The Good Child
Moral Development in a Chinese Preschool
Jing Xu



Becoming a Moral Child in China

The “Traffic Light” Story

On a sunny morning in a crowded neighborhood in urban Shanghai, China, two mothers were sitting on a bench, chatting about the vicissitudes of child-rearing. Lulu was a native Shanghainese mother of a bright four-year-old daughter, Weijian. The other mother was me, who had just come back to China from the United States with a two-year-old son, to conduct my ethnographic fieldwork on Chinese children’s moral development. I had met Lulu a few months earlier at Biyu Preschool, my field-site and the school of my son and her daughter. Lulu was very concerned about her child growing up in the unwholesome Chinese environment, like many other mothers I met in Shanghai, and told me this “traffic light” story:

Lulu: One day my daughter told her paternal grandfather: “Grandma took me across the street while there was a red light.” What her grandma did was the opposite of what she learned from her preschool teachers and me. I feel bad about it. The educational environment in China is terrible! You came back from America. I heard that people in the Western countries obey the traffic rules very well, right?

Jing: In the United States, it seemed so natural for everyone to observe the traffic rules. Although I’m Chinese, it still took time for me to readjust back to the reality here.

Lulu: The Western parents set up such a good example for their children. So should we! Even if this broader social environment is really bad, we should still help the child to learn the correct rules. My daughter first got to learn about the rules of traffic lights “stop at the red light, walk at the green light” (hongdeng ting, lüdeng xing), in the popular cartoon Smart Tiger (qiao hu). When I took her to the street, I intentionally avoided the intersection with a green light and chose the one with a red light. This was to teach her to wait patiently and obey the traffic rules. I told her, “If now I take you across the street when the light is still red, then those behind us will follow us, and it will be a messy situation and the traffic rules won’t work. But if I tell you to wait at the red light, then those behind us will also wait. We all obey the traffic rules, which is great.

Beneath its literal meaning, this “traffic light” story has profound metaphorical significance. As Lulu explained to me later in our conversation, this story was not so much about obeying traffic rules, per se; rather, it was about instilling moral norms and beliefs among the younger generation, an urgent and challenging mission in contemporary China. Anxieties over moral development of China’s only children are greatly heightened for Chinese families and the general public. In addition, the cultivation of moral values has become particularly challenging because socializers all worry that Chinese society is a terribly bad educational environment in which no one observes rules. The scene of violating traffic lights is merely a microcosm of the perceived chaotic social and moral reality in China today.

Such concerns are built upon assumptions, estimations, and imaginaries of the “child” in relation to the “adult,” “Chinese society” in relation to “Western society,” and “morality” in relation to “immorality.” In particular, such concerns indicate two interlocking logics popular in Chinese thinking from ancient times until today, in the Confucian and neo-Confucian moral and educational traditions that connect self-cultivation (xiu shen) to bringing peace to the whole world (ping tianxia) (Ivanhoe, 2000): one is the positive link between edifying the child/human and bettering society (Bakken 2000): when the child develops the “correct” beliefs and acts in righteous ways, our society has a promising future; the other is the negative link between the deteriorating society and the victimized child: the moral decay of the society will endanger children’s moral cultivation.

Although apparently highlighting children’s significance in society, such concerns actually overlook children’s own subjectivities. Lulu’s comments reflect a popular view that emphasize the critical importance of educators/socializers in child development: the “wrong” message from the grandparent would cause the child to stumble while the “correct” teachings from the mother would pull the child back to the right track and motivate more people to follow. Although these perspectives suggest the role of multiple voices—sometimes in conflict and contradiction—in Chinese society, the voices of children themselves are nonetheless obscured.

As Jon L. Saari, a historian on Chinese childhood perceptively points out, however: “We must posit not the mind as tabula rasa but the world as tabula rasa, and see it through the eyes and emotions of a developing child” (Saari 1990: 76). My book aims to answer this central question: How are Chinese children, born under the one-child policy and often seen as self-centered “little emperors,” navigating this tense social world and constructing their own moral universe, at the height of China’s “moral crisis”? From 2011 to 2012, I conducted fieldwork in a middle-class preschool community in Shanghai, a city that encapsulates the most dramatic social transformations in China. My son was admitted to that preschool, and we lived in a nearby neighborhood. Through everyday interactions with children, teachers, parents, grandparents, and other people living in the community, I was immersed in this community and gained understanding of the lived experiences of children, their socializers, and other Chinese people, which also enriched my own lived experiences as a researcher, a mother, and a Chinese woman. Drawing from different kinds of data, including ethnographic field observations, interviews, questionnaire surveys, field experiments, and media texts, this book reveals how children’s nascent moral dispositions are selected, expressed or repressed, and modulated in specific cultural and educational processes in China.

