Lively debates have followed Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's 2006 policy address, especially regarding the issue of the provision of quality early childhood education. Mr Tsang stressed the importance of quality through enhancing the academic qualifications of kindergarten teachers. However, the word quality should not restrict itself to staff enhancement and appears to have multiple meanings that may even conflict with each other. From the parental point of view, good pre-primary education means laying down a solid academic foundation for future primary education. Some parents may expect their children to learn things which even they themselves would find onerous. Are they completely unaware of the burdens and stress they expect to be imposed on their children? Hong Kong society tends to be achievement-driven, and value good academic performance. Acquiring a broad range of literacy and numeracy skills before receiving formal education is likely to guarantee entry to a good primary school. From the government's point of view, the word quality seems to be associated with transparency as much as with enhancing the academic qualifications of kindergarten teachers. One of the government's comments regarding so-called profit-making kindergartens was that the level of transparency in these kindergartens is not high enough. No one has ever conducted formal studies to examine the correspondence between quality and transparency, but instinctively we do believe that more transparency must necessarily translate into better quality. From the perspective of academics, the word quality in the context of kindergarten education relates to whether: The curriculum is sensitive to the developmental milestones of children, The curriculum goals have a balanced coverage of knowledge (IQ), attitude (EQ), physical skills, moral values and creativity, The curriculum is based on education philosophies which have been successfully tested in other countries, for example, whole-language and whole-school approaches, Learners, with the assistance of their teachers, acquire learning skills which allow them to acquire further knowledge and build their self-esteem. If Hong Kong society wants to enhance the quality of early childhood education, it is important for the government to have meaningful consultation and collaboration with academics and parents. Failing that, the 'quality' boosted may bear little relation to the 'quality' desired. Richard Wong Kwok-shing is assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.