Children voice their kindergarten experiences:
A cross-cultural exploratory study in Korea and the US

Haesung Im
Elizabeth Blue Swadener
Arizona State University

Drawn from Hofstede’s (2001) cultural dimension, this study aims to understand how culture plays a role in young children’s views of their kindergarten experiences and communication styles in South Korea and the United States. Due to the large power distance between adults and children, children in Korea were hesitant to express critical views about kindergarten. They neutralised their dislikes and verbalised the expected group norms in order to be a ‘good’ child. Critiquing universal approaches to addressing child participation rights, we argue that being responsive to cultural differences in social relationships may enable children to more freely share their perspectives. It also discusses ways to improve the quality of children’s lived experiences in kindergarten by listening to children’s challenges and desires in each country.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 1 March 2016

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