Morality and Child Development: Conversations between Anthropology and Psychology

My book is situated within the larger theoretical adventure of bridging anthropology and psychology in studying child development. All human behavior is driven by various psychological forces that are, on the one hand, generated in particular historical and sociocultural dynamics, and, on the other hand, shaped by these particular cultural dynamics in multiple and profound ways. In recent years, anthropologists have called for a re-engagement with trends in the psychological sciences, emphasizing that anthropology has important lessons to offer in understanding human behavior in its fullest sense (Astuti and Bloch 2010, 2012; Bloch 2005, 2012; Sahlins 2011; Sperber 1996). More generally, scholars in both fields realize the need for in-depth conversations in which both anthropologists and psychologists appreciate human beings’ intertwined psychological-social nature (Bender, Hutchins, and Medin 2010; Luhrmann 2006; Quinn 2006). Child development is a central “test field” in this exciting endeavor. Leading scholars in psychological anthropology have discovered common features of child-rearing across cultures that are based on universal psychological mechanisms (Quinn 2005). Anthropologists and psychologists have worked together to combine experimental methods with ethnographic fieldwork to investigate conceptual development (Astuti, Solomon, and Carey 2004). Moreover, anthropologists have taken on the role of critically engaging with and reassessing influential psychological theories, such as attachment theory (Bowlby 1969, 1982; Ainsworth 1979), using ethnographic evidence from multiple sociocultural contexts (Quinn and Mageo 2013). My research is greatly inspired by these conversations. In what follows, I will present the bodies of literatures from both anthropology and psychology that substantially informed my study of moral development in early childhood.

First, my project joins the newly emerging trend of the anthropology of morality (or moral anthropology), in which morality is made the explicit focus of empirical analysis and theoretical argumentation (Fassin 2012). My book embraces an inclusive understanding of morality, including the level of everyday bodily practice as well as that of public and institutionally articulated discourse (Zigon 2008). My Chinese informants actually talk about “morality” on both levels, and these two levels generate, inform, and complement each other, like that of yin and yang.

One important issue with which the new field of moral anthropology (or the anthropology of morality) is grappling is the opposition between “morality” and “ethics.” For example, Jarrett Zigon (2008: 17–18) argues that morality is about the “unreflective/unreflexive” and ethics is about the “reflective/reflexive.” Other scholars emphasize the dichotomy of structure (morality) versus agency (ethics) (Lambek 2010; Stafford 2013a). My book chooses to use the terms morality and moral, instead of ethics and ethical for two reasons. First, in line with the understanding of cultural values (Robbins 2012), moral sentiments (Throop 2012), moral reasoning (Sykes 2012), and the like, my book focuses on the psychological workings of morality, instead of “an anthropology of ethics” (Faubion 2011; Laidlaw 2002) under the Foucauldian tradition that aims to dissect the political (in a broad sense) workings of morality. Second, in Chinese, morality (dao de) is a broader category that can refer to both moral codes (structure) and moral dispositions/sentiments/reasoning/actions (agency), and it is used in both official and vernacular language, whereas ethics (lun li) refers to the narrower domains of ethical rules. My informants used the term morality (dao de) much more frequently than ethics (lun li), as the making of moral personhood and moral society became a central concern in their life.

Moreover, psychological literatures on moral domains inspire me to carve out the basic analytical themes for this book. The quest to map out “moral domains” is born out of the impetus to go beyond the ethnocentric Western obsession with the domain of justice alone, in order to accommodate and explain cultural diversity and achieve a more comprehensive view of morality. Major Western theoretical frameworks include the “big three” of morality (autonomy, community, and divinity), also known as the “three ethics” theory (Shweder et al. 1997); the moral foundations theory (MFT), which postulates five foundational domains (like five taste buds): harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, in-group/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity (Haidt 2012; Haidt and Graham 2007); and the evolving relational models theory (RMT) (Fiske 1991; Fiske 1992; Fiske and Haslam 2005; Rai and Fiske 2011), which identifies four fundamental relational structures underlying all social coordination and corresponding moral motivations: community sharing; unity, authority ranking; hierarchy, equality matching; balanced reciprocity, market pricing; and proportionality (Fiske 1991; Fiske 1992).

