TEACHERS’ PERCEPTION OF THE IMPACT OF EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAMMES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN IN ADO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EKITI STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

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.

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.

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Updated: 13th September 2017 — 3:08 pm

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