SURVEY OF CONTEMPORARY PRESCHOOL
ＥDUCATION IN MAINLAND
From 1949 to today the preschool education in
⑴ The First Steadily Developing Stage (1949-1957)
In October 1949, as the People’s Republic of
Guided by the policy overall following the
In 1952, the “Provisional Regulation of Kindergarten" and the “Provisional Teaching Program of Kindergarten” issued by the Ministry of Education provided that kindergartens enrolled children from 3 to 7. The activities in kindergartens include physical training, language, knowledge of circumstances, drawing, handwork, music and calculation, but exclude learning to read. It also stipulated the courses of the educational activities in kindergartens and the teaching program of the courses. The program emphasized the courses scientifically and logically, emphasized the guiding function of teachers, suggested that the teachers lead the children to go in for purposeful and planed activities, fuse teaching into the children’s everyday life in the kindergartens.
The government partially transformed the private kindergartens while some well run were kept. According to the statistics, in 1952 there were 6500 kindergartens in the country, five times those in 1946. The enrolled children increased by twofold. During the period of the National First Five-year Plan (1953-1957), the preschool education had steadily developed. In 1957, there were 16400 kindergartens in the country. The number of both the kindergartens and the enrolled children increased by 150%.
⑵ Rashly Advancing Stage (1958-1962)
In 1958, the “Greatleap Movement” was launched in
⑶ Adjusting and Consolidating Stage (1962-1965)
From 1962 to 1965, the government redressed the blunder of unrealistic optimism and rash advance, practiced the policy of “Adjusting, Consolidating Replenishment and Enhancement”. Through adjusting the preschool education, the nurseries and kindergartens were gradually stabilized. In 1965, there were 19200 kindergartens in the country, a little more than 1957, but 15 times the highest number before 1949, the enrolled children were one million and seven hundred ten thousand, only 57% up against 1957.
⑷ Stagnant Stage (1966-1974)
During the “Great Cultural Revolution” (1966-1976), the preschool education was severely impacted. Many kindergartens were forced to shut down. The toys, teaching materials and books were destroyed. The premises were occupied and the teachers were hurt. The relevant statistical data are unobtainable. But in the later phase of this period, with the restoration of the schools and colleges, the kindergartens were not only restored, but also developed. According to the statistics in 1974, there were 40000 kindergartens in the country. Increased by over 100%, the enrolled children increased by over 50% against 1965.
⑸ The Second Rashly Advancing Stage (1975-1978)
After the “Great Cultural Revolution” ended, the preschool education came back to the right way, regained the attention of the society. But owing to overanxiousness of quick results and lack of powerful macroscopic control of the government, rash advance in the preschool education repeated. The phenomenon of unstableness appeared again. In 1975, the kindergartens in the country were 5 times those in 1974, up to 171700. In 1976, the number was 12 times that of 1974, up to 442500. In 1978, it dropped to the level of 1975,was around 16400, the number of enrolled children was up and down accordingly.
(6) The third steadily developing stage (1979- )
In 1978, the governments at all levels resumed their administration of preschool education. Overhauled and reorganized all round the preschool education that was impacted by the ten-year chaos. The most important step was the promulgation of “Teaching Program of Kindergarten” in 1981, regulating the teaching and health protection in kindergarten by means of administrative decree. It exerted an effect on the teaching order and enhancing the quality of nursing and teaching On the basis of the two documents issued in 1952, the program specified the teaching contents of kindergartens. It included hygienic habit, ethics, physical training, language, calculation, music and drawing. It emphasized that the kindergartens ought to fulfil the teaching task through games, sports, lessons. observing, labor, recreation and every day life. The program warned against schooling and adultizing, demanded that the erroneous tendency of “lesson first, playing second "should be corrected. But, since taking lessons was specified as an important activity in the kindergartens, it actually stressed the importance of language and other subjects conducted by teachers.
From the 80s,
1.It emphasizes the active activities of children, and provides opportunities for substantial activities;
2.It emphasizes that education must comply with the individual difference, and promotes the development of each child in different levels;
3.It emphasizes the importance of play in children education;
4.It emphasizes to compound education in daily kindergarten activities;
5.It emphasizes the process of kindergarten activities.
During the course of practicing the regulation, theory and practice workers of children education started development and research, applied each reforming measure and tried all educational plans. Speaking objectively, this reformation practice greatly changed the thoughts of childhood education workers. Many kindergarten teachers started to understand that it is necessary to respect children and meet their needs, should take children’s development as the start point of education, and should pay more attention to children’s daily life in kindergarten, to make them study independently and actively during daily activities. But, the change of the traditional concept and practice needs a long procedure, and the improvement of teacher quality takes time, Till now, we are still from distance with our ideal situation. What’s more, the development is very unbalanced throughout the country. But, we should understand that the childhood education reformation, which takes curriculum reformation as breakthrough, is still in process, and it will definitely improve the quality of preschool education step by step.
After 1978, the number of kindergarten in the country has once again become stable, maintaining the number around 100000; the enrolled child armed ten million according to the statistic in 1989. There are 172000 kindergartens in the country, 134 times those of 1946. The enrolled children were about fourteen million, 14 times those of 1946 in which, those in cities accounted for 19% of the total, those in counties and towns accounted for 12%, the remainder was in countryside. In 1994, there were 174600 kindergartens and about twenty-six million enrolled children in the country. In 1998, the number of kindergartens and enrolled children increased to about 181400, and twenty-four thousand respectively.