This book, however, does not mechanically map any such categorization onto my field data, for the following reasons. First, there are intricate connections between different moral domain categories within and across the moral domain theories. For example, the motive to care for others and the motive of achieving or restoring fairness are sometimes intertwined in children’s moral judgments and emotions. The calculus of fairness is also a complex combination of different factors, such as the motive of equality and that of proportionality, rather than being reducible to a singular formula. The motive of “unity” underlying the relation of community sharing is also multifaceted: “unity” is manifested in caring and empathizing with others, or loyalty to the group, and these can be mixed together in what Victor Turner called “communitas” (Turner 1995). Moreover, these theories do not address some important themes in children’s social life, for example, ownership. Understandings of ownership permeate children’s play time and often cause conflicts. Children’s understandings of ownership are closely intertwined with reasoning about fairness in real-life social interactions. Last but not the least, there are distinct Chinese cultural concepts that cannot be accurately and adequately captured by these moral categories. For example, the unique Chinese socialization concept of guanjiao integrates the meanings of both discipline and care, and the oppressive and the supportive dimension constitute two sides of the same coin. Based on such considerations, my own analytical framework emerged at the conjunction of the deductive and the inductive, between abstract moral categories and “what behaviors and attitudes were socially important, frequently repeated, and widely understood” (Briggs 1999: 11) in my fieldwork. Thus, instead of analyzing isolated moral domains, I decided to examine the tensions emerging between and within different moral domains/motives in everyday life in the Chinese cultural context. The main themes in my book include empathy and altruism, ownership and fairness, generosity and reciprocity, and guanjiao. Analyses of these themes are built on and critically expanded from the moral-domain theories, and more details on the structure of these analyses are provided at the end of this chapter.

Moreover, morality does not come from nowhere. The origins of human morality and cooperation have been an intriguing topic in various social science disciplines (Baumard, André, and Sperber 2013; Bowles and Gintis 2011; Henrich 2004; Tomasello 2009; Tomasello et al. 2012). Recent experimental studies provide evidence that humans’ moral dispositions in a variety of domains, such as empathy and care, fairness, and justice and ownership, emerge early in life (Bloom 2013), much earlier than what is assumed in classic theories such as those of Piaget ([1932] 1997) and Kohlberg (1984),1 which predicated stage-like development.

Scholars have noted, “Ontogenic studies of how culture interacts with developing human individuals are more anthropologically acceptable, though the bulk of such research is still the domain of psychologists” (Whitehead 2012: 50). In order to fully understand the psycho-cultural processes in human development, ethnographic studies are much needed (Weisner 1997). In anthropology, it has long been acknowledged that socialization and enculturation in childhood play a crucial role in the formation of human morality. Moral discourse “saturates the everyday lives of families” (Ochs and Kremer-Sadlik 2007: 9), and moral evaluative force is imbued in child-rearing practices (Quinn 2005). Psychological anthropologists have devoted great efforts to documenting and explaining the complexity and diversity of moral socialization processes, such as different moral values, the socializability of moral values, agents and institutions involved, and techniques and strategies (Fung and Smith 2010: 263).

Although psychologists have yet to pay attention to ethnographic works on the everyday moral socialization in diverse cultures, however, anthropologists have yet to engage with the recent progress in developmental psychology that provides fine-grained clues as to how various prosocial motivations emerge in infancy and early childhood. My research aims to redress this critical disconnect between anthropology and psychology in studying the emergence of different prosocial dispositions in specific cultural dynamics.

My research also highlights the importance of documenting and contextualizing children’s own experiences and agency. Anthropologists have realized the need to examine closely the developing children’s own subjective experiences and agency in moral socialization (Stafford 2013a). Ethnographic studies are ideally positioned to provide a space where children are seen as social actors who play a unique and active role in shaping their own social world (James 2007). Efforts to contextualize children’s “voices” are crucial to exploring how and what children’s own perspectives can provide with regard to our theorizing of human sociality.

