The Japanese Hands-Off Approach to Curriculum Guidelines for Early Childhood Education as a Form of Cultural Practice

Hayashi, Akiko
July 2011
Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education;Jul2011, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p107
Academic Journal
This paper explores the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) approach to curriculum policy in early childhood education. The Kindergarten Curriculum Guideline contains few directives or practical suggestions for teachers. The abstractness and indirectness of the MEXT approach to establishing curricular guidelines stands in stark contrast to the much more explicit and directive curriculum guidelines for early childhood education found in China, the US, many other countries. In this paper I suggest that the Japanese hands-off approach reflects a combination of structural features of Japanese early childhood education and implicit cultural beliefs and practices.


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