Many countries, including Australia, China, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, have included art subjects in their core curriculum. Using the theory of governmentality as a critical lens to investigate the intricate power–knowledge system in relation to curriculum, arts and pedagogy, this paper makes a comparative document analysis of two contemporary arts curricula for children aged 5–6 years—the Beijing Kindergarten Happiness and Development Curriculum in the arts learning area (upper class in kindergarten), and the Australian Curriculum: The Arts (Foundation level). Curriculum is best understood as a multi-faceted phenomenon and this paper draws from research which categorized curriculum into three phases: the intended (or planned) curriculum, the enacted (or implemented) curriculum and the experienced (the learner experience) curriculum. By focusing on the first phase: the intended curriculum, this paper compares the documents that comprise the planned curriculum from two very different contexts, and thus makes a contribution to cross-cultural understanding of early childhood arts curriculum in ways that may lead to social change.
- Early childhood
- social change