To sum up, this book draws on anthropological and psychological literature on morality to study a crucial phase for moral development, early childhood, where nascent moral dispositions generate a variety of cooperative behaviors. It integrates ethnographic and field experimental methods in a mutually informative way. And it places children themselves at the center of the analysis, reveals how young children construct their own moral world, and contextualizes their moral practices and understandings within their daily experiences.

Moral Development in China: The Past and the Present

China provides a unique testing ground to examine children’s moral development because “morality” had become a central topic in Chinese social life and penetrates familial, educational, and public discussions. First, there is a widespread sense that China is in the midst of a “moral crisis,” often phrased in terms of lost, supposedly traditional, moral values. Second, education is seen by most as a crucial element in the project of building a better, more moral China. Third, the one-child policy of the last decades has resulted in a generation of single children with distinctive moral experiences. Taken together, these factors contribute to establish children’s moral development as a contested and strategic domain in China.

Chinese educational traditions take zuo ren (becoming/acting human), self-fulfillment in terms of moral cultivation, as the ultimate goal:

A very ancient Chinese expression, tso jen,2 defined the landscape of ideal Chinese behavior. I would translate it into English as the “struggle to be fully human.” It mapped the valleys of shame, the plains of decency, and the slopes of virtuous achievement. It pointed to a pathway trod by millions of Chinese youngsters who upon reaching the age of six or seven years were exhorted by nurses, parents, and elders to ch’eng jen,3 to become human, to realize their nature, to bring their innate humanity to expression and completion.

This quote from historian Jon L. Saari (1990: vi) provides an excellent summary of what zuo ren (literally, “acting human”) means for the Chinese. Peeking into the historical roots of this idea helps us to understand the deep cultural background behind why discussions about zuo ren are still central in the vernacular and official discourse of contemporary Chinese social and moral life.

The emphasis on moral cultivation during infancy and childhood, and the linkage between early moral cultivation and overall societal quality, can be traced back to early Confucians such as Confucius himself, Mencius, and Xunzi (Cline 2015). In the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), largely due to the ascendancy of Confucian philosophies, early moral education was at least included in Chinese philosophical and historical discussion (Kinney 1995). Such discussions featured the significance of moral development and emphasized the role of education in molding children into ideal moral persons. To this day, the idea of “teaching-transforming” (jiao hua) is still an essential part of educational belief. Ming dynasty neo-Confucian master Wang Yangming revived the Mencian notions that human nature was good, as everyone, even including the “petty people” (xiao ren), was naturally equipped with “bright virtues” (Ivanhoe 2009). But according to Wang’s follower Li Zhi, the purity of a child’s heart would be corrupted once “polluted and contaminated by ‘false’ book learning, pretentious social customs, ordinary worldly evil . . .” (Hsiung 2005: 225).

On the one hand, the prototypical “image of the individual moral hero against the backdrop of an often corrupted society and polity” (Saari 1990: 27) from the neo-Confucianism thinking was recurrent in later times of social crises, for example, at the turn of the twentieth century. On the other hand, intellectuals and educators also began to question the neo-Confucian system in the turmoil of social reforms and movements since the late Qing dynasty, amid China’s quest for modernity. For example, filial piety (xiao) was the virtue accused by the cultural reformers of the May Fourth era4 as killing children’s vitality and independence. Such reflections, criticisms, and innovations occurred at a critical time when Chinese intellectuals were exposed to “alien” ideas from the West. This history provides an invaluable referential framework for understanding contemporary discourses and experiences revolving around children’s moral development. The accusations of the May Fourth intellectuals concerning various social ills, such as the oppressive family, the callous, self-righteous group, and the national characteristic of apathy and indifference toward one’s compatriots,5 sound very familiar to Chinese parents, educators, and observers today.

Although Chinese moral education traditions were harshly attacked as a declining Chinese civilization clashed with modern Western visions at the turn of the twentieth century, today’s Chinese people are lamenting the nation’s moral decay/vacuum, both as a loss of traditional values and as the failure to build new values. Amid rapid and profound social transformations, Chinese people are moving “almost desperately in a fast-forward mode” (Siu 2006: 389), their lived experiences characterized by high degrees of uncertainty and inequality; in addition, negative sentiments, such as a sense of insecurity, distrust, and injustice, pervade the society (Wang and Yang 2013). In both public discourse and daily conversations, these problems are typically moralized, in the sense that personal moral qualities and collective moral norms are seen as the ultimate roots and solutions of social crises and governmental problems. Yunxiang Yan analyzes some “immoral” behaviors that perceptions of a looming moral crisis focus on, such as cases in which the Good Samaritan is the target of extortion by the person being helped (Yan 2009). He argues that these perceptions actually reflect the “changing moral landscape” amid China’s rapid social transformations—that the Chinese individual is forced into “situations of difficult and sometimes self-contradictory moral reasoning and divided actions” (Yan 2011: 71–72).

