TEACHERS’ PERCEPTION OF THE IMPACT OF EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAMMES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN
Background of the Study
The early childhood years have been universally recognized as crucial years for laying the foundation. The significance of education during these early years of life hardly needs to be emphasized today since researchers have proved that this is the most impressionable period of one’s life. Impressions gained at this tender age have a far-reaching effect on life. It is therefore, essential that a rich environment be provided to the child during this period of his growth and development. This necessitates the provision of good facilities for education outside home. Many studies have revealed that experience in early childhood education has positive impact on the overall development of the child and the children had positive attitude toward classroom activities (Laser, 1982; Schechan, 1991; Vijayakhader, 1993 and Dhillon, 1997). This underscores the importance of total development in children and the imperative of early childhood education in catering to the developmental needs of the child.
Development includes the process by which an organism grows from a foetus in the womb to an adult, processes that include predictable changes in biological maturation, physical structure, behaviour and thinking. Some researchers think of development as a series of small, gradual, continuous steps that blend into each other, just as a babbling sound of ″mma, mma″ becomes a call for ″mama″. Others think of development as a series of distinct stages that are qualitatively different from each other, just as walking is significantly different from crawling. Some researchers focus primarily within the ‘interactions’ tradition that conceives development as located within the nested social contexts (Brofenbrenner, 1979). Thus, development is constrained and elaborated by cultural contexts and by the architecture of the brain. These nested social contexts include the impact of close family on development and therefore underscores the vital role of parents in supporting children’s learning.
A key influence in the recent decades is the work of Vygosky (1978) which stresses the role of the social and cultural context in children’s development. The developing child is at the centre of a series of relationship that may influence the child’s development. These are (family, friends, early year’s practitioners, peers and neighbours). Myers (1992) delineated factors that may influence the child within any or all of the relational factors. These included relational factors such as the types of interactions and communication that a child experience. Myers also describes available for example the space, amenities and materials. Other factors of the learning environment are routines and special events that shape children’s lives. All these are influenced by policies and cultural characteristics (value systems, beliefs etc.) In so doing it covers the processes of children’s cognitive, social, emotional, moral and brain development from birth to the end of adolescence. This incorporates a section for each domain (personal-social, Emotional development, communication, language and literacy, Problem solving, Reasoning and Numeracy, Knowledge and Understanding of the World, Physical development and Creative development). Within each domain themes such as Family, Settings, and neighbourhood environment, international-comparisons, and brain development are included as relevant.
There is striking overlap between findings across ‘domains’ of child development, especially as they relate to the supportive processes take place across all the contexts development, e.g. contingent responding to children’s actions are born without a sense of self, they establish this through interactions with others (adults, siblings and peers) and with their culture.
A unique Nigerian child’s development does not differ from every other child’s development in the world. The quality of both the Home Learning Environment (HLE) and the setting has measurable and independent effect on Nigerian children’s development. The Nigerian child needs a lot of supportive processes for the optimum development. The value systems, beliefs, amenities, Physical environment, family, neighbourhood, Friends, Peers, Learning environment are important to a Nigeria child’s development which has direct influence on learning. A Nigerian child is born without a sense of self and they establish this through interactions with others (adults, sibling and Peers) and with their culture. A Nigeria child is unique; they thrive in warm positive relationships, with necessary and appropriate conditions put into place, a Nigeria child can adequately develop according to the ‘domains’ of child development. Children learn to understand themselves and their worlds through two kinds of thought; narrative and scientific enquiry. Supporting their development means supporting both kinds of thinking.
Some Nigerian children lack quality home learning environment because of social gap that is related to income and parental education. Some children experience some kind of home stimulation provided by their advantaged parents while those children who do not experience this kind of stimulation can be supported through early years learning and programmes. It is very pertinent to consider the Nigerian’s child’s processes of development (cognitive, Social, emotional, moral and brain development) and the best supportive contexts for children’s early learning and development. Children must be provided with experiences and support which will help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others, respect for others, social skills, and a positive is position to learn.
Educational Programmes are written programme by the institution or ministry of education which determine the learning process of formal education. Educational Programmes facilitates children’s development. Educational programmes help children in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. Educational Programmes supports children’s learning through offering opportunities for them to use a range of tools safely, encounter creatures, people, plants, and objects in their naturals environments and in real life situations, undertake practical experiments’ and work with range of materials.
