Discourses/8, China: Children’s Participation Rights in Chinese Early Childhood Education: A Critical Investigation of Policy and Research

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China has made great efforts to improve quality of early childhood provisions by addressing child-centredness in early childhood pedagogy since 1992 when China ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the aftermath of China’s Reform and Opening-Up policy. Children’s rights have been addressed as part of the Chinese government efforts especially starting with the China Children Development Plan in the 1990s. The Outline of China’s National Plan for Medium- and Long-Term Education Reform and Development (2010-2020) borne out of the social, economic and political developments guides educational reform and development in contemporary China. The Learning and Development Guidelines for Children of 3-6 Years Old (Ministry of Education 2012) alongside the Kindergarten Education Guidelines (Ministry of Education 2001) are the current statutory framework for early childhood settings in China. Through documentary analysis of key policy documents and existing research in relation to Chinese early childhood education in the last three decades, this chapter shows implicitness in addressing children’s participation rights in policy documents alongside evidence from research that young children’s participation takes place in schools, families, communities and society but with worrying aspects. Pressure from school learning restricts scope and depth of children’s participation outside the school contexts whilst the urban-rural divide as a long-term issue needs to be tackled in order to widen children’s participation in China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren’s Self-determination in the Context of Early Childhood Education and Services
Subtitle of host publicationDiscourses, Policies and Practices
EditorsFederico Farini, Angela Scollan
Number of pages265
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-14556-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-14555-2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • children's participation
  • children's rights
  • Chinese early childhood education
  • Decision Making
  • urban-rural divide
  • documentary analysis
  • left-behind children

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