma 2010. many preschool teachers do not have the requisite knowledge and deep understandings of language and literacy development to support young learners in meaningful interactions that will support language and literacy acquisition (Justice et€al. Neuman (2009) argues that “there is no substitute for the knowledge. 2005). 2012). ability. 2009). more rigorous early childhood teacher preparation coursework (Early et€al. Adler be able to compete on a level playing field due to cultural. 2008. 2011). the lowest percentage of children are from families with less than a high school diploma (Aud et€al. with the majority coming from post-secondary-educated families. only one-fifth of the nation’s four year olds attended public. NAEYC 2011. Quality professional development that guides reflective practice and meaningful teacher– child interactions for the early childhood educator are among these priorities.A. social. Early childhood teachers need to have deep understandings of language. Neuman 2009). language. 7. Two factors. There is strong evidence that preschool programs can show improvements in academic achievement and reduce special education referrals for children who might otherwise be at risk due to their socioeconomic status. Teachers who are able to plan for learning experiences that engage children through activities designed to build their literacy. understandings of language and literacy development and pedagogy for diverse learners are essential for the early childhood teacher. state-funded pre-K programs (Pianta et€al. The US Department of Education (2012) has placed a priority on the improvement of early learning programs. LeMoine 2008) formal preparation of early childhood teachers (Bogard et€al. that affect the quality of programs for the population of young children in poverty are formal training in early childhood education (Jones et€al. Jones et€al. 2008). 2006.1╇High-Quality Program Factors Demands for improved early childhood programming are increasing. This requires that the Â�preschool . 2005) and teaching from a child-centered theoretical framework (Pinata et€al. Lim et€al. 2011. Enrollment in pre-K programs has increased over the past three decades from 32 to 58€%. 2011. Pinata et€al. 2009. in particular. Pianta et€al.

where the population of high-poverty children predominates. 2008). and/or linguistic background. documentation for further instructional strategies. Thirty-nine states have program quality standards for state-funded early childhood programs. are able to monitor student growth through observations. Recent US guidelines for Title I Head Start programs require that at least 50€% of all teachers have earned a bachelor’s or advanced degree in early childhood education or an equivalent degree in a related field of study with teaching experience.2╇Teacher Preparation Traditionally.. and abilities of the preschoolers they teach. bachelor’s degree. the connection between theory and practice needs to be stronger (Zaslow et€al.1. special needs. 7. Without common and/or national standards for early childhood licensure. While there is evidence of the link between quality professional development and quality early childhood programs. have federal program performance standards for quality and federal program outcomes for learning standards (The National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force 2007). . Head Start programs. teachers in publicly funded preschool programs are required to hold some post-secondary credential (e.7â•… Early Childhood Challenge: Preparing High-Quality … 103 teacher has a deep understanding of the processes of these basic skills’ development. state license. and be sensitive to the diverse Â�socioeconomic. it is unclear as to the specific requirements for early childhood educators. 2009. While having an earned post-secondary degree seems to be important. linguistic. Zigler and Finn-Stevenson (2007) three-year study of effective preschools in five states found that all staff held credentials in early childhood (80€% with a bachelor’s or Master’s and the remainder with associate credentials). At present.1╇Standards The recognition of the importance for highly qualified teachers in early childhood education is reflected in standards across the USA. especially for the population of children who depend on education to mitigate the gaps that arise in their academic achievement due to poverty. 7. Hyson et€al. there are two distinct routes for professional development: Preservice in a formal teacher preparation program and in-service while on the job.g. It can be argued that both are essential for high-quality early childhood programs. 2004) and requires further examination if we are to assure at-risk populations of children high-quality preschool experiences (Byington and Tannock 2011. 49 have state learning standards for both childcare and state-funded programs (The National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force 2007). or associate’s degree) depending on the program funding sources. variations are bound to occur across credentialing institutions and states. Bogard et€al.

institutes in the urban fringe areas required more coursework on linguistic diversity than did their urban counterparts and public universities were more likely to require coursework in linguistic diversity. Justice et€al. (b) deep. little is known about the quality of these pre-service programs. English language learners. 2008). and dispositions” (p. . values. A bachelor’s degree may prove necessary but not sufficient in order to achieve high-quality early childhood programs. It is difficult to effectively examine the relationship of early childhood teacher preparation programs to the teacher quality in preschool classrooms due to the extreme variability across institutions (Bogard et€al. Current movements toward accreditation for institutes of higher education have begun to examine the quality of teacher preparation programs. but given the few studies done on teacher preparation and quality programming and the paucity of early childhood teachers with advanced degrees. Having a tertiary degree in early childhood alone cannot be predictive of quality instruction. Shulman’s (2005) “signature pedagogy” has three distinct structures: (a) surface. It is assumed that an advance degree is more likely to better prepare a teacher. 2009) need to be considered as well. They also found that the geographical location of a university or college was associated with field placements. which consists primarily of knowledge and understanding of the learner and the discipline—the “know how”.1╇Pre-service Professional Development More than 1. Adler 7.200 institutions of higher education in the USA offer a degree in early childhood education (Hyson et€al.104 M. The quality of the degree needs to be examined and schools of education need to be challenged to provide preparation that addresses the needs of the children who depend on preschool for their academic success. Bogard et€al. (2008) argue for a “signature pedagogy” (Shulman 2005) approach in early childhood programs where teachers obtain bachelor and post-bachelor degrees in a pre-K to third grade certification that includes extensive field experience with mentoring. 2008) and the cultural and linguistic diversity of children served by publicly funded preschool programs (Lim et€al.2. Ironically. 2006. 2006). which consists of the basic operational tools required for teaching and learning—the “what to do. however. (2009) investigated the amount of diversity content and field experiences in over 400 early childhood degree programs. which Shulman (2005) describes as the “moral dimension … [comprised] of a set of beliefs about professional attitudes. Their study revealed that faculty race/ethnicity were factors in pre-service student experiences and led to more diverse field placements that included bilingual and/or English language learners. and (c) implicit. or receiving special education services. it is only a conjecture (Early et€al. Other factors such as administration and continued professional development (Early et€al. including those in early childhood.A. Lim et€al. Shulman’s (2005) “implicit structure” can have implications for teachers working with populations of children who are poor. 2009). 55).

and develop new understandings from a more powerful starting place. Gonzalez and Darling-Hammond 1996. . sustainability. immigrant and/or non-English speaking children.2. participants are able to tap into their prior knowledge. 2006). Justice et€al. ongoing professional development should be maintained. not just curriculum and activities were needed. 7. Not unlike the literature on professional development that leads to positive outcomes (Clair 2000. including children in poverty. 2008) concluded that for the professional development to effect changes that impact the quality of instruction (a) reliable observational tools to provide feedback relevant to the language and literacy instruction and (b) attention to the intensity. However. once in the field. Hawley and Valli 1999. The research is strong on the need for pre-service professional preparation with a minimum a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and/or a related field with experience.2╇In-service Professional Development In-service professional development has the added advantage of providing a continuation of developing the essential knowledge and skills for preparing at-risk children in the critical areas of language and literacy development. but not an end. Another matter to consider for in-service professional development is that of the tone or stance that the workshop leaders take toward the early childhood educator participants Fleet and Patterson (2001) argue that often the professional development sessions/activities overlook the complexity of the roles of early childhood teachers and take a deficit model approach. (2008) found that all teachers adhered to the curriculum. They suggest that through a constructivist approach. Furthermore. continued over time with an emphasis on the deep understanding of concepts and skills. there is a consensus that pre-service early childhood preparation is needed if early childhood programs are to be successful in working against the achievement gap for the growing number of children who depend on public education for their K-12 readiness (Ray et€al. There is a concern that these programs are not adequately preparing future and/or current early childhood educators to work with the diversity in public preschools. children with special needs and their communities and families. Research on in-service professional development is an emerging field.7â•… Early Childhood Challenge: Preparing High-Quality … 105 Nevertheless. but the quality of their instruction was low. in-service professional development has the obvious advantage of being synchronous within the context in which a particular preschool program is embedded. experiences. Early childhood educators’ need continued professional development once in the field. Having an earned bachelor’s or associate’s degree in early childhood education is a start. In their investigation of the implementation of a language and literacy curriculum in 135 publicly funded preschool classrooms. Justice et€al. not unlike other fields.

There are likely other such programs ongoing. Oakwood Healthcare Center. Students in this program have two student teaching requirements. As an early childhood inclusion model. and family center intervention strategies.A. one program that seems to meet the concerns addressed by the literature is presented. 7. students also take coursework in leadership. supporting children’s critical thinking and problem solving skills as the primary vehicle for developing language. In addition to serving the local community’s families. Some of the current research being carried out has salience to the issue of preparing early childhood . and pedagogy. birth through 5th grade.106 M. family/school/ community collaboration. special needs. The program prepares students to work with children. with one of the primary sites being the University’s Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC).2╇Field Experience All students in the program spend extensive time in the field. two are for certified teachers and the third is for non-certified professionals interested in early childhood leadership administration.1╇The Program The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers a 34-credit hour major in Early Childhood General and Special Education program. In addition to coursework in various aspects of child development. The Oakwood CEF provides healthcare for children with major developmental disabilities or chronic complex disorders from across Southeast Michigan. Adler 7. A particularly unique feature of the Center is its collaboration with the Oakwood Center for Exceptional Families (CEF). The Center uses a Reggio-inspired curriculum.3╇One Promising Program Given the emphasis on earning tertiary degrees for the professional preparation for early childhood educators. this collaboration provides university pre-service students with rich experiences working with both the general population of students at the ECEC and the children from the CEF. The program also offers three options at a Master’s level. which leads to a State of Michigan’s Elementary Certification. and mathematic skills. literacy. a full semester in an early childhood setting and one in a K-5 classroom.3.3╇Current Research The ECEC also serves as a transdisciplinary research site. 7.3. 7. the Center also serves as a teacher preparation and research site. this is an example of one that shows potential for addressing the need to prepare early childhood educators with the highest quality of professional development.3.

