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1.1 Background to the Study

The quality of life for a child and the contributions the child makes to the society as an adult can be traced back to the first few years of life. From birth until about five years old, a child undergoes tremendous growth and change. If this period of life includes support for growth in cognition, language, motor skills, adaptive skills and social-emotional functioning, the child is more likely to succeed in school and later contribute meaningfully to the society. A good early childhood care and education provides the intervention programmes that support children’s survival growth, development and learning including health, nutrition and hygiene, cognitive, social, physical and emotional development from birth to entry into primary school in formal, informal and non-formal settings (UNESCO, 2007).

Anyakogu (2005), states that the primary location for early childhood education and development is the home. This is because, the home is the first contact the child had in order to interact effectively with both parents and siblings. The home is a place, where learning begins for the child. A place the child learns how to respect parents and to imitate and recognize people around him. Traditionally, the responsibility for child care in Nigeria as elsewhere in Africa rests on the extended family and the wider community. These members of the society contribute to the upbringing of the child, providing him or her with a wide range of stimulating interactions that will affect the child’s development positively, especially in psycho-social terms.

In recent decades, rapid urbanization has increasingly eroded this traditional pattern of the child care. Hodges (2001) observed that “’for the approximately one third of families who now live in the cities, the mutual support that was a prominent nature of rural life has given way to situation where each household is to a large extent responsible on its own for the care of children”. Living in cities implies that many mothers are engaged outside the home or otherwise for most part of the day and this has implication for child upbringing in the family (Adeleke, 2006). This is because, many parents’ love and burning desires for paid job and monetary reward, in order to make the family more comfortable and to meet up with the payment of other home bills, have taken over parents’ love and care for their children. This has caused many parents to leave their children at the hand of immature house-helps and nannies, hence poor growth and development of the child in the society and the school.

Parental roles in early childhood development are varied. The quality of care given to young children affects their development. Parents and in particular mothers, are responsible for feeding, hygiene in the house as well as the response to illness in young children. For babies, mothers breast milk offer the best and most complete food. Breast milk provides babies with antibodies, which help to keep off the risk of illness (Leon, 2005). Parents especially mothers who are engaged in routine jobs, do not have time to feed the baby with adequate breast milk. Also, due to education and civilization, most mothers believe that feeding the baby with breast milk will affect their breasts and thereby making them to look older than their ages. Therefore, they fail to feed their babies with the breast milk within the required period. This has caused most children to have poor growth and social development, and by extension, poor academic achievement in school.

Monde (2002) claims that the early introduction of other liquids and solids if prepared in unhygienic conditions increases the likelihood of infection, often resulting in potentially life threatening conditions like diarrhea. Exclusive breast feeding in the first six months of life is enough to support the growth and development of babies and this should be complemented with high quality foods until about 24 months of age to sustain the rate of growth. Adequate care and nutrition lays a solid foundation for proper early childhood development. This is because proper nutrition aids brain growth necessary for intellectual, cognitive as well as psycho-motor development in the child.

The home serves as the take-off point of this development. The child who is usually helpless depends on maternal stimulation for the development of proper physical and physiological functioning. This includes toileting, feeding and bathing (Ayo, 2000).  Toileting, bathing and feeding training for the baby in the early life of the child is very crucial and necessary for the child’s later years of life. Not only that, this builds proper confidence in the child in the larger society. This can only be made possible if parents, especially mothers are available and have time to take their responsibilities at this crucial time of the child’s development and growth.

The mother is the first important person in a baby’s world. How she behaves to the child is crucial in establishing a feeling of comfort and security. According to Esu (2000), “insufficiency of maternal care is detrimental to development during the early years as the child grows. It is the responsibility of both parents to lead children through the early years, providing them with adequate nutrition, stimulation, good values, and good health habits. It is also a parental role to teach children the language of their immediate environment. They should help children to communicate with the family and with their peers (Amadi and Amadi, 2007). This is because, if children are taught how to communicate with family members and peers at the early age or stage, it help them to acquire or learn good behaviours and positive social adjustment in the society and at school even when they grow up as adolescents and adults. For instance, they would learn how to respect the older members of the society in terms of greeting, making requests etc.

Children learn at different times. Often by the time a child is twelve months, he or she can pronounce a few words, and by the time the child is five or six years, he/she can communicate very well. It is the duty of parents and the home to ensure language development, especially in the early years while the school reinforces this later (Ayodeji, 2004). This is because, by the time parents teach their children how to speak good languages that are acceptable in the society and avoiding the bad languages that are frowned at by the society, they become good members of the society that would grow and maintain a decent society or family structure.

