Exploring early childhood education in China: background, development and current issues


  • Xiaofei Qi University of Cambridge


China has put great efforts into developing early childhood education and care services. Since 2010 the policy priority has been to develop early childhood education services for 3–6-year-old children before school entry. Evidence of the rapid development of early childhood education in China can be seen in the impressive development of policy, the increase in public investment and the boom in kindergarten participation rates. The demand for qualified early childhood education practitioners is also increasing in China. Private kindergartens are playing a very important role in providing early childhood education services due to the lack of public services. Despite the great progress already made, the development of early childhood education in China is unbalanced and inadequate in terms of its regional and social disparities. There is a huge gap between advanced ideas and kindergarten practices. The consequences of the new two-child policy present a big challenge to the development of early childhood education, and these should be prepared for in advance in terms of providing “sufficient” early childhood education services, as well as “high-quality” services to young children and their families.