Broderick and Hong (2011) have developed the COI System as a tool to develop understandings of inquiry to guide curriculum development.7â•… Early Childhood Challenge: Preparing High-Quality … 107 educators addressed in the literature. intervention programs. Given the fact that both researchers are Reggio trained and that their work is intended for preschool teachers who will work with the population of children at risk for academic achievement. trips to the library. if we attempt to hold children in poverty or English language learners accountable for the same milestones as their middle-class English without interventions. Shulman’s (2005) three structures can be seen throughout their work in that pre-service. This work involves the development and implementation of the Cycle of Inquiry System (COI) (Broderick and Hong 2011). along with structured opportunities for metacognition and reflection on their interactions with the children at their placements. the recently launched “Common Core Standards” (2012). A child whose family has not been able to provide bedtime story reading. adopted by 45 states and three territories. Once outside the early childhood experiences. The purpose of the process is to foster intentional interactions with the children while at the same time documenting lesson implementation. The explosion of schools and districts requiring reading specialists. or who speak another variation of English or a language other than English may not be able to catch up in a short period of time. their current project is relevant. provides grade level expectations that are reasonable for children whose pre-K learning experiences have included uninterrupted and supported language. literacy. (c) research question development. and understandings. with a longitudinal study being planned. and tutoring are evidence to the fact that not all children enter school ready to acquire these grade level expectations during the same timeframe. skills. have been documenting research carried out at their respective universities. This approach follows a Reggio perspective that does not rely on cookie-cutter stages based on the age of the child. Hong. For example. they will not succeed. Their work is ongoing. the ECEC Director and Coordinator of the University’s Early Childhood program. students use this documentation to gain better understandings of the young learners thinking so as to design further activities. (d) intervention planning. (b) hypothesis development. The system includes five stages: (a) observation. COI is an approach that allows for early childhood educators to focus more on the child and his/her stages of development rather than on a static set of standards. Early childhood programming can go a long way to serve these children. and mathematical skill development. and her co-researcher. (e) preparation for and facilitation of a structured play activity for young learners. When curriculum standards are tied to a child’s age or grade level. Broderick of East Tennessee State University. Broderick and Hong (2011) argue that these five stages are essential to developing pre-service teachers’ thinking about practice and documentation of their observations when engaged with young learners. For example. . they do not allow for the child who started at a different place than the middle-class students upon whom these standards were normed. teachers are provided strong content and pedagogy coursework and field placements to hone their knowledge. and.

In L. (1995). or who are challenged by special needs. The Condition of Education 2012 (NCES 2012-045). (1999). L. Early Childhood Research and Practice. Broderick. B. Redesigning the preparation of all teachers within the framework of an integrated program model. (2009)... & Valli. DC. Professional growth reconceptualized: Early childhood staff searching for meaning. Bryant. R. S. Teaching and Teacher Education. Sykes (Eds.A. A. major. Early Childhood Research and Practice. C. http://www. However. Burkinal. N. R... For many children in the USA who grow up in poverty. D. the emphasis on early childhood education has developed from a place where few children were enrolled in preschools to today where many children attend some form of preschool program. 2. Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. & Takanishi. Johnson. EDO-FL-00-08. Fleet. (2008). et€al. Introducing the cycle of inquiry system: a reflective inquiry practice for early childhood teacher development. 1–6. preschool education can make a difference in their lives. MD: Brookes Publishing Company Inc. DC: NGA Center for Best Practices. (2000). Traylor.. M. New concepts for new challenges: Professional development for teachers of immigrant youth.html.. U.. Online Resources: Digests. Accessed 15 October 2011. (2006). G. and Challenges.). T. W. DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. Washington. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. not all children have access to quality early childhood programs. & Hong. (2012). 2. Roth. Hart. J.4╇Conclusion Over the past century. Pianta. B. there is insufficient research to determine the essential components of professional development that will result in positive outcomes for children. Department of Education. L. Kena. R. Early. The essentials of effective professional development. W. & Darling-Hammond. . Teaching Educators About Language: Principles... M. Teacher education and PK outcomes: Are we asking the right questions? Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Clair. Baltimore. Washington. S. (2001). M. National Center for Education Statistics. Building an early childhood professional development system: Issue brief. 127–150). F. Washington.ed. Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. (1996). (2011). Hawley. E. Ritchie. including a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and ongoing in-service once in the field are strongly indicated.. J. 3. 583–587. M. However.... & Risley. R. L. 25. et€al. Adler 7. Structures. Manning. E. Hardman.. Demma. do not speak English as their first language. 23(1). Further research and documentation of effective teacher preparation programs and high-quality preschool programs are needed. R. C. 21(2006). S. (2010). D. Clifford. Are teachers’ education. Having a more highly educated pool of preschool Hussar. 13. References Aud. E... The research is clear on the fact that a high-quality preschool experience can mitigate the gaps some children experience prior to entering the K-12 system. & Patterson. Darling-Hammond & G. Current research points to professional development as being a key factor in high-quality preschool program.. Gonzalez. http://nces. 174–195.S. and credentials related to classroom quality and children’s academic gains in pre-kindergarten? Early Childhood Research Quarterly. F.108 M. K. T.

R. M. Early childhood public school teacher licensure for the fifty states and Washington. Do they predict observed classroom quality and child-teacher interactions? Applied Developmental Science. Shulman. K. Institute of Education Sciences. (2011). Quality Measurement in early Childhood Settings. C.7â•… Early Childhood Challenge: Preparing High-Quality … 109 Hyson. K. J. A. Features of Pre-Kindergarten Programs. (2004).. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. (2005). . L. U. 175–181. A. Zaslow. Quality of language and literacy instruction in preschool classrooms serving at-risk pupils. Jones..uark.. & T. C.. Tomlinson. LeMoine. M. S. K.. D. Digest of Education Statistics 2010 (NCES 2011-015). In M.. as Amended. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. I. T. (2011).. (2009). NAEYC. 9(3). DC: An inquiry to ascertain student age ranges for public school teacher licensure. O. 16 April 2012. Washington. Department of Education.. Serving Preschool Children Through Title I: Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.. & Robbins. Neuman. (2008).). Maxwell. & Morris. & Barbarin. (2005). C. Classrooms.htm. FPG Child Development Institute.. Signature pedagogies in the professions. Howes.. (2008).. A. Snyder. Washington. R. Pinata... S. U. H. (2009).S. Martinez-Beck. S. R. Martin. The Role of Professional Development in Creating High Quality Preschool Education. Clifford.C: National Center for Education Statistics. 64–76. Washington DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Department of Education. M.. Tout. MD: Paul H Brookes Publishing Company Inc. R. Quality improvement in early childhood teacher education: faculty perspectives and recommendations for the future. 11. S. B. Tout.S. and Teachers. Zaslow. B. S. R.. 134(3). NAEYC Call to Action for the 112th Congress. L. B. R. Bryant.. Crandall. Report to the Foundation for Child Development Project on Race.proquest. (2006). 51–68. Ray. J. S. Early. H. & Pianta. (2009). (2009).com/docview/210573746?accountid=145. K. Hamre. C. Hamre.. D. DC. (2007). (2012). B. Lim. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. The National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force.. Changing the odds for children at risk: Seven essential principles of educational programs that break the cycle of poverty. & Clifford. C. L. Halle (Eds. M. Mashburn. C. & Downer. Preparing early childhood teachers to successfully educate all children: The contribution of four-year undergraduate teacher preparation programs.. Baltimore. & Zimmer. Workforce designs: a policy blueprint for state early childhood professional development systems. Paper prepared for the Brookings-University of North Carolina Conference on Preschool Education September 9–10. Early Childhood Research and Practice. K. J.. D. AAES Research Report 986. E. Able-Boone.. M. A. B. IL: Erikson Pianta. Maxwell. 77. Class and Culture in Early Childhood. 144–159. (2011). (2007). From research to policy and practice: The school of the 21st century. & Dillow. 1. &. Non-Regulatory Guidance. D. Bowman. Aligning measures of quality professional development goals and goals for children’s development. K.C. 52–59. & Finn-Stevenson. 24(1). R. Burchinal. www. Cultural and linguistic diversity in early childhood teacher preparation: The impact of contextual characteristics on coursework and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. http://arkansasagnews... http:// search. 23. Taking stock: Assessing and improving early childhood learning and program quality. Justice. 2004. Chicago. Zigler. M.naeyc.

1╇Establishment of Childcare Facilities and the Teacher Education System The Japanese ECEC system began in 1876 with the establishment of a kindergarten attached to the Tokyo Women’s Normal School (now Ochanomizu University). Consequently. In 1899. HUO et al. DOI 10.). Iwatate€(*)€ Tokyo Gakugei University. (eds. with different frameworks and distinct purposes and circumstances. to address newly developed issues that have arisen among parents and children and to improve the quality of childcare in general.Chapter 8 Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan Kyoko Iwatate In Japan. kindergarten officials were involved in establishing the K. These two systems have long been regulated by different government agencies and have different teacher education systems. and (4) major changes in teacher education. (3) new issues arising from the unification of kindergarten and day care center. (2) contemporary changes in child development environments. Koganei. two systems of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) have been established. Japan has been moving rapidly toward the unification of the two systems in order to meet the contemporary childcare needs of society and families. I will cover the following topics: (1) establishment of childcare facilities and the teacher education system. 8. which was followed in 1878 by the founding of a kindergarten teacher training school there. In this chapter. and the second is day care center (Hoikusho) provided under the welfare system. However. Japan © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. New Frontiers of Educational Research. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. ECEC and ECEC teacher education in Japan are fast approaching a major transition point. I have included the former three issues because they form part of the rationale and background for major changes in ECEC teacher education. The first is kindergarten in the public school education system.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_8 111 .


