Perspectives on readiness for preschool: a mixed-methods study of Chinese parents, teachers, and principals

Sha Xie*, Hui Li

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    China has embarked on an ambitious drive to provide universal early childhood education by 2020, which means that all young children need to be ready for preschool by age three. This study adopted a sequential exploratory mixed-methods research design to understand what Chinese parents, teachers, and principals perceive of preschool readiness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 parents, 11 teachers, and 4 preschool principals, and survey study was conducted with 231 parents to validate the findings from the interviews. The results indicated that: (1) All of the stakeholders accepted the three-construct conception of preschool readiness: ready child, ready family and ready preschool; (2) The ready child construct should include social-emotional readiness in addition to the traditional definition of readiness such as academic competency and pre-literacy skills; and (3) Three concerns were raised in relation to preschool readiness, namely, the lack of adequate ‘educare’ the necessity of childcare experiences prior to preschool, and the appropriate age for preschool entrance. The findings have implications for increased collaboration between home, schools, and communities to develop contextually and culturally relevant practices to promote preschool readiness among young children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-31
    Number of pages13
    JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


    • preschool readiness
    • Chinese beliefs
    • early childhood education
    • qualitative research

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