Whole-day or half-day kindergarten? Chinese parents' perceptions, needs, and decisions in a privatised marketplace

Michelle Marie Lau*, Hui Li

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study contributes to the Western-normed whole-day versus half-day kindergarten debate with Asian-focused evidence from a longitudinal study on parental perceptions, needs, and decisions in the privatised kindergarten marketplace in Hong Kong. The parents of children attending the whole-day and half-day programmes were surveyed in the first two years of kindergarten. Both programmes were perceived to possess distinctive qualities and parents reflected an effortful quest for an optimal home–work–life balance. Two-step cluster analysis identified three parent profiles – the Slightest Needs, the Moderate Needs, and the Urgent Needs – differentiated by family income, parents' occupation and education, and residence ownership. Finally, logistic regression analyses predicting parental decisions found a shift from a socioeconomic orientation to an educational orientation. The findings indicate that the ‘either or’ thinking in this debate is problematic as what parents need is not the ‘best’ programme but the best ‘fit’. The 4As approach – allocation, affordability, availability, and accessibility, was proposed for policy refinement to cater for evolving societal, familial, and educational dynamics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number104427
    Pages (from-to)1-17
    Number of pages17
    JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
    Volume105
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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