K. Iwatate

Provision on Kindergarten Education and Facilities, the first national provision
enforcing criteria for ECEC curricula and facilities. The first ordinance for kindergarten education, the Kindergarten Ordinance, was enacted in 1926, and it
enforced qualification criteria for teachers (Kiyohara 1978). The kindergarten
establishment standards and Course of Study for Kindergarten Education, which
serve as the foundation of contemporary kindergarten education, were created in
1956. The ECEC teacher education systems in Japan were thus founded early on
and were accompanied by the enforcement of laws and regulations for elementary school provision in the public education system. However, the teachers’
licensing system and curricula were not officially regulated until the Ordinance
for Enforcement of the School Teacher’s License Act was enacted in September
1949. Subsequently, kindergarten curricula were reformed in accordance with the
Teachers Licensing Act as part of primary education reform (Kiyohara 1978).
The early nursery system, on the other hand, is reported to have been established by a local philanthropist as a support activity for working women and people experiencing financial difficulties. This was followed by the establishment
of public day nurseries in Osaka in 1919, Kyoto in 1920, and Tokyo and other
urban areas in 1921. After the World War II, in 1947, the early nursery system
was reorganized as child welfare institutions called Hoikusho, and subsequently,
the provision that “children who lack proper childcare support at home” should
be admitted into a day nursery was added to the Child Welfare Law by the Central
Child Welfare Council founded in 1948. Since then, childcare at day nurseries has
been provided under the child welfare framework (Yukawa 2013).
Subsequently, the kindergartens that were reformed as part of the school
system and the day care centers that were reformed as part of the child welfare
system have developed as two separate organizations. However, as mentioned
later, to meet today’s diverse childcare needs, which have arisen as a result of
changes in family life and to address challenges in children’s development, unifying the kindergarten and day nursery systems was seen as the best way to
combine the strength of both systems. Accordingly, the unified ECEC facility,
nintei-kodomoen, was founded as the third ECEC system and legislated by the
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) and the
Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) in 2006.
The “nintei-kodomoen” did not, however, spread as widely as government
agencies anticipated due to financial challenges, cumbersome and complicated
paperwork required for their establishment, issues associated with the certification and licensing of teachers, and the long history of the two separate systems.
Therefore, to promote this new third ECEC system, the Cabinet Office, MHLW,
and MEXT all reached out beyond their jurisdiction to discuss an alternative
approach. Subsequently, in 2012, the Japanese National Assembly approved bills
related to children and child rearing to assemble a major framework. This “Child
and Child Rearing Support New System” is characterized by the three features:
(1) the education for children over 3€years, (2) the care service for children with
care needs, and (3) childcare support for guardians. The new nintei-kodomoen will

8â•… Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan


begin operating in 2015 under the new system. Prior to this, “National Course of
Study on Nintei-kodomoen Education and Care” was made public on April 2014.
Because many challenges associated with promoting the new system remain,
numerous discussions have been needed to address questions such as whether to
establish a new ECEC teacher “hoiku-kyouyu” education system that combines
the national examination and qualification system for nursery teachers (one qualification level) and the kindergarten teacher qualification (three qualification levels)
under the public school system, and how to organize the training course.

8.2╇Contemporary Changes in Child Development
Environments in Japan
We are currently living in a rapidly changing society, and as such, the circumstances surrounding families and children are also constantly evolving. The ECEC
system in Japan is radically being reformed in response to the rapid changes
occurring in society and to families, such as the declining birth rate, increased
number of nuclear families, gender equality, and the corresponding diversification
of family needs. Because of these changes, parents are often isolated without help
with child rearing and can develop childcare-related stress and tendencies toward
ill-parenting. Moreover, with the increasing number of working parents, the number of children waiting to enter day nurseries has continued to grow. These issues
are considered to be the major factors contributing to developmental problems
seen in children such as a decrease in emotional control, weakened normative consciousness, and increase in egocentric behavior or bullying (The report of Central
Education Council 2005). Today, it is becoming increasingly important to develop
childcare facilities that provide high-quality ECEC education and ECEC teacher
education, which serve as the foundations for high-quality ECEC.
In addition, with increasing urbanization in Japan, the working population is
concentrated in urban areas where many companies are located, living mostly as
one-generation nuclear families in expensive yet small houses. Older generations
in such families are therefore no longer able to transmit their knowledge and skills
about child rearing and other matters to younger generations. Moreover, young
parents feel greater anxiety and stress about child rearing, and the increase in double-income families has resulted in the closing down and mergers of kindergartens. The increase in double-income families means more people need to put their
children into day care centers (resulting in longer waiting lists for them), but in
contrast, demand has fallen for kindergarten places due to their shorter opening
hours, which has lead to kindergarten closures.
All of these changes combine to cause developmental risks in children in early
childhood, and they can also exacerbate tendencies of ill-parenting. Thus, the need
for reforms in the ECEC system and higher standards for institutional care and
education are growing (Report of the Central Council of Education 1994).


K. Iwatate

8.3╇New Issues Generated by the Unification
of Kindergartens and Day Care Centers
Before discussing the effects of the movement toward the unification of teacher
education, I will introduce some basic data related to kindergartens, day care centers, and nintei-kodomoen in Japan. As shown in Table€8.1, there are many differences among the three systems.
Traditionally, there have been two types of preschool education facilities in Japan:
kindergartens and day care centers. Recently, however, unified facilities, “ninteikodomoen,” that operate a two-tiered, integrative system have been introduced.
Let us compare the aspects of kindergartens, day care centers, and ninteikodomoen as shown in Tables€8.1 and 8.2. First, kindergartens are regulated by
MEXT, while day care centers are regulated by MHLW. Meanwhile, ninteikodomoens are regulated by both MEXT and MHLW. In terms of the facilities
themselves, children who cannot be looked after by their parents because of work
commitments or illness and another reason typically go to day care centers. In
other words, day care centers exist as welfare facilities exclusively for children
who satisfy the requirement of “not being otherwise looked after.” Officially
approved day care centers only accept children whose parents are working or have
other commitments. However, as more mothers have begun working in recent
years, there are not enough day care centers to accommodate all eligible infants
under one year of age.
To reduce the long day care center waiting list, increasing numbers of nonapproved day care centers have been established that have less strict standards
than those required for officially approved nurseries.
Each type of facility is regulated by different laws; kindergartens are regulated by School Education Laws, and day care centers are regulated by the Child
Welfare Law. Nintei-kodomoens are regulated by children- and child-rearingrelated three laws.
The installation personnel must follow the “Kindergarten Standard for
Establishment” which outlines the minimum standard for establishing a kindergarten based on the School Education Law.
As for their target age-groups, kindergartens accept children between the ages
of 3 to 5, while day care centers accept those between 2€months to 5€years old.
Another difference can be seen in the teacher-to-child ratio. While one teacher
can look after up to 35 children regardless of their ages in kindergartens, the ratio
varies depending on the children’s ages in day care centers and nintei-kodomoens,
as shown in Table€8.1. However, it is difficult to meet national standards targets if,
for example, the class size for three-year-olds is as large as 35 children. Therefore,
in reality, the normal class size for three-year-olds in kindergartens is around 20.
The kindergarten curriculum is based on the Course of Study for Kindergarten
Education, while the day care center curriculum is based on the Guideline for Day
Care Center. The nintei-kodomoen curriculum is based on the National Course of
Study for Nintei-kodomoen Education and Care. The National Course of Study

Culture. Labor and Welfare Kindergarten Ministry of Education. Sports.1╇╖Basic information about ECEC in Japan Children and Child Care Support related three Laws 0–5€years 0~2 year old the same as day-care 3~5 year old 20~35:1 Nintei-kodomoen Ministry of Education. Science and Technology and Ministry of Health.To provide care for infants and young children who are not otherwise cared for Child Welfare Law 0–5€years Under 1 year old 3:1 1 year old 6:1 2 year old 6:1 3 year old 20:1 4 year old 30:1 5 year old 30:1 To educate young children through their environment. taking into consideration their specific needs at this age School Education Law 3–5€years 35:1 Purpose Age Number in one class (children:teacher) Law Jurisdiction Day-care center Ministry of Health. Science and Technology Table€8. Labor and Welfare (Cabinet Office from April 2015) To provide education and care for preschool children and child care support for their parents 8â•… Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan 115 . Sports. Culture.

etc.K. Special) Guideline for ECEC for Day Care Center 8 hours (standard) Mandatory Day-care Nurse License Nintei-kodomoen Type 1 A licensed kindergarten and a licensed day-care Type 2 A licensed kindergarten Type 3 A licensed day-care Type 4 Other than that above Course of Study for Nintei-kodomoen From 4 hours~11 hours Mandatory Day-care Nurse License for 0–2 year old Both of Kindergarten Certification and Day-care Nurse License for 3–5 year old (Even either is possible) for the time being and the Guideline for Day Care Center were revised in 2008. standards comparable to those for kindergartens were introduced into the guidelines for day nurseries to provide a similar quality of education and care in both types of facilities. there is only one type of childcare qualification available for day care teachers. and in particular. while day care centers are open for eight. day care centers provide meals as they are regarded as welfare facilities and therefore expected to accommodate children who cannot be looked after by their parents. The type of the certification increases with increased levels of education. School Cooperation. Kindergartens are usually open for 4€hours.2╇╖Basic information about ECEC in Japan Establishment Criteria of ECEC Hours Lunch Certification/ License Kindergarten National. School Cooperation. Day-care center Municipality. Special Welfare Cooperation. As more mothers are now working. 2. “azukari-hoiku” has developed in order to meet the growing demands of working parents. some kindergartens now also provide meals. Nintei-kodomoen also provides meals. All kindergarten teachers must be certified to teach kindergarten classes. university graduates obtain Type I certification. Those who graduated from two-year junior colleges or vocational schools obtain Type II certification. Municipality. known as. or by passing the national examination. some kindergartens are staying open longer to provide education and care after regular hours. . and those who complete a postgraduate master’s course obtain specialized teacher certification. This service. Most kindergartens ask children to bring their own lunch. Conversely. In contrast. etc. Course of Study for Kindergarten 4 hours (standard) Optional Kindergarten Certification (Type 1. in response to demand from working parents. Again. This qualification is obtained by completing a course offered by two-year junior colleges or vocational schools. Iwatate 116 Table€8.

