Tian Shi (Timing) Di Li (Context) Ren He (Human Capital): A New Theoretical Framework for Analyzing the Implementability of Imported Early Childhood Practices and Making a Case for a Hybrid Model

Document Type


Publication Date



In this conceptual paper, we propose a new three-pronged theoretical framework derived from Chinese philosophy: (1) Tian Shi (timing), (2) Di Li (context), and (3) Ren He (human capital). Specifically, we delineate the nature of Tian Shi, Di Li, Ren He required for the successful translation of top-down education policy into practice using Hong Kong as a case example. Applying this new conceptual framework, we conducted secondary data analysis of two cases examining the implementability of U.S.-originated and popular child-centered early childhood models by Hong Kong kindergarten teachers (serving children ages 3–6), with one case focusing on the Project Approach in one kindergarten, and the other on the HighScope Curriculum in another kindergarten. The findings revealed that Hong Kong had not yet attained favorable Tian Shi, Di Li, Ren He to render success in these kindergarten teachers’ adoption of imported early childhood approaches with fidelity due to incompatibility in sociocultural and educational realities as well as professional competence. Instead, the teachers’ implementation behaviors made a case for a hybrid model as a viable and potentially sustainable solution to reconcile these contextual incompatibilities by weaving local and global practices into a conflation.

Publication Title

Journal of Research in Childhood Education

First Page Number


Last Page Number




This document is currently not available here.