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Influence Of Early Childhood Education On The Academic Achievement Of Primary School Pupils In Oshimili South Local Government Area Of Delta State

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ABSTRACT

This study examined the influence of early childhood education on the academic achievement of primary school pupils in Oshimili South local government area of Delta State. The population of the study comprised of the three thousand and twenty (3020) primary four pupils (male and female) in all the 23 public primary schools in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. Out of the 23 public primary schools in Oshimili South, 9 schools were randomly selected. In each school, one stream of primary 4 pupils was selected through balloting. A total of 135 pupils were sampled (Male and Female). The instrument used for data collection was a structured questionnaire which was structured by the researcher and validated by two experts (one from Primary Education Department of Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba and one from Measurement and Evaluation. One hundred and thirty-five (135) copies of the questionnaire were administered to primary four pupils in the selected primary schools in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta by the researcher with the help of 3 research assistance. One hundred and thirty (130) questionnaires returned and analyzed. Based on the analysis, it was found that early childhood education influence pupils’ participation in learning activities which in turn influence their academic achievement at the primary school level and Pupils’ problem-solving ability is being influenced by early childhood education which equally influence their academic achievement, Early Childhood Education influence pupils’ social/moral behaviour which in turn influence their academic achievement at the primary school level. On the basis of the findings, it was recommended among others that every child should be given opportunity to experience Early Childhood Education which is in line, with Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the rights of the child and government should ensure that services provided by teachers are incompliance with curriculum in core subjects as stated by NERDC to enhance achievement of state objective for a specific level of education. 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study 

The early years of a child’s life is crucial to what he/she might turn out to be now and in the future. According to National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC, 2015), learning experiences acquired during early years leave long lasting impression, and learning at this stage is often a shared responsibility of the home and school.  Mefor (2017), stated that learning process and moulding of a child and its responsibility is internally regulated by parents who are at home and externally regulated by the teachers who teach them in school. However, parents’ rush for excessive wealth and women’s participation in the labour market have denied children at this stage of life, the golden opportunity of education which should be acquired at home. The reason is that, most children during this stage are left at the mercy of Care givers, who know nothing about child-bearing and sometimes are themselves children who also need care. This has often resulted in disastrous incident where children are found to be dropouts in schools or exhibit aggressive behaviour like bullying, shouting or worst case of drug addiction or drug abuse are exhibited due to bad upbringing or interaction with peer groups (Peisner & Feinberg, 2016).

Early Childhood (EC) usually refers to the first eight years of a child’s life. Explicitly it is the period before full-time schooling begins, for children aged 3 to 5. In essence, Early Childhood Education (ECE) refers to education which includes the crèches, the nursery and kindergarten, while the primary education refers to education given to children between 6-10 years and above. The period is seen as turning point in child development for building human capital in the form of the basic social, cognitive, and scholastic skills needed for educational achievement.           Early Childhood Education is also seen as a preventive measure to reduce the incidence of remedial classes, grade repetition, getting assigned to special-education classes, and later dropping out of school. As an equity issue, ECE is viewed as an equalizer between rich and poor, a way of providing children from disadvantaged backgrounds some of the human-capital builders experienced by children from more advantaged households (Hammand, 2016).

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.

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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 by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2018).

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, 2016). 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, 2018). 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 words, comprehensive and quality Early Childhood Education 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 favoured early childhood education.

Furthermore, Mefor (2017), 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, 2016).

Aldemir and Sezer (2015) maintained that Early Childhood is a period when children begin to acquire their personality traits, moral behaviour, habit formation, and social interaction and communication skills. As a result of the increase in the number of young children whose primary caretakers or parents are in the workforce, education and care of children in the Early Childhood period therefore requires teachers who have professional knowledge to assess and respond to developmental and learning needs of all children. Such educators must have the ability to recognize and analyze their personal beliefs, which may clash and interfere with the teaching act. Though, awareness of early childhood education for children dates back to the period of the renaissance, this turned into the decade of seventies with some marks of accomplishment (Akujo, 2016). During the past two decades, there had been a steady growth of interest in improving and expanding educational opportunities for young children all over the world. Group experiences away from home have become a popular and acceptable means of supplementing a child’s home experience and offering alternatives, for the working parents which will be better attained under the supervision of a professionally trained Early Childhood Educators (Disu, 2016).

The conception that Early Childhood Education (ECE) positively affects academic progress is well established (Osakwe, 2016). Thus, academic achievement represents performance outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments, specifically in school, college, and university. School systems mostly define cognitive goals that either apply across multiple subject areas (e.g., critical thinking) or include the acquisition of knowledge and understanding in a specific intellectual domain (e.g., numeracy, literacy, science, history). Academic achievement should therefore be considered to be a multifaceted construct that comprises different domains of learning. Because the field of academic achievement is very wide-ranging and covers a broad variety of educational outcomes, the definition of academic achievement depends on the indicators used to measure it (Mefor, 2017).