but recently.8â•… Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan 117 To implement ECEC at unified facilities. or other facilities or non-institutional care. However.1 shows the entire school system in Japan. For example. childcare qualifications. The tuition fees of nintei-kodomoens are calculated using the same system as day care centers.1 2.2 . the Japanese education system is currently undergoing reform in the following two directions. as shown by the solid circle. Some universities that offer teacher education programs have a course specializing in ECEC for children aged between 0–12€years old. and elementary schools.8€% of 5-year-old children attend either a kindergarten or day nursery.9 41.3 40. no children under 2 attend kindergartens. Kindergartens are for children between 3–5€years old. state-. and thus. 97. and some children are eligible for free care.3╇╖Rate of children attending kindergarten and day nursery (%) Age (year) 0 1 2 3 4 5 Kindergarten 0 0 0 39.6 57 Source MEXT (2012a) School Basic Survey Day nursery 14.9 54. The first is in building partnerships between teachers and guardians and local Table€8. it was easier to construct curriculums within each school system even just a few years ago.2 4.7 66. the tuition fees for day cares. vary depending on family income. a number of issues affecting child development have surfaced. and elementary school teacher certificates. day nurseries.4 20. and non-state-administered kindergartens. Students who complete this course obtain kindergarten teacher certificates. transitional curriculums have been developed to fill the gap between kindergartens.6 39.8 Other 85. as part of the welfare system. day nurseries. Conversely. graduates of the preschool education course at Tokyo Gakugei University (TGU) obtain both the kindergarten teacher certificate and the day nursery teacher qualification as well as the elementary school teacher license. due to recent changes in Japanese society. As the dotted circle indicates.3 shows the percentage of children who attend kindergartens. Table€8. many universities for teacher education offer a course to those who want to acquire both kindergarten teacher certificate and a day care childcare qualification. the same fees are applied to all children who attend a particular kindergarten. To address these issues. Figure€8.1 74.9 25.3 33. Finally. although monthly tuition fees vary among government-.

but it was not until this conference that the issue had been systematically outlined.118 K.€8. teachers are now expected to be much more highly competent ECEC teachers to fully address these issues. The members of this conference discussed and reported on the following nine aspects of expertise: (1) humanity. The second is in providing quality ECEC on the basis of the continuity of children’s learning and development. a sense of responsibility and human concern as a kindergarten teacher. As a result of these changes. (2) competence and skills in the field of child learning and education in . Iwatate Fig. 8. ECEC professionals had until then agreed about the required expertise of ECEC teachers. the Conference for the Improvement of the Profession of Kindergarten Teachers was held by the Early Education Division of MEXT.1╇╖Japanese school systems communities.4╇Major Changes in Teacher Education Corresponding to ECEC Facilities in Japan In 2002.

For example. each differing with respect to its acquisition method and validity: the regular teaching certificate. (6) competence in working with elementary school teachers or other professionals. and it must be renewed by taking certificate renewal training given by a university. Recently. and (9) an understanding of human rights (MEXT 2002). (3) competence in laying out plans and executing them. (8) educational leadership of administrative positions. The curriculum of pre-service training for childcare workers at day care centers has also been revised in line with the reports from the task force established by the MHLW. and (4) the possibility of introducing an internship system.” which was organized by MHLW in 2010 during National Guideline for Day Nursery revisions. 8. “Task force for curriculum of day care teacher education. (2) competence to observe and understand children. The regular teaching certificate is the most common and is usually referred to as a “teaching license. (4) professionalism and collegiality.1╇Information About the Kindergarten Teacher Certificate and Day Care Teachers Credentials There are currently three teaching certificates available. (7) ability to collaborate with guardians and other individuals in the local community. has been revised several times in line with the report of the Council of Educational Personnel Training. A bachelor’s degree is the basic . including kindergarten teacher education. (5) ability to educate and care for children with special educational needs. A master’s degree is the basic qualification for an advanced certificate. A regular teaching certificate is valid for all prefectures in Japan. experts related to ECEC teacher education have tried to connect both curriculums and develop the new training curriculum to reflect these revisions. a person needs to obtain a certain number of additional credits for teaching (pedagogy) and professional subjects at a graduate school in addition to the requirements for a Type I certificate. (3) competence of execution of ECEC. Those are (1) the service of integrated care and education.4. “the theories of day care teachers” and “theory of ECEC curriculum in day care” were added. discusses the expertise of day care teachers and future challenges to cultivate these skills. However.8â•… Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan 119 child-centered play and kindergarten life. The period of validity is 10€years.” This certificate is issued by the prefectural boards of education upon a student’s completion of the necessary training program in a teacher training course at a university or teacher training institution designated by MEXT. it is notable that the above-mentioned conference felt the need to specifically discuss the expertise required of ECEC teachers. The curriculum of pre-service training for all school teacher education. the special teaching certificate. To earn such a certificate. The standards of these subject contents were revised by the task force in 2010. and the temporary teaching certificate.

K.3 Source MEXT Kindergarten Teacher Demographic Survey (2012b) None 5.3) 5. and 22. public. Moreover.9 55.4╇╖Number of kindergartens 2000 National 49 (0.236 (61. An associate degree from a junior college is the basic qualification for a Type II certificate. Table€8. more than 70€% had the two higher level certificates. there is only one kind of credential required to be a day nursery nurse.1 0.8 Type I 60.and national-university-associated kindergartens.6 40. the decrease in the number of public kindergartens was significantly greater than that of national or private ones. Table€ 8.5 shows the ratio of each teaching certificate which teachers working for national. the turnover rate in private kindergartens is higher than in public.4 shows the change in the number of kindergartens over a 10-year period.5) Total 14.923 (40. a person needs to obtain a certain minimum number of credits in classes related to teaching and subjects at a university to earn it.3 0.5╇╖Rates of kindergarten teacher certificates by type (2012) National Public Private Advanced 10.3) Public 5. and private kindergartens. Teachers with a Type II certificate are requested to also try to acquire a Type I certificate in a suitable or related field to the best of their abilities.8 0.107 (38. and a bachelor or associate degree is not required. Over this period.3 18. They are nationaluniversity-affiliated (abbr. However.3 Total 100 100 100 . 75.6€% had Type I certificates. National).059 lower than that in 2000.4 5.4€% of ECEC teachers in national kindergartens had advanced certificates. there are mainly three types of kindergartens. it is clear that an important task for the Japanese education system is to motivate Type II teachers to level up to Type I and strengthen teacher competence and improve the quality of ECEC practices.0) 13. Iwatate 120 qualification for a Type I certificate.9 Temporary 0. 10. Conversely.4 75.9€% had Type II certificates. that is. 60. The number of schools in 2010 was 1. Table€8.4 0. Over 70€% of teachers of all teachers with a kindergarten certificate have Type II.2) 8. As of 2012.8) 2010 49 (0.9€% of the teachers working in private kindergartens had Type II certificates.392 (100.0) Table€8.9) Private 8.8 3. and private kindergartens have.1 Type II 22. In Japan.479 (58. and in general.451 (100. Thus. public.

3╇Challenges of the Integration of Theory and Practice The existing teaching practice is insufficient for training competent teachers. While rich curriculums related to the profession of teaching. Recently. these practice experiences are not enough for students to learn teaching and care skills. In addition. the new subject “Teaching Profession Practical Seminar (Kyoshaku Jisten Enshu)” was established in 2010 by MEXT. 8. more intensive teaching practice programs spanning the freshman to senior years of education and pre-service mentoring programs. As there are three kinds of certificates available to those learning at kindergarten teacher training courses. basic educational theory. Recent endeavors to better integrate theory and practice are noticeable in changes including longer.8â•… Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan 121 8. Therefore. classes related to health.4. on the other hand. Although MEXT and MHLW have started discussing the possibility of the unification of qualification certificates and new guidelines for practitioners in such unified facilities. it seems that students hoping to become teachers will need to obtain both types of certifications for the foreseeable future. and welfare are mainly only available in the curriculum of day nursery nurse credentials. students studying to be teachers and in-service teachers are motivated to continue their education to obtain a certificate of a higher level. For those who wish to become day care teachers.4. To partly remedy this problem. Four weeks of teaching practice in a kindergarten is required as part of the training to become a kindergarten teacher. . Figure 8. Three sets of 2-week practice in a nursery school and other welfare institutions are required for the training to become a day care teacher. Students at 4-year universities obtain not only those two certificates or credentials but also an elementary school teacher’s certificate. there is only one kind of credential. a large number of faculty and staff members of teachers colleges and senior colleges have worked hard on designing the new subject to integrate theory and practice. such endeavors require considerable time. family support. However.2 shows the differences between the curriculums of kindergarten teacher courses and those of day care teachers courses (MHLW).2╇Revision of Pre-service Training Curriculums Many students in pre-service education courses hope to obtain both a kindergarten teaching certificate and childcare minder credentials in light of the establishment of new unified facilities. or curriculum development are available in the curriculums for obtaining a kindergarten teacher’s certificate. current teachers and administration officials have pointed out low levels of practical skills and competence as problematic issues of recently certified teachers (Report of Central Education Council 1994).

