Full Project – Impact of Parental Support on Preschool Pupils Learning Outcomes In District III Ikoyi Lagos
1.1 Background to the Study
Education in the second half of the twentieth century has been characterized by increases in the provision of educational programs for preschool-age children. The largest wave of preschool education activity has been the federally funded Head Start program, established in the 1960s to help children overcome the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical deficits that frequently accompany growing up in economically deprived homes.
The involvement of parents in young children’s education is a fundamental right and obligation. Both the OECD (2006) and UNICEF (2008a) argue that early child education services should recognise mothers’ and fathers’ right to be informed, comment on and participate in key decisions concerning their child. Research shows that there is a substantial need and demand for a parental component in early child education services. Research also demonstrates that parental engagement in ECEC services enhances children’s achievements and adaption (Desforges and Abouchaar, 2003).
When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more. Parental involvement over the past decade, indicates that regardless of family income or background, “students with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, be promoted, pass their classes, earn credits, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, adapt well to school and graduate to postsecondary education” (Henderson and Map, 2002).
A parent is the child’s first and most important teacher in life and he or she is expected to play an active role in the child’s preschool journey because it is believed a parent and child should grow together and have a rewarding preschool experience. This follows subsequently by school life where academic performance is expected to be high. The parent is supposed to be supportive to the child in all aspects which include socially, physically, mentally and also emotionally (Epstein, 2001). Studies have indicated that children whose parents and/or other significant adults share in their formal education tend to do better in school. Some benefits that have been identified that measure parental involvement in education include; higher grades and test scores, long term academic achievement, positive attitudes and behaviors and more successful programs (Epstein, 2001).
The first six years of a child’s life have been recognized as the most critical ones for optimal development. Since the process of human development is essentially cumulative in nature, investment in programmes for the youngest children in the range of 0-6 years has begun to be accepted as the very foundation for basic education and lifelong learning and development. Over the years, the field of childcare, inspired by research and front-line experiences, has developed into a coherent vision for early childhood care and education.
Schweinhart (1985) points out that one-fourth of all children under the age of six are living in poverty, and that three-fifths of the mothers of three- and four-yearold children now work outside the home. However, fewer than 20 percent of the nation’s three and four-year-olds from poor families are currently enrolled in Head Start programs.
In addition to the generally recognized need to provide some kind of extra support to children from low-income homes, there is another reason for the dramatic increase in educational programs for children before first grade. This is the increase, alluded to above, of mothers in the workforce. Many parents who are not at home with their children in the daytime are not satisfied with unstructured day care or babysitting, preferring that their children participate in more formal learning experiences. Some of the increased interest in and push for structured preschool programs comes from the unfortunate notion, held by some, that education is a race to be won, and those who start first are more likely to finish ahead.
A great many educators and researchers view early childhood education as beneficial to children’s cognitive and social development. These proponents including virtually all of the researchers and theorists whose work was consulted in order to prepare this document base their conviction on personal observation and on the many research studies linking early childhood programs to desirable outcomes. It is important to note, however, that some educators, such as Elkind (1988), Katz (1987), Zigler (1986), and representatives of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (1986) warn against too much formal, highly structured education for very young children. These and other writers have called attention to three major objections to school-based programs.
Puleo (1988) call attention to the issues surrounding the half-day/full-day kindergarten controversy. They note that some educators and researchers feel that the additional hours are too fatiguing for young children and that, in any case, increasing allocated time does not necessarily enhance program quality. Given this array of assertions and reservations about preschool and kindergarten programs, it is important to examine what well-designed research studies reveal about the long and short-term effects of early childhood education. It is also important to determine whether different effects are produced by different models for early childhood programs–to determine, for example, whether didactic, teacher-directed programs or less-structured, “discovery” models produce superior cognitive and behavioral outcomes.
Parents and teachers, as stakeholders in the system, need to be aware and conscious of the need to insist on standards of safety at the centers and also for good personnel at these centers. The turnover rate of childcare staff, burnout and emotional distress would be real concerns that parents must be aware of and guard against in the interest of their children. However, it must be noted that at the other end of the continuum of the economic strata, there is a very large group of children who do not even have the luxury of holding a pencil between their fingers and scribbling on paper or even holding a book in their hands. Addressing children at such extremes of the economic divide is not just a concern but also a big challenge.
The pre-school education component of ECCE has demonstrated a positive impact on retention rates and achievement levels in primary grades. However, it is important to note that attendance in pre-schools does not automatically guarantee better academic achievement. ‘Quality’ aspects, such as a healthy environment, stimulating activities and encouraging, care-giving teachers, are imperative to ensure all-round development in children.
There is sufficient evidence to indicate that early childhood represents the best opportunity for breaking the inter-generational cycle of multiple disadvantages-chronic under-nutrition, poor health, gender discrimination and low socio-economic status. Family and community-based holistic interventions in early childhood to promote and protect good health, nutrition, cognitive and psycho-social development have multiplicative benefits throughout the life cycle.