Educational programmes are designed to meet the unique needs of a child leading to its development. The educational programme of a school comprises the instructional programmes of school, the curricula activities and the guidance and counseling programme. A good educational programme package for the Nigerian child is a prominent component of the Nigeria child is a prominent component of the national education system. It is foundation training and is considered indispensable to future or life-long education. It is given in Day Care centres and Nursery schools to children aged 3 to under 6years and are enriched by the informal, traditional upbringing given to children. Nigerian government recommends that the main method of teaching at this level is activity or play method and that the curriculum of teacher education should be oriented to achieve this.
Educational programmes creates an active learning environments for young children and consciously meets the cognitive, social, emotional, physical, moral developing needs of a child. Educational programmes for a child the comfort and confidence to grow and develop. Educational programmes of schools should be that which inculcates moral and spiritual principle in interpersonal and human relations, promote the cognitive, physicals, emotional and psychological development of all children. Dissatisfaction with the educational programme in one school usually causes parents to look for better alternatives for their children which can promote their development. Early childhood education is to effect a smooth transition from the home to the school, provide adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at work, inculcate social norms, develop a sense of co-operation, team-spirit, good habits, teach rudiments, forms, letters, etc. through play (Nigerian National Policy on Education, 4th edition, 2004). Therefore any educational programmes developed for the child nearly education must be that which can lead to the optimum development of the child.
Statement of the Problem
Educationally, the period of early childhood is believed to be a very important. It is known by different nomenclatures such as pre-school education, nursery school education, etc. Early childhood education can be defined as the education provided to children from 3 to 6 years of age. In the present investigation, early childhood education has been referred to as the education provided by the nursery school, which intend to prepare children between 3 to 4 years of age for admission to formal schools, i.e., for kindergarten. The main aim of such schools is to stimulate the alround development of the child, which includes physical, social, language, intellectual and moral developments. With substantial advances in the field, influencing the effectiveness of early childhood education, awareness of how it is been perceived is necessary.
The pre-school serves as a ‘bridge’ between parents and teachers. A child gradually learns to walk over this ‘bridge’. He emerges more independent and self-reliant (Pathak, 1987). The mutual understanding and cooperation on the part of the teacher is extremely important. It will surely help in the overall development of the child and will lead to enduring rewards. All this mainly rests on their perceptions regarding early childhood education. In fact, teacher perceptions are being regulated by the academic expectations from 3 to 4 years of child, which in turn are being regulated by those of the administrators of formal schools. It makes the parents anxious and as a result knowingly or unknowingly forces the pre-schools to gear their programmes to meet the expectation of the formal schools and compel the teachers to have a blurred perception of early childhood education.
Purpose of the Study
Teacher’s Perceptions are very personal and can be defined as a mental process in which the mind considers number of aspects simultaneously to make up a complete and whole object. In the present study, ‘perception’ has been defined as opinions of teachers of pre-schoolers with regard to early childhood education. The parents blame the school for insisting upon a vast syllabus, whereas schools hold the parents responsible for the burden on the child as the parents wish to secure admission of their ward in a ‘good’ school and the vicious circle goes on. In order to understand how today education is influencing the child’s development, it is essential to look at the concept, objectives contents and methods of nursery school education as perceived by child education – teachers.
Significance of the Study
The work of this nature when completed will help the teachers to be more aware of the educational programmes on children and how such affects the child positively or negatively in relation to their teaching profession and pupils’ academic performance. From the available recommendations, they will be able to adopt measures of bringing up there in such a way that they will perform well academically.
Similarly, it is likely to encourage parents to make their children relatively comfortable in schools. This study also could aid children of various families to be aware and bear in mind with their parents in ability to provide them with all the necessary requirements in schools, and also sympathize with them in family problems and situations. More so, educational and curriculum planners could be guided in planning the curriculum without rigidity to suit diverse cultural environments. In addition, the teachers would be aware that a cordial teacher parent relationship may in a way improve the educational programmes on the development of a child in school. Finally, the research when completed may add to available literature and may encourage further research on the topic.
Scope of the Study
It would be much demanding to undertake a complete study of teacher’s perception on the impact of educational programmes on the development of children, schools are scattered all over Ekiti state and due to logistics constraint on the researcher, nursery and primary schools in Ado local government area of Ekiti state will be sampled, sampled school are selected based on their metropolis population characteristics.
Based on the problems of the study, the following research questions are raised to direct this study.
- What are the teacher’s perception regarding input indicators of the quality of nursery school educational programmes?
- What are the teacher’s perception regarding process indicators of the quality of nursery school education programmes?
- What are the teacher’s perception regarding output indicators of the quality of nursery school educational programmes?
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