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The indelibility of the knowledge acquired by young and innocent children suggests the paramount importance of early childhood education. Knowledge in childhood is likened to an engraved mark on a rock, which is difficult to rub off, as it is better to train boys than to mend men, (Adebayo, 2018). In addition, ECE is considered an indispensable tool in nation building and a 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 the society and nation. In this regard, Kano State established Early Childhood Education (ECE) prior to primary education which fortunately coincides with the National Council on Education’s 2013 decision mandating an approved compulsory one-year (pre-primary) education which every child will undergo prior to the commencement of early childhood education in schools irrespective of either the schools are government or private owned in Nigeria.

The need for Early Childhood Education programme cannot be over emphasized because when pupils are given opportunity to develop skills by playing with others and taking part in activities that would build on their abilities and interests which will definitely build up the child’s social behaviour and recreation activities as well as develop pupils academically, morally and socially, when taught by qualified staff who will deliver quality knowledge to the pupils would enhance success in school and in life.

Statement of the Problem

Early Childhood Education and Care Subsector in Nigeria had been bedeviled 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 (2013) and (2014) according Disu (2016). Their findings show that higher percentage of children do not have access to early childhood education programme, and 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 Adebayo (2018) 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. Likewise, is the rise in decline challenging behaviours among pupils/children that is, lack of quality positive social emotional relationship development between the pupils and teachers and decline of moral behaviour exhibited by pupils in classroom or during outdoor games. Similarly, many children arrived at schools without social skills, English language and moral behaviour required for learning. All these constitute a source of concern to parents, teachers and educators.

Similarly, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (2007) in its revised Minimum Standard for Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) teachers included ECE courses using twelve Colleges of Education as pilot colleges, to ensure quality ECE teacher production.  In spite of these efforts, schools are still faced with problems such as location of schools, sanitation, illumination, equipment and infrastructure which make provision for outdoor activities such as swinging, slides, merry go round, football pitch were grossly inadequate for pupils that will enable to engage in physical activities, thus social interaction becomes inhibited. With the above critical appraisal facing the early childhood education programme, the researcher sought to investigate the influence of early childhood education on academic achievement of primary school pupils in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State.

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Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to ascertain the influence of early childhood education on the academic achievement of primary school pupils in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. Specifically, the study is carried out to ascertain: The specific objectives of the study are to determine:

  1. The influence of Early Childhood Education on pupils’ participation in learning activities in primary schools in Oshimili South.
  2. The influence of Early Childhood Education on pupil’s problem-solving ability in primary schools in Oshimili South.
  • The influence of Early Childhood Education on pupils’ social/moral behavior in primary schools in Oshimili South.

Research Questions

The following questions were raised to guide the study:

  1. Does Early Childhood Education influence pupils’ participation learning activities in primary schools in Oshimili South?
  2. Does Early Childhood Education influence pupil’s problem-solving ability in primary schools in Oshimili South?
  • Does Early Childhood Education influence pupils’ social/moral behavior in primary schools in Oshimili South?

Significance of the Study

This study would be useful to teachers, parents, ministry of education, the field of primary education and researchers as a whole.

Early Childhood Education programmes are path ways that link a child’s early experience to later learning and development socially, emotionally, morally and cognitively. It is a transitional stage to primary and elementary school. It thus determines sound education which is laid on solid foundation that enhances subsequent learning in later years. Significantly, ECE will give a boost to academic achievement and behaviour of pupils that will enhance subsequent school system. It is highly beneficial to the pupils’ cognitive and educational development as well as the well-being of young children in terms of their individual needs and characteristics.

The finding of study would provide, pupils with systematic framework academically that would enhance subsequent learning, earlier completion, improve school achievement and higher levels of social, moral and emotional functioning, success in lifelong development. Similarly, pupils who engaged in ECE schools – based, exhibit accepted social, moral and emotional attitudes and would attained higher grades scores than their peers who did not engage in ECE learning.

The finding of this study would clarify issues and create awareness for parents on benefits of early childhood education to subsequent learning which would be a strategy for better performance as long as parents makes provision of writing and creative arts materials available and get involve in parent teachers’ association, where the way forward in education is discussed and decision made.

It is anticipated that the findings would expose teachers to different approaches of teaching and learning academic concept, which should not be taught solidarity instead concept be taught in collaboration with moral and social interaction.

Results obtained from this finding would clarify issue on the essence of making provision for early years education prior to primary education to stakeholders, National Council on Education, National Education Research Development Council, Early Childhood Educators to ensure that education at this level is assessed to all and have a working document for schools and agencies on better effective implementation of early years without de – emphasizing academic concept from social and moral behaviour with the aim of providing a systematic framework for laying a solid foundation academically, socially and morally. This will assist curriculum developers in making decision on methods, teaching and learning experience (content). Regularly engage in programme evaluation guided by programme goals using appropriate conceptually and technically sound evidence and tackle issue related to curriculum development and implementation.

The findings of this study would serve as significant literature on influence of early childhood education on academic achievements, moral and social behaviour of primary school pupils.

Scope of the Study

This study was delimited to the influence of early childhood education on academic achievement of primary school pupils in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. With particular emphasis on the influence of Early Childhood Education on pupils’ participation in learning activities, problem-solving ability, social and moral behaviour.


Pages:  65

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo                                     

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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