Hong Kong kindergartens in urban space: Policy aspirations, historical trajectories, and contemporary disparities

Wai Kwan Gail YUEN, Michael GALLAGHER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

This paper investigates problems of space in Hong Kong kindergartens. It reports survey findings of a policy study relating to the Kindergarten Education Scheme (KES). KES emphasizes holistic development and child-centred pedagogy, which require larger and more flexible spaces than traditional desk-based learning. The study aimed to explore kindergartens’ responses to the resulting challenges around providing adequate space within Hong Kong’s high density urban environment. Questionnaires were sent to principals of 751 KES kindergartens. 325 valid questionnaires were collected (response rate: 43.5%). Analysis comprised descriptive statistics, inferential tests of relationships between operation mode and other variables, and coding of open-ended question responses. The paper highlights three key findings: (i) kindergartens reported a wide range of challenges relating to space; (ii) most augment their provision by using public spaces outside the premises, but these spaces come with their own challenges; and (iii) there were significant differences in the extent of reported problems between kindergartens operating in different modes, with long-whole-day kindergartens experiencing greater difficulty and disparity. Situating these findings in the historical context of Hong Kong’s uneven urban development, we argue that policy improvement of spatial provision will require reducing pressures on kindergarten spaces, rather than merely setting out spatial standards. Copyright © 2023  Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChildren's Geographies
Early online dateDec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 2023

Citation

Yuen, G., & Gallagher, M. (2023). Hong Kong kindergartens in urban space: Policy aspirations, historical trajectories, and contemporary disparities. Children's Geographies. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2023.2283134

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