Background to the study

Early childhood education refers to the formal teaching/learning of young children by people outside the family (except when family members) is(are professional teacher(s)) and in setting outside the home. It includes crèche nursery and kindergarten (federal ministry of education,2004).

Early childhood is referred usually to the age of normal schooling years in most nations. Babies and toddlers need positive early learning experiences to help their intellectual, social and emotional development and this lays the foundation for later school successes.

A child is endowed with some powers that enable him to construct and develop his personality. A child learns a language without conscious effort.

Early Childhood Education (ECE) is the foundation for the other levels of education. ECE represents the true beginning of formal education for all children (Akindele, 2011). Those who join primary school without passing through ECE will experience a long period of uncertainties, worries and lack of fun compared to their counterparts who join primary school from ECE. In many parts of the world, rural areas experience low access to ECE and this has been a major challenge and also a hindrance to quality education and achievement of Education for All. Research across several decades has shown that the earlier children start their educational journey, the better they will perform in school and will become more productive members of society. The advocacy for support for early childhood education in last few decades coincides with the growing understanding of how young brains develop.

According to berk(2008),the brain grows faster than any organ in the body during infancy and toddlerhood. Awoniyi(1985) opines that early childhood means the educational provisions ,formal as well as informal that are available for children from age of zero to six years.

Early childhood is a critical period of rapid physical, cognitive and psycho-social development of a child. The quality of care and education which a child receives at this crucial age will determine to a great extent the level of his or her physical and cognitive development in the future (Akindele, 2011). The first years of life are particularly important because vital development occurs in all domains. Many studies suggest that early childhood education contributes to the brain development architecture (Blakemore & Frith, 2005).

The quality of home environment goes a long way in determining the eventual personality and achievement of the child. Psychologist had classified the factors that affect learning into two broad categories namely, nature and nurture. It has been discovered that the two categories play complementary roles. As a nature determines the level of intelligence and inherited abilities of the child, nurture helps to maximize these innate abilities. According to Ekinne(2002), nurture involves the home, the school, the environment and peer groups to which the learner belongs. The home has far reaching influence on the child. Babara (1982) said that the child home environment influences attainment at school. Also, Touray (1982) suggested that the home environmental variables could be manipulated to enhance students’ academic performance.

The level of educational attainment of parents could influence the child access to Early childhood Education.

Educated parents give early independence training and achievement training. Atkinson and Feather (1966) argued that successful parents tend to provide early independence training which is necessary in the development of achievement motivation. In independence training, parents insist on the child’s self-reliance and autonomy in decision making situations. While in achievement training, they insist on high achievement through imposing high standards of excellence in tasks, setting high goals for the child and expecting the child to show competence in doing tasks well.

Illiteracy of parents could have a negative effect on the academic performance of their children. Children whose parents are illiterates have been seen to lack home encouragement. This implies that as some illiterate parents refuse to provide their children with needed textbooks, they are discouraging them from learning. David (2007) stated that textbooks aid studies after normal school teaching. Students from illiterate parents lack assistance because of parents’ illiteracy and ignorance such parents fail to motivate, reinforce, give reward or punish their children on their academic performance which might have forced them to be serious in learning. On the other hand, literate parents have interest in their children’s academic performance. They struggle to provide them with needed materials and give adequate encouragement. Having known the importance of education, they draw a reading time-table for their children and also arrange for part-time teachers to teach their children and check their workbooks from time to time. They provide adequate motivation and reward when the children perform better in class assignments tests and examinations. Taking care of children and making provision for their needs, especially educational needs, are very important in determining the academic performance of children.

Access to education refers to enrolment of a person in an education institution giving him/her an opportunity to participate in learning in a formal institution. Access therefore involves both enrollment and attendance in an education institution. There are large differences in early childhood education access. Demand and supply side factors interact to produce these differentials (Kwame, 2007).).

Statement of the Problem

A close observation by researcher have shown that some children that are supposed to be in school at early stage are not having the opportunity, when probed further. It was discovered that some public schools that are near to their house are not accepting below age five years and those private schools that are close to their house charge exorbitant schools fees. If parents cannot afford to pay school fees, children may not have access to pre –school education. Therefore, this study investigate the impact of parents on child access to early child education, a case study of Ikere Local Government area of Ekiti State.

Objective of the Study

This study will be guided by the following specific objectives.

  • To assess the extent to which school fees affect access to ECE in Ikere Local government area of Ekiti state .
  • To establish the extent to which distance from home to school affects access t ECE in Ikere Local government area of Ekiti state .
  • To assess the extent to which the education level of the parents influences access to ECE in Ikere Local government area of Ekiti state.
  • To establish the relationship between family size and access to ECE in Ikere Local government area of Ekiti state .

Research Questions



Significance of the Study

The study will be an eye opener to parent in order to know the importance of investing in their children’s ECE. They may see the importance of ECE in the development of the child and remove the misconception that ECE is expensive.

Policy makers also find the study useful in addressing factors that hinder access to ECE as they strive to meet the Millennium

Teachers, head teachers, community, religious groups and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will also identify their key roles in expanding access and enhance participation of all school-going age children in Early childhood education.


Limitation of the Study

Problems arise during the course of writing this research project such that literature reviews of authors were scanty but the researcher was able to deal with the challenges in order not to allow these problems to affect the outcome of this study.

Delimitation of the Study

The study was restricted to public ECE centers in Ikere Local government area of Ekiti state . The study also confined to the variables in the objectives. Other variables that could influence the dependent variables were not considered.

Definition of Significant terms

Access; Refers to opportunity to enroll, participate and attend ECE

Distance; Refers to amount of space between home and ECE center.

Early childhood education; Early childhood education (ECE) is a branch of education theory which relates to the teaching of young children (formally and informally) up until the age of about eight. Infant/toddler education, a subset of early childhood education, denotes the education of children from birth to age two

ECE Center; Refers to an education setting serving children aged between 3 and 6 years before joining primary school.

Family size; Refers to the number of children a family has.

Public ECE center; Is an ECE center that is not owned by an individual person but is owned and managed by the community, religious groups or the government?

User-fees; Refers to levies charged by ECE centers before a child is allowed to learn.





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