Curriculum Perspectives

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 39–49 | Cite as

Learning and learners in early childhood curricula: Australia, Japan and China

  • Karen GuoEmail author
  • Kiyomi Kuramochi
  • WanYing Huang
Research article


Conceptions of learning and learners underpin and lend legitimacy to curriculum decisions. This study engages with the national early childhood curriculum documents of three countries, Australia, Japan and China in order to understand their conceptions of learning and learners. The lens through which we explore learning and learners is one that privileges curriculum as an important document in which the concepts of learning and learners are understood. The purpose of this cross-national comparison is twofold: it analyses learning and learners in each curriculum document to consider ways in which the concepts are constituted; and it compares the three curricula with regard to their expressions of the concepts in order to identify how national and global contexts influence early childhood curricula. Concept analysis provides an approach with which to explore learning and learners, and consequently a useful way of understanding them across the three documents. While findings highlight some similar articulations of the concepts, significant differences are detected. It is argued that the documents produce distinctive national and global versions of learning and learners. The study is expected to become a catalyst for national and international discussions of key curriculum terms.


Learning, learners Early childhood curriculum Cross-national comparison Australia Japan China 


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Copyright information

© Australian Curriculum Studies Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and EducationDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationTokyo Gakugei UniversityKoganeiJapan
  3. 3.Bangde Vocational CollegeShanghaiChina

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