Optional required 9 Units. take research guidance . Human Life Environment Studies.€8. Art and Crafts. Teaching duties and tenure of teachers e. *4 : Liberal Arts 8 Units. and “Expression”. Music.g. *3 : You can subtract existing units for First or Second class License to get upper License. Iwatate 122 Kindergarten Teacher's Certificate Basic Certificate Course Term Requisite Units Liberal Arts Classes of Teaching Subjects Day-Care Nurse Credential Advanced TypeI TypeII Master Bachelor Associate 2 years 4 years 2 years 30 units (*1) 124 units 62 units None Basic Certificate Course Term Requisite Units Required Physical Exercise More than 2 years 2 The Constitution of Japan. ) Profession e. Understanding Required Contents and Mathod 2 2 1 1 6 Expression Skill of ECE Seminar of ECEC Practice Practice of ECEC Requisite Units by The Teacher’s License Law (*3) 83 59 39 Minimum Requisite Units for Graduation 30 124 62 Optional Practice of ECECIIor III 2 Units Required Supervision of Practice of ECEC II or III 2 Units Units required from No. “Language”. “Human Relationship”. Required More than 6 Significance of Teaching Profession and Roles of Teachers Classes of Contents of Duties (contained in-service training. Use of Computer Equipment (2 units each) 8 National Language Math. Arts and Crafts. Foreign Language Communication. Physical Exercise) 4 2 2 2 Classes of Essential quality /Goals of ECEC Required Theory of ECEC Teachers and Child Minders 2 8 8 Liberal Arts Optional Foreign Language etc. Requires 51 Units. Physical Exercise (more than 1 of these.K. (*2)) 6 6 4 Expression Skill of ECEC Required (e. Music.193 Notification Law 2001 3 68 (*4) *1 : You have to be registered to the master course more than two years and get more than 30 units. Physical Exercise. *2 : “related contents of these subjects” are “Health”. Management and Institutional Elements of Education Classes of Teaching Profession Classes of Essential quality /Goals of ECEC Classes of Understanding of Learners 6 6 4 18 18 12 2 2 2 Teaching Practice 5 5 5 Practice of ECEC Practical Seminar of Teaching Profession 2 2 2 Seminar of ECEC Practice 34 10 0 Significance of Curriculum and Method of Organizing it Classes of Curriculum and Method of ECEC Contents Method of Instruction Method and Skills of Education (Computer Equipment and Application of Teaching Materials ) Pupil Theory and Method of Understanding of Guidance Edu Children cational Consultation Theory and Method of Educational Consultation and Career (contained the Basic Knowledge of Counseling) Guidance Classes of Teaching Profession or Teaching Subjects Required Required Principle of Education 2 Principle of ECEC 2 Psychology of ECEC I 2 Psychology of ECEC II 1 Classes of Required Theory of ECEC Curriculum Understanding Contents and Mathod General Thory of ECEC Required of ECEC Seminar of Contents of ECEC Classes of Essential quality /Goals of ECEC Classes of Understanding of Learners Required Teaching Practice I Required Supervising of Teaching Practice I 1 5 6 Required Seminar of ECEC Practice 2 Required Child and Family Welfare 2 Required Social Welfare 2 Required Consultation and Helpinng 1 Required Social Caring 2 Required Child Health I 4 Required Child Health II 1 Required Dietary Education and Nourishment of Child Heal 2 Required Theory of Family Support 2 Required ECEC of Infant and Todder Classes of Required ECEC of Children with Special Needs Understanding Contents and Mathod Required Contents of Social Caring of ECEC Required Consultation and Support of ECEC Original Free choice classes 2 Classes of Essential quality /Goals of ECEC Classes of Understanding of Learners Classes of Optional 6 Units Required from Subjects in the left line.complete master thesis and to pass the final exam to graduate master course.g. Various Experience of Deciding their Course Philosophical construct of Education and History and Thought of Education Classes of Basic Process of Physical and Psychological theory of Development in Early Childhood and Childhood Teaching Profession Social. related contents of these subjects. “Environment”.2╇╖Differences between the curriculums of kindergarten teacher courses and it of day-care nurse courses . Fig.g.

and in-service mentor training by university faculty and staff. however. administrative in-house training is important because the . (3) in-service training appropriate to the professional development level of the teacher. such as public funding systems to control both in-service and pre-service training.€8. a project by the Consortium of TGU and Shiraume Gakuen University (SGU) has been the first to experiment with a new mentoring system for preschool teacher education in Japan. the idea of mentoring in education typically refers to an experienced or veteran teacher guiding a novice during the first year or two of teaching. and (4) motivation for private training. Further. 2010). In-service training is very important because the quality of pre-service training differs according to the curriculum and teaching staff of each junior college or university. preschools. and elementary schools. The purpose of the project is to develop and support a mentoring system for highly qualified preschool teachers in collaboration with local school boards.8â•… Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan 123 For example. (2) improvement of the quality of teaching practice. given the current limitations and constrains. NTCC in Fig. and (2) “a field coordinator” travels to different centers to support the relationship between student teachers and mentors or to foster the relationship of them (Aoki et€al.4. The project contains “pre.” the “unique orientation of student teachers. opportunities such as in-service training are provided in-house at preschools.” The project endeavors to construct a learning community to support and develop highly qualified preschool teachers. In the USA.4╇In-Service Training Appropriate to the Career Stage of Teachers Figure€ 8. and because of the need for consistency in educational administration of schools.” The amendment and revision of laws related to education should include reforms of the National Course of Study and other systems related to education. Four factors might influence the future improvement of the teaching profession: (1) curriculum revision. and administrative training as well as dispatch or advanced training is provided at the university and graduate school levels. a unique mentoring program has been developed in which student teachers receive mentoring for one school year from an experienced preschool teacher. The unique points of our programs are (1) not only mentees but mentors have to take training before the start of mentoring.” and MSB means “Municipal School Board.” “case study meetings. In-house training should basically be carried out spontaneously in each kindergarten.3 means “National Teacher Training Center.3 shows the embedded and hierarchical training system for in-service kindergarten teachers. However.” PSB means “Prefectural School Board.” and “lectures on demand for many individuals related to preschool education. 8. In the TGU and SGU project.

The unification of the kindergarten and day care systems will necessitate that the ECEC teacher education system changes accordingly. Iwatate Fig.3╇╖Teacher training system in Japan (MEXT) quality of practice and the school climate for practical study differs according to each school. Currently. the Japanese ECEC teacher education system is facing a major turning point in relation to the change in family and children’s needs. another new system of ECE reform entitled “Child and Child Rearing Support System” is being developed. However. which emerged and evolved separately over a lengthy period. This integration was followed by the founding of a new integrated facility called “nintei-kodomoen” in 2006. It is therefore anticipated that evidenced-based research and reform will be required in the near future.5╇Conclusion As stated earlier. these reforms are not based on evidence provided by the studies of child development or ECEC. in particular not on longitudinal research evidence.€8. We need to start educating teachers using new curricula that combine the previous separate curriculums . as well as the integration of the kindergarten and day care systems. 8.124 K.

Science and Technology (MEXT) (文部科学省) (2012b) 学校教員統計調査—平成22年度結果の概要—http://www.. Sports. K. Science and Technology (MEXT) (文部科学省) (2002) 幼稚園教員の資質向上について—自ら学ぶ幼稚園教員のために—幼稚園教員の資質 向上に関する調査研究協力者会議報告書. and quality assurance of early childhood education and care. Y. M. References Aoki. junior college. History and problems of the training of the teachers of kindergarten. (1978). Culture. http://www.mhlw.mext. 17–31. Ministry of Education. Labor and welfare.htm Ministry of Health. and pre-service and inservice training.go. 61(1).html . (2013) Historical analysis of quality assurance of kindergarten education in Japan. 15–23. http://www. Sports.. go. In conclusion. Bulletin of Tokyo Gakugei University. Labor and welfare (MHLW) (厚生労働省) (2013) 保育士養成課程等検討 会 第9回 保育士養成課程等検討会資料. Sports. Sports. 114–144. T.mhlw. Science and Technology (MEXT) (2008). Ministry of Health. Course of Study for Kindergarten. Morishita. Culture. Science and Technology (MEXT) (文部科学省) (2012a) 学校基本調査報告書.go. we must improve teacher education programs by including longer teaching practice or other new challenges that integrates both theory and practice. Guideline of Day Nursery. (2010) Support for pre-service student teachers in the field of kindergarten: Roles and challenges of filed-coordinators supporting teacher/student mentoring.pdf Ministry of Yukawa K. & Iwatate. Ministry of ngi/2r9852000002ugji. Bulletin of Kyushu Otani Junior College. Kiyohara. we need to engage in evidence-based research about the effects of teacher education with respect to every stage of ECEC practitioners. In Cross cultural study of educational contents. 「幼稚園教諭免許状と保育士資格に関する資格要件の比較」http://www. Ministry of usa01/kyouin/kekka/k_detail/1319073. Culture. Culture. evaluation in early childhood education and care facilities.8â•… Current Issues in ECEC Teacher Education in Japan 125 with some new challenges in each university. Furthermore.mext. Central Council for Education (中央教育審議会) (2005) (答申)子どもを取り巻く環境の変化 を踏まえた今後の幼児教育の在り方について -子どもの最善の利益のために幼児教 育を考える-.go.

Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. (eds. In 2006. the second largest in the world. it was more than 2. From 1978 to 2010.5 billion RMB to 39. Furthermore.5€% of the world average (UNDP 2007). Australia © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. it is still a developing country in terms of GDP per capita. China L. it advanced amidst turbulence in the next two centuries. reaching 1. Feng Deng and Liwei Liu 9. Brisbane. China e-mail: minyili@bnu. although the country experienced catastrophes.744 dollars in 2009 (World Bank 2011). also much higher than the OECD countries by 1. Deng€ Beijing Institute of Technology. M. Accordingly. 2007).8 and 1. about 128 million people still live below the national poverty line of RMB 2. China’s per capita GDP was for the first time more than 1. New Frontiers of Educational Research. Even though China has achieved intensive and extensive growth since 1978.7983 trillion RMB.000 dollars. DOI 10.1007/978-3-662-44986-8_9 127 . China’s GDP per capita of $6. the annual growth rate of China’s per capita GDP from 1990 to 2005 was 8. In 2012.069 dollars. the highest in the first of the BRIC countries.8 a day) based on the World Bank’s data.042 dollars. Liu€ Queensland University of Technology. the per capita GDP increased every year. Beijing. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew from 364.1╇Introduction China was the world’s leading economy from the early 1500s until the early 1800s (Maddison 2001.300 per year (about $1.8€%. up to 2. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).edu.).Chapter 9 How to Advance the Initial Training System for Chinese Kindergarten Teachers in a New Era Minyi Li.091 ranked 90th in the F.000 dollars. Beijing. In 2001. Li€(*)€ Beijing Normal University. HUO et al. China had moved from the category of low-income countries into the ranks of middleincome countries in 2006 (National Bureau of Statistics 2009). and was 3. Then.

