Presentation - ECV2022-314
Background: Leaders play a significant role in implementing reforms and promoting change in kindergartens. Since traditional values perceive women as primary carers of children and make early childhood professionals segregate children with disabilities from regular kindergartens, it is important to identify leaders’ perceptions of gender roles and the inclusion of children with disabilities in regular kindergartens.
Aim: The overall goal of this study is to investigate the kindergarten leaders’ perceptions of the gender roles and inclusive education in China.
Method: The participants (n=15) of this study were the principals and assistant principals from urban and rural kindergartens from different provinces (n=5) in China. The participants were selected following a non-probability sampling method. A semi-structured interview protocol was used, and a thematic analysis technique was used to conduct the qualitative data analysis.
Results: According to the leaders who participated in this study, women were highly expected to be involved in regular childcare activities in rural China. Although the constraints connected to gender stereotypes were considered common in traditional Chinese society in rural areas, the gender gap was also widespread in urban areas. Moreover, a number of leaders indicated that implementing inclusive education in early childhood education was important (as policy suggested), but they showed limited understanding of the relevant policies and practices for full inclusion. The leaders also showed concerns and a lack of enthusiasm in providing access to children with disabilities in their kindergartens.
Conclusions: The findings of this study show that although being aware of the value of inclusive education and gender parity in early childhood education, leaders in Chinese kindergartens are in doubt and reluctant to ensure gender parity and implement inclusive education reform in their kindergartens.
Implications for children and families: Transformation of typical gender roles and inclusive education reforms are needed to support children and families to overcome these existing challenges.
Implications for practitioners: This study can support practitioners and policymakers to understand current difficulties faced by early childhood leaders and support requirements in implementing gender parity and inclusive education.
Key words: professionals’ voices, workforce issues, qualitative methods, inclusive education, gender
This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: