To teach creativity (or not) in early childhood arts curriculum: a case study in Chinese Beijing kindergartens

Yan Jin, Susan Krieg, Amy Hamilton, Jing Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper draws from a cross-cultural study of young children’s arts curricula. The initial phase of the original study consisted of a comparison of the intended arts curriculum for 5–6 year old children in China and Australia. This was followed by a survey in Beijing exploring 88 contemporary early childhood educators’ beliefs about children’s arts education. A case study of the enacted curriculum took place across three kindergartens in Beijing. The data was coded and analysed using grounded theory methodology. The research presented in this paper reported a diverse understanding of children’s creativity among the participant EC educators; it revealed that a pedagogical dilemma of demonstration remains as a challenge to early childhood arts educators. This study provided qualitative descriptions and examples of Chinese Beijing children’s arts education in this era of globalisation. Utilising Foucault’s (1991. “Governmentality.” In The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, edited by G. Burchell, C. Gordon, and P. Miller, translated by R. Braidotti, 87–104. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf) theory of governmentality as a critical lens to view the issues in this field, the study broadened perspectives regarding the education philosophy and practices of early childhood arts curriculum, in particular, for the cultivation of young children’s creativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-955
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
Issue number4
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • arts curriculum
  • China
  • Creativity
  • early childhood
  • governmentality


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