such as performing health screenings. 80€% of the population was illiterate. During over the last three decades. after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. Fang Duan.1 inside the Yuemachang primary school in Wuhan and hired three Japanese teachers. middle (4-year-olds) and seniors (5-year-olds). respectively. Since then. There were only 11. modern preprimary education became an organic part of public education in the early twentieth century. also known as the Classic of Changes. the I Ching. Children are generally grouped by age in kindergarten. In 1903. They also provide other health-related services. Government regulations in 1981 recommended three groupings: juniors (3-year-olds). and the Preprimary Education Office was set in the Department of Basic Education (Tang et€al. the governor of Hubei Province. For example.3€% of the total (World Bank 2011).128 M. Hubei Kindergarten. which could be tracked down to one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. However. In 2008. education development has strongly supported training talent for the rise of China. the national primary school enrollment rate reached 99. with regard to budgetary share. Each group typically has two teachers and a nurse. preprimary education only received 1. and preprimary education has entered a new stage of development as a national priority.5€% and the higher education gross enrollment rate was 23. Zhouyi and Yijing. . preschools have a different name “you er yuan” (幼儿园). which literally means “kindergarten” in Chinese. with unprecedented development in schooling and massive expansion of higher education. preprimary education has become an important part of public education and a “step on the road” to China’s rise. affluent centers also often have one or more doctor on the staff to care for sick or injured children.5€%.2╇Preprimary Education as a National Priority China has a long history of promoting ideas about how to help children to reach their full potentials. and primary and secondary school enrollment rates were only 20 and 6€%. Large. preprimary education has been long neglected. In November 1949.3€% of the budgetary expenditure in 2008. However. the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the Central People’s Government was established. including Tono Michie. education has played an important role in China’s economic prosperity. Li et al. usually ranging from 20 to 40 children. 2009). which of junior middle school reached 98. which began the history of Chinese public preprimary education and introduced Japanese Froebel kindergarten theory and practice (Jingzheng 2005).3€% (Education Bureau 1╇ In mainland China. Things have changed since 2010. In 1949. a graduate of Tokyo Women’s Higher Teachers College. Class size increases with age.7 million students in school. giving immunizations and planning nutritious meals. while the enrollment accounted for 9. usually referring to full-day programs serving 3–6-year-old children with a focus on education and care. 9. Book of Changes. Since 1949. established the first preprimary education institution.

More exciting. preprimary education could be an effective tool to enhance education quality and an anti-poverty strategy to build up a better society and long-term prosperity. rendering them unable to meet the society’s growing needs. On November 24. As the starting point for basic education.2. recognizing the social and economic dividends that quality early learning opportunities reap for its human capital in the long term. It ranked preprimary education as one of the top eight tasks of education reform in the next decade.1╇A Road Map of Universal Preprimary Education That was a landmark year in the history of the development of Chinese preprimary education. lacking resources that could benefit more people. 9. 2010.” In 3 years. the Chinese government issued the “Outline of China’s National Plan for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development (2010–2020)” (hereinafter referred to as the “Outline”). the State Council issued the “Commentary on the Current Development of Preprimary education” (Office of the State Council 2010-11-24) and developed preprimary education as important to the protection and improvement of people’s livelihood. 100 million children under the age of six in China stand to benefit from increased access to high-quality preprimary education. Since the second decade of twenty-first century. the Chinese government has made early childhood development a national priority. with an entire chapter dedicated to outlining its planning and deployment.9â•… How to Advance the Initial Training System … 129 for the Party Group 2009). preprimary education was a weak component. only half of the children entering first grade had received three years of preprimary education. In a word. it set out “the basic development goal of popularizing preprimary education. The government used a full range of system designs for preprimary education. regional governments were required to prepare a three-year action plan at the county level to effectively alleviate the problem of inadequate access to . Furthermore. Shanghai 15-year-old students (M€ =€561) with more than one-year preprimary education scored 66 points higher than those (M€ =€495) without any preprimary education in reading achievement. PISA 2009 results have showed that. On July 29. This figure shows that although an important part of the national education system. In 2009. developed a series of strong policy measures. Meanwhile. and implemented its responsibility to expand resources. and organize teacher groups and regulate management. ensure the investment. In addition. there was inadequate investment in and unbalanced development of kindergartens in urban and rural regions. As the country with the largest population in the world. Even the social economic status was controlled to estimate.86€% in 2009. the gross enrollment of one-year kindergartens should reach 70€% and by 2020 up to 95€% (Xinhua News Agency 2010-7-29). the gross enrollment rate of preprimary education was 50. on average. the big gap still remained 42 points (OECD 2010).

Li et al. and the gross enrollment rates of one-year and three-year kindergartens would reach 95 and 70€%.2╇Tremendous Gaps Between Urban and Rural Areas Need to Be Addressed In 2008. the State Council held a national preschool television and telephone conference to fully implement the “Commentary on the Current Development of Preprimary education. Taking the mortality rate of children under age 5 as an example. but only 43€% of the total can enroll in rural kindergartens (World Bank 2011).1).400 85 70 60 In 2020 4. On December 1 2010.1€% in the country. 61€% of China’s populations aged 0–6€years live in rural areas. China’s dual economic structure and the Hukou resident registration system make the difference between urban and rural areas a more serious problem.9€%. In 2008. Roughly. 130 Table€9. one-third of the 3-year-old children were left behind by their migrant parents. in 1991. Although health care for children in rural areas has improved in terms of quantity. the average quality of health services received by these children today has not even reached the average quality provided in cities in 1991. According to the National Bureau of Statistics. Thirty-Four percentage 6-month babies had anemia in rural China.” The introduction of these policies and measures meant that preprimary education had entered a new stage of development. while in rural areas it was as high as 22. the development of preprimary education in China has stepped into a golden decade (Table€9. it was 20.08€% of the total population in 1978 but fell to 54. health. There would be 40 million children in kindergartens by 2020.2. respectively (Xinhua News Agency 2010-7-29).9€% in the city and 71.7€% (National Bureau of Statistics 2009). China is still an agricultural country with more than half of its population in rural areas. and most of them were cared by their grandparents who have lower educational attainment and have less knowledge and information about nutrition.M.32€% in 2008 (National Bureau of Statistics 2009). and education than the parents.1╇╖Goals of the development of ECE according to the “Outline” Preprimary education The number of children in kindergartens Gross enrollment rate of one-year preschool Gross enrollment rate of two-year preschool Gross enrollment rate of three-year preschool Unite People (ten thousands) % % % In 2015 3. According to the reform blueprint. the rate in cities declined to 7. China’s rural population was 82. .000 95 80 70 kindergartens. Despite more than 30€years of rapid development. 9.

1╇╖Urban and rural distribution of full-time kindergarten teachers. Moreover. and less than 15€% had senior titles.1). In China. and the salary system has long needed attention. accounting for only 22.3) show that 38.203. take Fig. In 2001.34€% in rural areas. the number of full-time kindergarten teachers in cities and towns accounted for 59.25€% of educators were principals. those in rural areas still accounted for only 24. high fees for students and low wages for teachers coexist in preprimary education. In addition. In 2000. the number of full-time kindergarten teachers in rural areas decreased significantly to 546.32€% in 2008 (National Bureau of Statistics 2009).1€% of the total by 2010.3╇Poor Teacher Quality Data on educators’ academic background and titles in 2010 (Figs.€9.€9.9â•… How to Advance the Initial Training System … 131 Fig.53€% of principals and full-time kindergarten teachers graduated from senior high school or had less education. .€9. Considering that China had a rural population of 54.97€% of the total. rural preprimary education undoubtedly is the weakest part of the Chinese education system (Fig. in terms of universal preprimary education with enough qualified kindergarten teachers. the status of kindergarten teachers is vague. Education Statistics from 2000 to 2010) A consideration of the urban and rural distribution of full-time kindergarten teachers reveals an even greater difference between the two areas. 9.66€% of the total. full-time kindergarten teachers had no titles. (Source Ministry of Education.2 and 9.€9. especially in the private sectors.2. Although the number of full-time kindergarten teachers has been growing slowly. and less than 13€% were college undergraduates. Such a group of educators cannot provide high-quality preprimary education. 64. with only 40. How to target the most disadvantaged children is one of the most challenging problems for Chinese government.3 for example.

Fig. (Source Ministry of Education.3╇╖Titles of principals and full-time kindergarten teachers in 2010. especially in eastern China and developed regions. but stable job with good welfare benefit payments.€9. Education Statistics in 2010) Fig.2╇╖Education level of principals and full-time kindergarten teachers in 2010. Li et al. teachers in primary and secondary schools have opportunities to supplement . as a well-respected profession in China. teaching has attracted quality talents. Particularly in big cities.132 M.3╇Initial Training System of Kindergarten Teachers in€Fragment Traditionally.€9. (Source Ministry of Education. Education Statistics in 2010) 9. Teaching is a moderate paid.

4). Normal colleges. teaching methods. they must pass the National Mandarin Language Test. Candidates must demonstrate teaching abilities such as classroom management as part of this examination.4╇╖Distribution of colleges and professions for kindergarten teachers training (2009). Finally. they must take four examinations in the areas of pedagogy.1╇Unequal Developments in Training Institutions Firstly. Similarly. which makes the profession attractive to many top candidates. while that of vocational teachers show an opposite trend (Fig. Teachers in China are educated in one of three types of schools. That is why we could find China had the highest Teacher Status Index ranking out of 21 surveyed countries. Fig. which requires two additional steps. Teachers who attend a university for teacher education are exempt from the four examinations because it is assumed that they will have this knowledge as a result of their program of study. On the contrary. the number of schools training primary school teachers and the number of professions training secondary school teachers increase gradually from east to west. Following the receipt of the required diploma. psychology. typically train junior secondary teachers for two years following upper secondary school. afterward. 9. and teaching ability. the number of schools training teachers in special education grows incrementally from east to west. (Source Teacher Education Office. normal universities train upper secondary teachers in a four-year bachelor’s degree program (Zhu and Han 2006).€9.€9. Special upper secondary schools can qualify teachers for preprimary and primary positions with the equivalent of a high school diploma. meaning that teacher programs often have the first choice of many top students.9â•… How to Advance the Initial Training System … 133 income through tutoring. the Ministry of Education 2012) . China also had the most respondents stated they would encourage their child to become a teacher. equivalent to a junior college. top normal universities allow priority admissions to Â� teacher candidates in undergraduate programs.3. teachers must be certified. the number of schools training kindergarten teachers drops gradually from east to west. Furthermore. First. with an index of 100.

and 84. which account for 81. in college-level training and secondary-school-level training. which are special upper secondary schools. while there are 283 and 2. leading to oversupply of unqualified teachers.76€% of the total number of schools training kindergarten teachers (Fig. And the trend is more obvious in the secondary school level. college level. Moreover.9€%. and comprehensive universities to vocational schools and special upper secondary schools. in respect of training levels.53.100 students on campus.299 schools.€9. Li et al. Report on the Construction of Modern Teacher Education System in China 2012) Secondly. college. the number of normal schools is far less than that of other kinds of schools. A survey shows that the supply of students majoring . teachers in China are educated in one of three types of schools. In terms of kindergarten teachers.€9. and secondary school level. with 542. 13. (Source Teacher Education Office. accounting for 94. but lower the professional levels of training institutions.2╇Low-Level Initial Training with Unqualified Student€Teachers Currently.1€%.04. most of them are educated in special upper secondary schools. in terms of the quantity of different training institutions. Firstly. there are 169 schools offering undergraduate-level training. Thus. in terms of the number of students. there were 128.182 non-normal upper secondary schools. constituting 65€% of the total graduates in preschool education in 2010. respectively. Fig. the Ministry of Education.3. And the graduation rates for each training level in 2010 were 2. and secondary school levels.5). which do not enhance the whole level of kindergarten teacher training. and normal universities. normal colleges.43€%.134 M. 9. Training levels cover undergraduate. there are a large variety of training institutions involving kindergarten teacher training. where there are 2. for undergraduate level. What is more.5╇╖Types of schools training kindergarten schools (2009).800 students graduated from non-normal upper secondary schools. large numbers of non-normal upper secondary schools participate in kindergarten teacher training at secondary school level. accounting for 66. normal colleges. respectively. arranging from normal universities. but show a trend of de-professionalism and poor education as a whole.

which further exacerbate the poor quality of students (Pang 2008). some training institutions intently lower the enrollment standards for survival. On the contrary.13€%. the training mode represented by special upper secondary schools is characterized with strong “de-professionalism. This year. Therefore. and the proportion of 400–500 points and more than 500 points was 34. while ours is only 400 points. their course arrangement and teaching practice are relatively arbitrary. many schools without the ability to offer training courses recruit large numbers of preprimary education students irresponsibly through joint recruitment.” emphasizing on skills training without consideration of teachers’ own “professionalism. they are lack of training experience and weak in training faulty.37€%. Heads from some training institutions even said that “In the past. but neglecting skills and practice. with 300–400 points constituting 47. practice base.49 and 1. the number of students with more than 550 points accounted for 95€% in 1999 (Peng and Pi 2006).” focusing on basic theories and academic research. teacher training faulty. the training for kindergarten teachers becomes polarized. changing name to recruit. Among the five-year students recruited in 2004 by a normal college in preprimary school in Guangdong Province. especially the mixed usage of teaching materials.3╇Theory-Oriented Versus Practice-Oriented in€Training€Curriculum Currently.01€%. the student quality shows an obvious declining trend. A survey shows that this kind of school on the one hand emphasizes on basic theory course and neglects practice. etc. student quality from some schools with low educational capability and low professionalism drops significantly (Zhao and Zhu 2010). which are mainly qualified with low academic diploma (Zhang et€al. the number of students under 300 points accounted for 17. .. The training mode represented by normal universities is characterized with strong “academism. respectively. with serious loss of students and more choices for students. And in order to meet the enrollment plan. 2011). With large number of non-normal secondary and upper secondary schools participate in kindergarten teacher training. etc. such as Zhejiang and Hunan. is far more than the actual demand (Pang 2008). A survey shows that under the influence of unification in tuition fees and self-selected career system. our enrollment score line was as high as that of first-class senior high school. afflicted enrollment.” Such upper secondary school is lack of related training experiences and infrastructure. By contrast. Usually.3. some comprehensive schools participating in kindergarten teachers training would face both of these two problems. In the meantime.9â•… How to Advance the Initial Training System … 135 in preprimary education at secondary school level in some provinces. 9. but now only girls who cannot enter university come here. Students’ learning ability is quite poor” (Pang 2008). the score line of the first-class senior high of our city is more than 610 points. on the other hand.

6).4╇Ways Forward 9. The birth peak of the last century was in 1990 when the population reached 26. which entitles them to a second child.7€% except for special upper secondary schools. In secondary school level of kindergarten teachers training. In terms of academic training of kindergarten teachers in different levels in 2010. though more than 200. In the secondary level. Many of the young couples were raised as single children.000 students graduated from preprimary education in 2010.3€% of the total students in secondary schools. From 2010 to 2020. The children of a 1980s baby boom have come of age and now make up most of the married couples.492 normal students majoring in preprimary Fig. http://www. the need for kindergarten teachers increases largely.04€% of the total undergraduate students majoring in preprimary t20120702_390723. but since 2006 has increased steadily. graduates with bachelor’s degree and college diplomas were only 31.2.21 million. there were 208.€9. at the undergraduate level. Overall. China’s population has had new trends and challenges. accounting for 19.html) .1╇More Qualified Kindergarten Teachers in Need At the same time.4. from which we could see that normal schools play an important role in kindergarten teachers training at undergraduate level.136 M. gov. forcing all levels of government to respond. was too high. the contradiction between demand and supply has become exceptional. obviously. which have no dominant positions.€9. which is a big challenge for teacher supply.chinapop. This new fertility peak could be seen coming (Fig. which was much higher than what kindergartens needed (118. According to the data in Table€9. (Source National Population and Family Planning Commission of China (2011). Development Report of National Population and Family Planning Programs in 2011. the birth rate dropped. students in both normal universities and colleges were 17. Therefore. accounting for 52. Li et al.800). 9. Table€9. The proportion. Then.206. other secondary schools accounted for 80. students in special upper secondary schools were 158.359.6╇╖Number of births from 2006–2011 in China.2 shows the kindergarten teacher training in different academic levels. Questions regarding how to expand the scale of preprimary education and increase the penetration rate have been voiced by the majority of parents.

accounting for 7. There were 1. if normal schools want to play the main part in teacher training.065 15.2╇Reconstruction of the Initial Training System for Kindergarten Teachers Kindergartens face double problems. increase the enrollments of preprimary education major students in undergraduate and college levels appropriately to enhance the academic levels of kindergarten teachers.321 preprimary education major undergraduate students in comprehensive universities in 2010.445 542.436 6.4.633 53.502 200 283 117 16. 9.239 86.4€% of the total number of students on campus.679 Unit: person Source Teacher Education Office.089 700.299 2.2╇╖Kindergarten teachers training in different academic levels Undergraduate level College level Secondary school level Total Types of€school Normal universities Others Total Normal universities Normal colleges Others Total Special upper secondary schools Others Total Number of€school 80 Number of€graduates 2.804 169. So.055 26. Second. in the training of kindergarten teachers.636 15. there were 2.128 332.862 Students on€campus 17.780 17.196 39.136 5.524 28.359 2. The main reason for this is that at secondary school level. It is clear that comprehensive schools participate less in kindergarten teachers training.751 129.866 226.705 7.198 65. which are shortage of high-qualified teachers and excess of unqualified teachers.584 200.425 35 3.038 17.9â•… How to Advance the Initial Training System … 137 Table€9.859 33. non-normal schools have trained excessive kindergarten teachers. largely reduce . First.119 3.166 158. the training of kindergarten teachers could make adjustments from two aspects.182 2.448 819. the Ministry of Education 2012 education in normal schools.206 89 169 48 2.257 12.02€% of the total. Kindergarten teachers training in this kind of schools must be restricted.495 292. only constituting 25.78€% of the total number.086 6.531 preprimary education major college students in comprehensive schools. In terms of comprehensive universities’ participation in kindergarten teachers training.950 Enrollment 5. normal schools do not play the main role currently. accounting for 1. Thus.

should be improved. 138 the training recruitment of kindergarten teachers with high school diploma to Â�balance the supply and s6200/index.html . To solve the problem of shortage of kindergarten teachers.40€% 193. http://www.4 0.3╇╖The current conditions of the number and academic levels of kindergarten teachers and the predicted targets (ten thousands) Total Proportion of master’s degree Proportion of bachelor’s degree Proportion of college diploma Proportion of high school diploma and below In 2010 Targets in 2016 114. especially other secondary schools except for special upper secondary 6€% 29€% 65€% 0 Source The Ministry of Education.4 3€% 17€% 60€% 20€% Targets in 2020 266. special upper secondary schools have trained much more kindergarten teachers than needed.M.10€% 12. universal access to one-year preprimary education. Table€9. increasing enrollment in preprimary education major students on the condition of expanding schools with free-educated normal students. the gross enrollment rate of three-year kindergartens was only 50. and both quantity and quality of kindergartens. reducing the training scale of kindergarten teachers in this kind of schools is one of the focuses to solve the problem of oversupply of kindergarten teachers. Therefore. Increasing the scale of kindergarten teachers training and its levels is the main way to promote the construction on the whole (Table€9.30€% 39. Preprimary education in China has lagged behind for a long time. the quantity and quality of kindergarten teachers become obstacles and the keys to construction of the initial training system for kindergarten teachers.20€% 48. a group of local normal colleges of preprimary education should be built. which cannot meet the educational needs of school-aged children. basically universal access to two-year preprimary education and universal access to three-year preprimary education in conditional regions… implement the standard of kindergarten teacher qualification The “Outline” states clearly that “promote the development of preprimary education. Li et al. strengthen kindergarten teachers training and improve the whole quality of kindergarten teachers…we should focus on the development of rural preschool education to expand access to preprimary education in rural areas. The plan of local schools with free-educated normal students should in accordance with the recruitment and training policies of central or provincial co-constructing schools to promote the construction of preprimary education professions in special upper secondary schools and enlarge the enrollment.” With the acceleration of development of preprimary education in China. in 2020. According to the statistics collected by the Ministry of Education.9€% in 2009. Though teachers with secondary school level education are needed in kindergartens currently.3).

