A Comparative Study of Pre-service Education for Preschool Teachers in China and the United States

Pre-Service Education for Preschool Teachers

This study provides a comparative analysis of the pre-service education system for preschool educators in China and the United States. Based on collected data and materials (literature, policy documents, and statistical data), we compare two areas of pre-service training: (1) the formal system; (2) the informal system. In the formal
system, most of the Chinese preschool teachers are trained in secondary education school but and the system is shifting towards higher reliance on associate degree programs in higher education, whereas the majority of American preschool teachers receive pre-service education in bachelor’s degree and associate degree programs. US has relied more on the formal system to cultivate preschool teachers, while China has to rely on some informal pre-service training to candidates without early childhood background, especially for places with preschool teacher shortages. Trends for possible reforms in the two countries and lessons for elevating preschool teacher preparation are discussed.