School-based curriculum innovations have been widely implemented in Chinese kindergartens since the turn of the new millennium. However, in the absence of professional guidance, Chinese kindergartens have been forced to ‘ride a blind horse’ when developing curriculum. The aim of this study was to understand the nature of and mechanisms underlying school-based curriculum (SBC) development (SBCD) in an informative kindergarten in southern China from the sociocultural-historical perspective. Data obtained from interviews, observations and document analysis were triangulated to determine why and how curriculum innovations had taken place and the nature of the curriculum introduced. Evidence suggested that (1) SBCD in the Chinese kindergarten under study was a dynamic process undertaken in four main stages: imitation, absorption, integration, and evaluation; (2) the resulting SBC was a comprehensive and sophisticated curricular system balancing child-centred and teacher-directed pedagogies and hybridising Eastern and Western curricula; and (3) SBCD in the kindergarten under study was guided by Chinese philosophy (highlighting balance and harmony), which offers a valuable perspective on recent curriculum changes in Chinese kindergartens. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings were discussed.
- curriculum innovation
- school-based curriculum development
- Chinese kindergarten
- Chinese philosophy
- Doctrine of the Mean