The interest in studying China’s “changing moral landscape” (Yan 2011) emerged in the broader wave of China anthropologists’ recent inquiries into the psychological transformations of Chinese individuals living through the profound structural and social transformations of the reform era (Kleinman et al. 2011; Zhang 2008). Anthropologists present various different visions about the nature of such inner transformations of the Chinese individual amid China’s quest for modernity. For example, Li Zhang and Aihwa Ong (2008) argue that the Chinese individual in the post-Mao era lives under the competing forces of the neoliberal logic of entrepreneurs and the socialist elements of the Chinese state. Yunxiang Yan (2009, 2011) posits that the modern Chinese individual is the product of the individualization of the collectivistic society, as these individuals are departing from the responsibility-centered collective ethics in the socialist era and instead embracing rights-centered individualistic ethics. Some cautions are also registered against this linear picture: “We see no simple linear relation between modernity and individuality whereby humans become more and more individualized as their societies become more and more modern” (Kipnis 2012a: 7). Andrew Kipnis (2012d) and his colleagues call for understanding the complexity of the entanglement between Chinese modernity and individual subjectivity, and especially the influence of premodern mechanisms such as the Confucian tradition of governing.

Moral development in early childhood is critical to the understanding of the moral transformations of individual lives in China. Under the widely perceived “moral crisis,” socializers are faced with complex challenges in cultivating morality in early childhood. Anthropologists have just started to examine the specific moral negotiations and contradictions in educational settings (Hansen 2013, 2014). However, scholars have yet to closely examine moral development in early childhood, a critical realm where deeply entrenched historical traditions meet new, unique challenges.

Throughout waves of Chinese historical movements, the assumption remains that cultivating the moral child has the potential for addressing the moral crisis and shaping a better society in the future, deriving from the fundamental belief that self-perfection is possible through education, a belief with its deep historical roots in Chinese philosophy and social theory (Tu 1985). As Børge Bakken perceptively observes, morality focusing on personal virtue, education as self-cultivation, and the politics of disciplining people are seen as an integrated whole in Chinese traditions, much more so than in other cultures (Bakken 2000). Such observations converge with empirical research on Chinese education and learning. According to Jin Li (2012: 15), a distinctive feature of Chinese learning and education is that “learning and knowing are geared not to the external world, but to one’s self as a goal of personal striving,” based on the Confucian cultural foundations of perfecting self/self-cultivation socially and morally in order to take the world upon oneself (yi tianxia wei ji ren).

Early education was seen as crucial to the cultivation of a full-fledged moral personhood, and traces of this tradition are still visible in contemporary education policies, beliefs, and practices. On the policy level, moral education is seen as the ultimate goal of basic education, and standard tests of educational achievement include a moral dimension, that is, standardized questions on morality (Cheng 2000). On the practice level, Chinese moral inculcation emphasizes didactic narratives in personal story telling (Miller et al. 1997), as well as salient concepts and values such as training (guan) (Chao 1994; Wu 1996a), shame (Fung 1999; Li, Wang, and Fischer 2004), and filial piety (Wu 1996b) as parenting goals. In addition, the literature on the “Chinese learner” demonstrates that the cultural belief in moral development and growth as the central purpose of learning and teaching is still prevalent in China today (Chan and Rao 2009; Watkins and Biggs 2001) and emerges early on in preschool years (Li 2010).

Practices regarding moral education, and the meanings and prioritization of different cultural values, however, are inevitably shaped by particular social and historical changes and structural dynamics (for a review, see Fong and Kim 2011). In particular, as China has undergone rapid social transformations, new individualistic values have emerged in moral education policies, raising controversies and conflicts (Li 1993; Cheung and Pan 2006). Related ambivalence and contradiction in expectations and in the internalization of values surface in child-rearing practices (Fong 2007a; Naftali 2010; Fong et al. 2012).

One crucial factor in the transformation of contemporary Chinese children’s lives is the one-child policy launched in 1979. Education of the “child” is closely intertwined with future development of the “nation” in China (Anagnost 1997; Fong 2004; Greenhalgh 2008). Chinese singleton children, seen as the country’s “only hope” (Fong 2004), are also denounced as “little emperors” (xiao huangdi) who enjoy excessive attention and resources from the whole family (Anagnost 1997; Han 1986). As an aftermath, the moral development of Chinese children has become a critical national challenge, bringing with it heightened concerns and controversies. Anxiety focuses on whether singleton children will become overly self-centered (ziwo zhongxin) and socially incapable. Although the latest research reports that this policy has produced significantly less trusting, less trustworthy, and less conscientious young adults (Cameron et al. 2013), no consensus has been achieved among scholars regarding this issue (for a review, see Settles et al. 2013). In recent years, concerns about the “little emperors” have been exacerbated under the newly emerging “4:2:1” family structure, that is, four grandparents, two parents, and one child, as singleton children reach reproductive age (Wang and Fong 2009). Within the broader context of the one-child policy, another index of the perceived national importance of children’s moral development is the recent focus of China anthropologists on the education for quality (suzhi jiaoyu) movement starting in the 1990s. Studies on this discourse and the impacts of this policy have generated fruitful insights on the relationships between Chinese governmentality and childrearing practices (Anagnost 2004; Fong 2007a; Kipnis 2006, 2007; Kuan 2008; Woronov 2003, 2009; Zhu 2008), but little is known about young children’s own moral experiences.

These tensions in the literature make it even more imperative to explore how the changing moral landscape in China transforms socializers’ attitudes and perspectives on young children’s moral development and how children themselves navigate in a changing world at a time of a moral crisis.


1. Specifically, experimental studies reveal a variety of early emerging moral dispositions and cooperative motivations, such as empathy/care, equality, favoritism, proportionality, hierarchy, and ownership. Recent findings in developmental psychology and developmental neuroscience highlight the early ontogeny of empathy (Saby, Meltzoff, and Marshall 2013; Meltzoff 2002), identify its affective and cognitive components (Davidov et al. 2013; Decety and Howard 2013) and clarify the motivational power of empathy for prosocial behaviors (Hepach, Vaish, and Tomasello 2013a, 2013b; Vaish, Carpenter, and Tomasello 2009). Ownership cognition is another important building block of human morality to guide social coordination (Rochat 2011) because mentally representing and distinguishing one’s own and others’ property are fundamental elements of moral psychology. Experimental studies in recent years piece together a developmental trajectory that develops from identifying the owner of familiar objects in infancy to a more mature understanding of ownership transfer by the end of preschool years (Blake and Harris 2009; Blake, Ganea, and Harris 2012; Friedman and Neary 2008; Friedman 2008; Neary, Friedman, and Burnstein 2009; Kanngiesser, Gjersoe, and Hood 2010; Shaw, Li, and Olson 2012). Recent experimental studies with infants and toddlers have shown the early onset of fairness expectations (for a review, see Sommerville et al. 2013) and detail how preschoolers develop more complex thinking about the different kinds of fairness principles such as equality and merit (Baumard, Mascaro, and Chevallier 2012). At the same time, studies also suggest that children exert subtle judgment in the choice of who should be their cooperative partners in activities such as sharing (Olson and Spelke 2008; Moore 2009; Shaw, DeScioli, and Olson 2012).

2. “Tso jen” is the Wade-Giles version of pinyin “zuo ren.” In the same fashion, “ch’eng jen is the Wade-Giles version of pinyin “cheng ren.”

3. The May Fourth Movement (wu si yundong) was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919. The May Fourth era in a broader sense refers to the period 1915–1921 during which intellectuals initiated cultural and literary reforms, which is also called the New Culture Movement.

4. Themes like this are featured in the great modern writer, Lu Xun’s novels and essays, according to Jon L. Saari (1990).

5. Although the famous series of studies described in “Preschools in Three Cultures” (Tobin, Wu, and Davidson 1991) and “Preschools in Three Cultures Revisited” (Tobin, Hsueh, and Karasawa 2011) feature two renowned public preschools in China, one in Kunming, Southwest, and the other located in the old center of Shanghai, Biyu Preschool differs from these as a newly built private school located in the newly developed Pudong district, China’s financial hub.