Background to the Study

Quality education at the early years of a child is very important and there is no gain saying the fact that these formative years have great impact on the later life of the child and consequently national development. In essence, the physical, emotional and cognitive development of the child, if properly taken care of would benefit the child and the nation in general. This is why the Education for All (EFA) goal urges all nations to expand early childhood care and education services to all children particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged by the year 2015

The early years of a child‟s life are the most important to the formation of intelligence, personality and social behavior of a child. The years before a child reaches Kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning. That is why modern societies show serious concern for the education of their young ones by providing needed support to prepare them to succeed later in school. However, reports  across the globe revealed that an estimated figure of one hundred million children struggle daily for survival in villages and cities, and are exposed to the risks of hunger, poverty, disease, illiteracy and abuses. The need to address the problems and salvage these children and the next generation of children from these menace, necessitated the Early Childhood Care Development and Education programme. The aim of ECCDE is to foster the proper development of the children, identify and address their problems, harness their potentials, shape their character, enhance their learning as well as equip them for life, so that their actions are directed towards positive personal, communal and global development in all ramifications of life.

Furthermore, early childhood development is the key to a full and productive life for a child and to the progress of a nation. Early Childhood is therefore, a critical stage of development that forms the foundations for children‘s future well-being and learning. Research has shown that half of a person‘s intelligence potential is developed by age four and that Early Childhood interventions can have a lasting effect on intellectual capacity, personality and social behaviour. Integrated programmes whose focuses are children in their very early years are critical for their mental and psychosocial development as opined Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2000). Education starts from cradle to grave, experts opined that catching children young with quality education remains a veritable tool for lifelong development. Similarly, education is an indispensable tool in nations building is a process of systematic training and instruction designed to transmit knowledge and acquisition of skills, potentials and abilities which will enable an individual to contribute efficiently to the growth and development of society and nation. It involves all round developments of an individual physically, socially, morally, intellectually, and mentally (Osakwe, 2009). Therefore, education is the right of every child and must not be denied for any reason. Thus the assertion of world summit on the state of global children and it has led to the inclusion and expansion of early childhood care and education in the global Education for All Programme (Ajayi, 2008). This is yet to be a reality for every child, because some do not get the opportunity to start early; that is, having the early childhood school experience between the ages 3-5 years before embarking on primary education. In other 3 words, comprehensive and quality ECE programme can meet the educational and developmental needs of disadvantaged children and can help to equalize opportunities early in life. If every child can benefit from an early introduction to education whether provided by parents or professionals either at home or in school environment respectively, it is likely that it would have an impact on the academic achievement, social and moral behaviour of the child. For children of parents with full-time jobs, early childhood education may be the only opportunity these youngsters have to develop crucial social learning skills. Hence today‘s increased demand for educational excellence combined with the economic needs to work longer hours by parent is an equation that highly favours early childhood education. Furthermore Mefor (2010), maintained that working class women‘s leaving children at ―day care centers‖ has contributed to labour force rates for mothers of young children which have risen over the past few decades, so is the use of child care, centers and family care at home. A substantial majority of young children now regularly experience child care prior to entry into school. The rate of care for pre-school age children is now, higher than for infants and toddlers. Given this high child care usage, both parents and professionals have sought to understand the influence of these experiences on children‘s cognitive, social and moral development, (Feisner & Feinberg, 2004). Regulating pupil‘s behaviour according to Thornberg (2009) is an essential part of every day school life. In traditional as well as progressivist view rules in school are usually seen as an unproblematic means to organize and regulate pupils and their behaviour in school as well as teaching them to be good citizens or helping them to acquire moral and social skills. Furthermore rules serve to protect or safeguard values and function as instruments used in the pursuance of these values though the cognitive approach of Piaget opinion that the child develops his/her morality which will change 4 from one sided to a morality of cooperation and mutual respect.

Turiel (1980), cited in White (2001), opined that this level is found on the concept of like reciprocity and equality that is pupils should not be restricted but be told why such is such. Sherman (1996), cited in Thornberg (2009), calls the process of socialization with rules and routine in school ―studentizing‖ in which compliance with authority, rules, times keeping routines ensure their inclusion as a pupils/students in the school world as a preparation for the world works. These questions could be asked what pupils actually learn by rules of their school? What are the moral messages embedded in the system of school and classroom rules.

According to Bosstroom (1991) as cited in Thornberg (2009), as pupil‘s embraced rules they take part not only in short term behaviour but also in far reaching ways of thinking about themselves and the world. Inevitably, schools are a part of moral life of school or source of moral influence (Fenstermacher 2001; Jackson, Boostrom, Hasen 1993; & Thornberg 2006). Indeed, similar to the present study, achievement research needs to deal with the technical issues of how teachers teach efficiently and effectively, but also to go beyond with a mere critical point of view, because education is not a neutral enterprise, but rather it is immersed in ideology, morality, power, cultural control and social reproduction (Apple 2004; Bernstein 2000; Buzzeli & Johnston 2002). In essence morality could be viewed from difference perspectives of social learning theory which adopts many of the concept explain how people develop and are socialized (Sieber 1980 cited in White, Crafford and Schepers, 2001)

Statement of the Problem

Most children these days do not develop cognitively due to lack of early childhood education which is mainly given to children firstly by their parents and secondly by their teachers who are also regarded as surrogate parents in the school. Majority of pupils in primary one in the Nigerian school system, did not pass through the pre-primary schools where children are taught basically through the methods befitting to the children’s learnability and comprehension in the early stage of life. Because of this lapse, most children in the primary schools fail to grasp the content of their lessons due to the fact that they started their early education from the stem instead of from the root. Furthermore, Early Childhood Education and Care Subsector in Nigeria had been bedevil with challenges; prominent among them are lack of infrastructure, lack of uniform standard, lack of funds, and dearth of qualified teachers. National Education Research Development Council and National Commission for Colleges of Education conducted two surveys independently between (2003) and (2004). Their findings shows that higher percentage of children do not have access to early childhood education programme, and 9 the few children that had access to it, had it conducted under poor condition, with teacher quality being the most crucial and vital. Notably there is the need to promote moral and social value education among the young ones but the reverse is the case where school programme laid more emphasis on academic pursuit, tagged by Mitchell (1980) as school Programme for academic preparedness instead of personal and social enrichment or Montessori approach. This poses concern because the current programme has little positive effect on social, moral and cognitive development. These desirable outcomes are of importance and need to be nurtured in children who attend ECE school programme to ensure quality assurance and high standard. The present study was particularly steered by recent changes in the society. In the last few decades the society‘s experience with industrialization, growing labour force that involves women participation in work force; access to information media and culture interference, decline in standard behaviour, attitudes and quality relationship among peer groups; has led to a situation whereby social and moral values have been compromised for academic issues; neglecting the tangible moral and social value that should be handled by both parents and educators at home and in the school respectively. In addition, schools adopt the use of cheap labour by employing untrained teachers at the expense of the growing children.

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Updated: 12th March 2020 — 8:20 am

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