Implications of Studies of Early Childhood Education in Japan for Understanding Children’s Social Emotional Development

Akiko Hayashi, Joseph Tobin
page. 115~127 / 2014 Vol.8 No.2


Preschools in Japan, as elsewhere, are key sites of child development, socialization, and enculturation. Aseries of ethnographically informed studies of Japanese preschools have identified and explicatedapproaches to early childhood education that are very unlike those of preschools in other countries.Many of these features of Japanese preschools that have been identified by ethnographic researcherschallenge Western notions of early childhood education and care and child development. These featuresinclude high student/teacher ratios; low-intervention by teachers in children’s disputes; an emphasis ongroup-mindedness and collective over individual forms of social control; a prioritization of socialdevelopment and a de-emphasis on academics; the cultivation of the experience and expression offeelings; and an emphasis on teaching children to adjust their behavior to contexts.

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