100 teachers are needed each year. while college and undergraduate levels were far below secondary school level.5862 1. data of 2010 show that kindergarten teachers were mainly educated in secondary school level (including special upper secondary schools).300 more kindergarten teachers in the next 7€years. while the proportion of secondary school level drops gradually. respectively.2950 0.52 – 0.9780 6.09 22.42 – – 12. while 232.96 1.6055 16.25 5.31 3.91 – 23. undergraduate. Therefore. between 2013 and 2015. Therefore. and postgraduate level increases.4 and 9.6257 2. But in terms of the training scale and levels of kindergarten teachers.28 54.06 Numbers in need in 2016–2020a 2.9804 20.5425 – 11.3636 1. with 29 and 6€%.90 – 15. and the proportion of college.51 1.62 0.5859 8.3705 0.4╇╖The comparison of the training scale of training institutions for kindergarten teachers and the need for kindergarten teachers in 2013–2020 Training in 2010 Graduates Enrollments Students on campus – Numbers in need in 2013–2015a 1. 129.40 Postgraduate level Undergraduate level Normal universities Others College level Normal universities Normal colleges Others Secondary school level Special upper secondary schools Others Total in need – – 0. with 17 and 3€%. the Ministry of Education. there will be 1.62 1.630.97 – 0 – 0 3.600 are needed among 2016 and 2020 (see Tables€9.5). which was far less to reach the practical need. no matter in number of students on campus or graduate.82 0.3239 81.43 8. the proportion of levels upper college would reach 100€% in 2020.21 3. for undergraduates and postgraduates. Report on the Construction of Modern Teacher Education System in China 2012 According to the prediction made by Development and Planning Office in the Ministry of Education.7524 33.8359 – – 12.2089 93. the outline to .9â•… How to Advance the Initial Training System … 139 Table€9.6495 37.7038 1. for undergraduates and postgraduates.26 a The data are predicted according to the need given by Development and Planning Office in the Ministry of Education (the proportion of levels upper college would reach 80€% in 2016. respectively. taking the urgent need of preprimary education and the difficulty in reconstruction of kindergarten teacher training system in China into consideration.2136 2.) Source Teacher Education Office.6436 0.5633 15.7502 – – 1.34 0.7206 – – 0.

the recruitment of preprimary education major students in non-normal schools should be reduced or stopped.46 2. Li et al.).92 Numbers in need in 2016–2020 1. Chinese economic performance in the long run: 960–2030 A. The world economy: A millennial perspective. and western cities and countries in 2013–2016 (ten thousands) Cities Towns Countries Total Eastern area Numbers in need in 2013–2015 1. (2nd edn.M.46 8. in some western provinces lack of kindergarten teacher training institutions. These schools can choose to run the school with normal schools to cut down the scale of secondary-school-level training or transfer teaching resources to expand the training scale in college level and implement orientation training in rural areas. (2005). . A. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).5╇╖Prediction of kindergarten teachers in need in eastern. through upgrading of special upper secondary schools and combination with normal schools.12 1.7 2.01 Source Teacher Education Office. the Ministry of Education. cn/jg60nxgbd_8385/20091010/t20091010_411749.29 4. Maddison.04 1. according to regional differences. 58–60.64 2.68 1. T. Secondly.33 3.92 Central area Numbers in need in 2013–2015 1. 7–8.37 5. (2007). we could increase the training scale in college and undergraduate levels and encourage capable and comprehensive schools to set or increase postgraduate training. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).98 5.91 3.48 Numbers in need in 2016–2020 1. (in Chinese). (2009). (2001).34 7.99 2. Furthermore. especially encourage comprehensive universities to join postgraduate-level training for kindergarten teachers. A. Meanwhile. Report on the Construction of Modern Teacher Education System in China adjust the structure of initial training system for Chinese kindergarten teachers is as following: Firstly. 19. previous teaching resources in special upper secondary schools could be used together to provide professional training in preprimary education.85 1.59 2.52 2. 140 Table€9.D. we could build new normal colleges for kindergarten teachers to implement orientation training in rural areas. Jingzheng. with the regional differences.shtml Accessed 10 October 2009/8 February 2011.9 4.51 Numbers in need in 2016–2020 2. Retrospect and prospect on chinese preschool normal education. References Education Bureau for the Party Group. Studies in Preschool Education. central. Maddison. Qiushi.19 Western area Numbers in need in 2013–2015 1. Education founded china: Great achievements of education in the 60€years after the Foundation of China (in Chinese).

http://www. II). Yu. Commentary on the current development of preschool education‖. Beijing: China Statistics Press. Washington. Zhu. (2007). Beijing: Teacher Education Office. On preschool teacher education’s development. The Ministry of X..cnsece. 60€Years‘ Memorabilia of the early childhood Â�education in people‘s republic of China (I) (in Chinese).html. (2006). Accessed 24 November 2010/15 February 2011. Studies in Preschool Education. Studies on the revolution of chinese teacher education system in new era. & Zheng. Office of the State Council. Studies in Preschool Education. Du.. Tang. Outline of china‘s national plan for medium and long-term education reform and development (2010–2020). China Higher Education Research. 01(50–53). Human development report 2007/2008: Fighting climate change. 19– Research report on improvement of the quality of kindergarten teachers training. PISA 2009 results: overcoming social background—equity in learning opportunities and outcomes (Vol.. X. J. 2010-7-29/2011-2-15. & Han. (2010). S. (2011).. S. Peng. Beijing: MOE. (2008). L. Early childhood development and education in China: Breaking the cycle of poverty and improving future competitiveness (Rep. http://www. P.9â•… How to Advance the Initial Training System … 141 National Bureau of Statistics of China. Cheng. Q. Teacher Education Office. World Bank. . L. Analysis of the curriculum arrangement and the teaching situation of pre-school education in local colleges. Report on the construction of Â�modern teacher education system in China.. & Zhu. X. (2010). Y. M.htm. 53746-CN). Xinhua News Agency. No. Pang. (2009). & He. Paris: OECD. Zhao. 7(1). (2010). 02. (in Chinese).. L. 11(5). MOE. 17–22. New York: UNDP. (2011). X. Zhang. OECD. China statistical yearbook 2009.. (2012). (2009).cn/jrzg/2010-07/29/ content_1667143. Accessed 15 November 2009/08 February 2011. 66– http://www. DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/the World Bank. (2006).. 9. UNDP. International Education Journal. Journal of Jixi University. Reconstruction of the teacher education system in China. 56. (2010). & Pi.

proved this assumption to be incorrect. Preschool education became teacher-centered with collective teaching. teachers emphasized on imparting skills and knowledge in a more or less standardized way. More recently we might argue that the US contemporary situation is changing most rapidly as the country inches toward creating a national system of preprimary education. in his classic study in 1989. China’s preschool education system was adapted from other countries. traces of the old education system still remain.1007/978-3-662-44986-8 143 . During that period of time. spurred by rapid worldwide preschool education development. Chinese kindergartens changed considerably. adversely influencing the mindsets of parents and kindergartens today. have programs that are more similar than different. In the process. Rousseau. China’s preschool education system flourished. DOI 10. scholars from three cultures: China. Tobin and his colleagues revised these schools a generation after. and abilities. interests. The curriculum consisted of many different subjects. and Montessori. the Republic of China decided to adopt Russia’s education system. Joseph Tobin. HUO et al. Even though several decades have passed and China’s preschool education has undergone dramatic changes. in 1949. Early Childhood Education in Three Cultures. China’s preschool education system began a new series of exciting reforms. Our colleagues from China described the phases of change in kindergartens throughout the country. the system was influenced by the philosophies of a few European educators such as Froebel.). and preschool in the US Spurred by the exponential pace of globalization. we sought to understand the norms and practices of teaching in the very early years in these cultures. policies and philosophies. When many people think of the kindergarten or preschool years for three and four-year children. and the US preschools somewhere in between. In the 1980s. and the US came together to discuss how our three cultures addressed the early childhood years. and found that the answer was more complicated than one might assume. Japan. 2014. What Tobin and other researchers found was that preschools and kindergartens in our nations are very different from one another largely because of culture. However. and therefore. On © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 L. focusing on kindergarten (in China and Japan). (eds. In a subsequent study. He found that over the past 20 years. New Frontiers of Educational Research.Conclusion In May. they assume that these children have similar needs. In the first half of the 20th century. Japanese schools not that much.

there is still limited oversight. and many instructors in training institutions collaborate with other colleagues in applied psychology and child study centers. In Japan. and we look forward to continuing our work together. typically free play dominates much of the activity in early childhood settings. small hills. Still. The research community is very active in Japan. In the US. There is also a close connection between the practice of early childhood education and care and research on it. and the United States brought a rich dialogue and discussion of similarities and differences among cultures. Government bodies also provide support and advice in various forms. preschoolers are increasingly under pressure to comply with external governmental regulations. while central government regulations are limited to setting the basic direction. researchers are actively conducting studies in education and care settings. In conclusion. and academic and social outcomes. our collaboration among scholars from China. none of which were regulated by the state or federal government. The primary roles of national and local governments are to set standards for facilities. Today. Japan. arranging their classrooms without need to follow a set of guidelines. China has begun to selectively chose and adapt modern education models that would suit and help to develop a unique Chinese model. Colleagues from Japan described recent trends in early childhood. children in the rural area and mountainous regions have more limited opportunities. and de-emphasizing academic readiness. and small animals and plants. Teachers could initiate many different activities. and they work to disseminate their essential characteristics. . for example. and begins to examine early childhood education from the perspective of those who live within these systems. The government has also made efforts to speed up the process of educational reform by encouraging the setting up of many more kindergartens. facilitate teacher’s careers.144 Conclusion the basis of upholding culture and traditions. each school was free to set their own standards. Recent efforts to improve teacher quality focus on the oral language environment. Similar to Tobin’s findings (2007). The play oriented curricula. preschools prior to 1985 were largely about free play. On the playground. individual kindergartens and teachers have a great deal of discretion in what is taught. For example. it suggests that early childhood is a global effort. some tall trees. like other cultures. and to conform to a set of standards developed by their professional organization and supported by state government. In Japan. and determine the direction of educational and care activities. Although there are many exceptional schools. Together. accentuating play. there is a general consensus that preschools should support the development of social and emotional development. It extends Tobin’s work. there are slopes. they identify excellent practices in education and care. Japanese children have the benefits of indoor and outdoor play. due to the fragmented system of early education in the US. and child-centered pedagogies that were seen as best practices are now discouraged in favor of an academic focus. various places where children can play with sand. water. for example. Rather. discrepancies have been arising in terms of standards. both public and private. and the interactions between the teachers and the children in the classroom. however. At the same time.