ERIC Number: ED370682
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Two Kindergarten Programs and Children's Perceptions of School: A Cross-Cultural Study.
Zhang, Xiaoping; Sigel, Irving E.
This cross-cultural study evaluated the effects of nontraditional versus traditional educational approaches in kindergarten on children's preparation for first grade and their readiness to learn. Fifty children in a developmental kindergarten in Pennsylvania, and 50 children in a traditional academic kindergarten in Sichuan province, People's Republic of China, were studied. Through interviews with children, parents, and school officials, and through classroom observation, information about schools, parental involvement, and children's viewpoints about school and learning were obtained. Observations and interviews revealed that the two programs' activities and philosophies differed considerably and that the children, parents, and teachers expressed different attitudes about learning. The U.S. program had shorter hours, used a wider variety of activities, and was less interested in academics than the Chinese program. The U.S. program emphasized the development of social maturity, while the highly-structured Chinese program emphasized academic adjustment, classroom discipline, and pupil safety. The children in the U.S. program had a broader, more dynamic definition of learning, were more critical of school, and had more time to play than children in the Chinese program. These results suggest that these children may have difficulty adjusting to an academic first grade. The study concludes that the Chinese kindergarten, which stressed an academic program, is consistent with later schooling and learning, and prepares children for an academic first grade. (TM)
Descriptors: Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Background, Cultural Differences, Cultural Traits, Developmental Programs, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Foreign Countries, Grade 1, Kindergarten, Nontraditional Education, Primary Education, School Attitudes, School Readiness, Student Attitudes, Traditional Schools
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: China (Sichuan Province); United States
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting and Exhibit of the American Educational Research Association (75th, New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).