Parental involvement and children's readiness for school in China

Yi Hung Eva LAU, Hui LI, Nirmala RAO

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116 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The remarkable academic advancement of Asian students in crossnational studies has been attributed to numerous factors, including the value placed on education by Chinese parents. However, there is a dearth of research on how exactly Chinese parents are involved in children’s early learning.
Purpose: This study has two major research questions: (1) How are Chinese parents involved in young children’s learning?; and (2) What is the relationship between their involvement and children’s readiness for school?
Sample: A total of 431 kindergarten students (194 girls) with a mean age of 72.24 months (SD ¼ 4.34) from five kindergartens in Hong Kong and five kindergartens in Shenzhen and their parents participated in the study.
Design and methods: Children’s Chinese literacy and cognitive readiness were assessed. Their parents were surveyed on their child’s readiness for school and their own parental involvement with their children. Means across parental involvement dimensions were compared to explore the pattern of Chinese parental involvement in early childhood education, while correlational and regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between parental involvement and children’s readiness for school.
Results: Chinese parents had a higher level of home-based involvement than school-based involvement during the early years. Parental involvement was highly correlated with overall readiness for school. Parent Instruction, Language and Cognitive Activities and Homework Involvement were the significant predictors of overall readiness for school, whereas home-based involvement predicted more variance of readiness for school than did school-based involvement. Only Language and Cognitive Activities and Home–school Conferencing were associated with children’s Chinese literacy and cognitive readiness.
Conclusion: Cross-cultural studies are needed to explore the real reasons for Chinese parents to practise more home-based than school-based involvement. The importance of parental involvement during the early years for maximising children’s readiness for school has also been emphasised. Nevertheless, the present study is limited in its lack of ability to be generalised to the whole of China and other cultural contexts. This study is also limited as it relied on parents’ report for assessing parental involvement. Finally, the present study is limited in its lack of longitudinal assessment of parental involvement as well as its lack of examination of other dimensions of parental involvement, the quality of parental involvement activities, and other possible mediators or moderators (e.g. parent education) of parental involvement, which may have limited the understanding of Chinese parental involvement in the early years. Copyright © 2011 NFER.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-113
JournalEducational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Lau, E. Y. H., Li, H., & Rao, N. (2011). Parental involvement and children’s readiness for school in China. Educational Research, 53(1), 95-113. doi: 10.1080/00131881.2011.552243


  • Parental involvement
  • Readiness for school
  • Early childhood education


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