I open with a brief quotation taken from Alice in Wonderland: Alice

Who in the world am I?

Taking Alice’s question as a point of departure, and with reference to traditions and practices employed in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, I want to examine “the child” as she is defined within early years education in East Asia. Such an examination has to be undertaken from a global and postcolonial perspective: each of the aforementioned educational systems has drawn upon aspects of European and North American philosophy and practice in their development of an early childhood provision, but these borrowings and adaptations have been different, partial and contingent upon specific and individual contexts. The resemblance to and mimicking of aspects of Western versions may offer a broad theme in a consideration of the East Asian practice of early childhood education, but it is from the dynamics of specific social, economic, cultural and political needs and tensions that a more comprehensive picture of movement and purposeful development begins to emerge.