It is vital that all the stakeholders (children, parents, neighbourhood and society at large) in the system and advocates for the well-being of children become aware of the need for adherence to the spirit and letter of ECCE rather than be driven by competition and/or commercialization. The issues of quality and accountability for the use of public funds and childcare as a public service need to be at the forefront.
Parents and teachers, as stakeholders in the system, need to be aware and conscious of the need to insist on standards of safety at the centers and also for good personnel at these centers. The turnover rate of childcare staff, burnout and emotional distress would be real concerns that parents must be aware of and guard against in the interest of their children.
However, it must be noted that at the other end of the continuum of the economic strata, there is a very large group of children who do not even have the luxury of holding a pencil between their fingers and scribbling on paper or even holding a book in their hands. Addressing children at such extremes of the economic divide is not just a concern but also a big challenge.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
The problems that have always reared its head in the society is the issue of having adequate hands that can teach the children at the early stage of their life. It was the reason for the study embarked by the Federal Ministry of Education, the World Bank and UNICEF to ascertain the capacity of the existing teacher education institutes in other to upgrade the skills of in-service teacher and pre-service early child education in Nigeria.
Parents of preschool children are often faced with unique challenges that hinder them from meeting the learners’ needs. They include; insufficient time, career or job type, level of education, order of priority, set home environment, opinion to voluntary work at school, time taken to respond to school activities for example buying instruction materials, attending parents meetings, conferences, sports ,academic clinic day, disciplinary cases and also discussing the academic progress of the child. If the above needs are not attended to, there is a likelihood of child not performing well because he or she is not adequately supported. Insufficient parental involvement may lead to poor performance of the child academically
In the child’s environment (the family, the neighbourhood, risk factors have a negative effect on the child’s development of intellectual skills, school achievement, social-emotional competence, social adjustment and health even to the extent that poverty leads to irreversible effects on brain functioning (Hackman and Farrah, 2009).
Edin and Lein (1997) show that, in poor families, child care and medical care arrangements are unstable or of low quality. Additionally, their economic hardship often results in chronic stress. This is more prevalent among low-income populations because they have fewer resources to mitigate these events. The connection between economic status and mental health is important because poor mental health is related to harsh, inconsistent, less involved parenting and less caring interactions. In turn, this has been associated with behavioural problems, for example, children are more often involved in fights and less capable of collaborating with peers; and it can cause severe attention issues leading to decreasing school performance.
Despite the central role for responsive parenting in different research frameworks, much of what we know about this parenting style comes from descriptive studies. This means that we can only infer the importance of responsive parenting. To assume a causal influence of responsive parenting on child outcomes would require data from experimental studies with random assignment.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to critically examine the parental support and pupils learning outcomes in education. The specific objectives include the following:
- To examine the impact of parents in early childhood preschool pupils’ learning outcomes.
- To investigate if the socio-demographic characteristics of the parents have an impact on preschool pupils’ learning outcomes.
- To examine the factors affecting parental support in early childhood education.
- To recommend measures to increase the rate and support of parents in preschool pupils’ learning outcomes.
1.4 Research Question
- To what extent will parents influenced early preschool pupils’ learning outcomes?
- Does the socio-economic characteristics have any impact on preschool pupils’ learning outcomes?
- What are the factors affecting parental support in early childhood education?
- What are the measure that will increase the rate and support of parents in preschool pupils’ learning outcomes?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The following hypothesis was developed for the study:
Ho: There is no significant relationship between parental support and preschool pupils’ learning outcomes.
H1: There is significant relationship between parental support and preschool pupils’ learning outcomes.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study examined parental support and pupils learning outcomes in education. A study of education district IV, Yaba, Lagos. The study will be limited to five selected Pre-Nursery Schools in district IV, Yaba, Lagos.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study lies in the hope that the findings may be of benefit to:
The Ministry of education where the study may be used to formulate policy that will enhance early childhood education in the classroom.
Furthermore, the study will be used by the Ministry of Education and other policy making organs of government especially in the measures they adopt in resolving the identified factors militating against early childhood education.
The findings of this study will reveal the best ways or measures to be taken in order to improve the quality of early childhood education in Lagos state; which helps to promote parental support, teachers’ productivity and effective school system as a whole.
1.8 Operational Definitions of Terms
Relative to this study, definitions to the following terms are provided in order to clarify each in the context of the topic:
Parental Support: Parental support is a behavioural and evolutionary strategy adopted by parents, making a parental investment into the evolutionary fitness of their offspring.
Preschool: Education given to children from birth to the age of about eight years.
Learning outcomes: Learning outcomes are statements that describe significant and essential learning that learners have achieved, and can reliably demonstrate at the end of a course or program.
Infant/Toddler Education: This is a subset of early childhood education which denote the education of children from birth to age two
Classroom: This a room in which a class of pupils or students is taught.
Childhood: Childhood is the age span ranging from birth to adolescence.
Education: Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, culture, and habits.
Family Values: These are values supposedly learned within a traditional family unit, typically those of high moral standards and discipline.
Parent: A parent consists of a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male through the sperm, and a female through the ovum.
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