This paper reports on a research program that investigates policy and practice relating to the building
of a Chinese early childhood workforce in a context of changed government policy, improved
standards regarding teacher qualifications and curriculum content, and changing parental expectations.
The evolving context reflects the fact that recent economic development in China has witnessed
enhanced need for a workforce that is suitable for jobs that require advanced skills and a high
capacity to learn. This identified need has brought a renewed interest in early childhood education.
Subsequently, policy makers have raised questions regarding what early childhood teachers should
know and the skills they need to acquire to be competent practitioners. The research findings draw on
interviews conducted with 24 kindergarten directors from provinces across China. The interview
explored opinions about skills and attributes teachers require, level and form of knowledge they need,
and how teachers’ capacities might be enhanced.