Many governments have launched the top-down early childhood curriculum (ECC) reforms to enhance the accountability of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. The present discourse analysis of latest ECC policies across four diverse but representative countries–Australia, China, New Zealand, and Singapore–aims to examine the effects of neoliberalism and contextualization through within- and cross-case analyses. Our findings revealed that despite the mutual interactions and similarities, neoliberal ECC policies had been developed in context-specific ways across countries. Children's agency had been commonly valued to recognize its essential role in effective learning, which was constructed in play, social interaction, and community participation. Moreover, Australia and New Zealand emphasized the development of the culturally competent child on top of children's holistic development, without segregating children's learning into domains. These findings demonstrate the confounding effect produced by the diverse shaping forces in terms of defining the ideal ECC across countries–‘curriculum hybridization’.
- early childhood education policy
- early childhood curriculum framework
- discourse analysis
- cross-cultural comparison