Influences of Confucianism on Chinese Parents’ Experience with Early Childhood Education

Shaohua Hong, Andrew Howes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Confucian concepts have long been seen as reflecting the main component of Chinese cultural civilization, which started in around 500 B.C. after Confucius passed away. There have been two significant Confucian movements. The earlier one appeared in the 12 th century, during the regime of the Song Dynasty, and the later one started in the 20 th century. These movements were both generally called new Confucian or Neo-Confucian. The rise of neo-Confucian thinking affects people from various aspects, including the way Chinese parents experience their child’s early childhood
education. This paper attempts to understand how Confucianism influences Chinese parents’ experience with Early Childhood Education (ECE) by drawing upon a longitudinal study with a father from Urumqi, North-West of China, who sent his child to a local Confucian concept kindergarten, analysing tensions and contradictions within his experience. A series of in-depth interviews have been held with him over a period of a year, in particular relating to his selection of kindergarten and on-going perspectives. It has been revealed from this father’s testimony that his experience is
a process of going through a hybrid of cultural influences, which are Confucianism, Positivism and Western concepts. It has also been proved that his constant learning of Confucianism had an unavoidable influence on his experience. Moreover, his growth to personal maturity was also intertwined together with Confucianism, which therefore strengthened his commitment to Confucianism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalOpen Journal of Social Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2014


  • Confucianism
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Chinese Parent


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