This study examined the learning and teaching approaches used in three kindergartens in Hong Kong, which were assessed as being of “good,” “acceptable,” and “unsatisfactory” quality, respectively, by the regulatory body and that used the same curriculum package. Participants were five kindergarten teachers, their students, and five specialists in pre-primary education, who provided an independent assessment of kindergarten quality. Each teacher was observed for three hours a day over three consecutive days. The specialists discussed videotaped observations of learning activities from each of the kindergartens in a focus group, and rated kindergarten quality. Results indicated that the ratings of the regulatory body and the specialists were consistent and appeared to be informed by the criteria for “developmentally appropriate practices.” The low-quality classroom was teacher-directed, engaged mainly in chalk-and-talk and paper-and-pencil activities, and involved few interactions between the teacher and the children or among children. The children in the other two kindergartens engaged in authentic learning activities, learned in small groups, appeared cognitively engaged, and had many interactions with the teacher and other children. Although the kindergartens claimed to use Montessori, Project, and Unit approaches, the specialists felt that none of them actually implemented their purported approaches with fidelity. The implications of the findings for defining and promoting kindergarten quality are discussed.
|Keywords:||Learning and Teaching, Quality, kindergarten, Hong Kong|
Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institution of Education, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Professor, Fauclty of Education, Division of Learning, Development and Diversity, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong