Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited: China, Japan, and the United States [Hardcover]

Year of Publication
Number of Pages
University of Chicago Press
ISSN Number
ISBN-10: 0226805034
Average: 5 (1 vote)


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Posted by Peggy Morycz

Field of Interest/Specialty:
Posted On: 12/07/2015

I am the Director/Teacher of students ages 2 to 5 in a multicultural preschool program, Beginnings, at Calvary Episcopal Church. I am also one of a team of teachers in an English as a Second Language Class for adults at the church, many of whom are parents of the children in our preschool. A large percentage of students in both settings are from East Asia.
This film is the video companion to Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited (2009), in which author Joseph Tobin returns to the schools he visited in his original study from 1989, Preschool in Three Cultures. The core conclusion of the first study was that preschools in Japan, China and the United States are institutions that reflect and impart their cultures’ core beliefs. In this later study, the author, with collaborators Yeh Hsueh and Mayumi Karasawa, also visited an additional school in each of the countries of China, Japan and the United States, to focus on what has stayed the same and what has changed in Japanese, Chinese and American preschools.
In addition to filming, the authors conducted focus groups with teachers, parents and administrators at each of the schools and with similar groups not affiliated with the schools in each country. The book is a detailed account of the results of the study that makes the reader think about the role of the preschool in transmitting the culture of its society.
The narrated film is divided into an introduction, which explains the project and its background information, followed by six separate sections representing one day in each of six schools in 2002. The first three schools were part of the original study and some portions of video recordings made in 1989 are included to show continuity and change in practices in the schools 17 years later. The last three schools were selected to represent more recently started preschools and current teaching practices.
This would be a wonderful resource for all teachers of young children, especially those who have students from China or Japan. Even without reading the book, the film’s depiction of the practices in each classroom along with the descriptions by the narrator give a realistic look into the classrooms at each school. Although there are many similarities in working with the four year olds, there are many distinct differences seen and explained by the narration.
The film would make an excellent training tool. The structure of the film in sections would allow for inclusion at several in-service sessions or for division among several smaller groups for reporting to the whole. The technique of filming parallel parts of each day in each school gives a basis for comparing and contrasting teaching practices, curriculum, scheduling, even arrival and dismissal of students. This film, in parts, could also be used with adult students in the English as a Second Language class to view and discuss.