Language acquisition is critical as it establishes personal and group identity. It is also a basis for social interactions and for the development of cognitive processes. Since parents have a special interest in their children, it should be maximized for their best interests especially in the home, in an atmosphere of conduciveness. This is because a conducive environment stimulates cognitive, affective and psychomotor development of the child (Ofo, 2006).

A necessity for early childhood care and development; ignorance of the law, they say is not an admissible excuse. Thus, ignorance on the part of parents in the upbringing of their children is unacceptable, as it may affect children’s growth and development negatively. This corroborates the observation of Ogbonna (2000) which says that “where there is ignorance of the needs of the child at the different stages of development, there is bound to occur practices which are detrimental to the child’s personality development”. Therefore, this calls for early childhood cares in order to develop the total child.

Times are changing and parents should be dynamic enough to move according to the times. There was a time when everyone in the whole community took care of the child who does not even belong to them. That time is gone. A child is now for most part of early childhood, left in the care of parents who must be knowledgeable enough to handle them. Parents therefore, should acquire the right methods of child upbringing, whether traditional or modern. Parents should be made to understand that harshness to children often breeds delinquency and thick skin which may manifest later in the lives of these children (Adeduro, 2008).

The idea of not “sparing the rod” so as not to “spoil the child’ should be exercised with caution, as Ogbonna (2000) rightly observes, it “may prove too harsh and disastrous for the child’s moral and other aspects of personality development”. Parents should learn to direct the lives of children towards positive development. they should learn to inculcate in their children, the correct attitude towards moral and ethical values. This will help them to have the required discipline for living in a society like ours. Parents are indispensable in early childhood development because this stage of development affects the later stages depending on how they are brought up by parents. So, early childhood development sets the tone for adult living (Ofo, 2006).

The family is the first point of call of a child. Here, the child experiences the first social interactions, learn his or her first language and develops relevant attitudes to life. The implication therefore is that the child is first a product of his or her family and how the child relates to the larger society depends on the experiences made available to him or her in the family. Parents being the closest allies in early childhood, it is important that for positive and meaningful development of the child, parents must be properly “schooled” and experienced in the art of child upbringing (Adeleke, 2003).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem inherent in the parental academic achievement and development of children at the early childhood level cannot be overemphasized because parents are the first teachers of their children. Unfortunately these days, some parents play negative roles in the upbringing of their children.

The ages 0–08 years require proper parental care and education in all ramifications. If appropriate, correct care and education are not given to the children at this stage, it will lead to children’s acquisition of negative characters devoid of decent society’s expectations. Some parents love their jobs than their children. Such parents have little or no time to stay with their children, nurture and interact with them to know their feelings. To the family they belong, their environment, other people, the school etc.

There were cases where minor injuries at home generated to complications due to lack of parental care and love. There were cases where children would either told their parents to come back to pick them in schools or sometimes would preferred to remain in the school rather than go home with their parents.

Some parents cannot define the role of parents from the role of school, until such children are sent home for either unkept hair, teeth, uniform, socks etc that the parents would know what to do. All these factors have contributed to the down-ward performance of children from most families.

The above problems gave rise to this study as it aim to examine parental roles on early childhood education and its development in Lagos State.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

This study seeks to ascertain the relationship between parental roles and early childhood education and development.

The specific objectives include:

1.       To assess the role of parents in early childhood care education.

2.       To find out whether there is any significant difference in the academic performance of children who are reared by parents and those reared by non-parents.

3.       To find out whether there is any significant gender difference in the academic performance of children reared by intact parent.

4.       To find out the difference between the academic performance of children brought up by intact parents and those brought up by single parents.

1.4 Research Questions

1.       To what extent do parental roles affect children’s academic performance?

2.       Will there be any significant difference between the academic performance of children reared by parents and those reared by non-parents?

3.       Will there be any significant gender difference in the academic performance of children reared by intact parent?

4.       Will there be any significant difference between the academic performance of children who were brought up by intact parents and those brought up by single parents?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

1.       There is no significant relationship between parental role and children’s academic performance.

2.       There is no significant difference between the academic performance of children reared by intact parents and those reared by single parents.

3.       There is no significant gender difference in the academic performance of children reared by intact parents.

4.       There is no significant difference between the academic performance of children reared by their parents and those reared by non-parent.

1.6 Significance of the Study

It is a general belief that early childhood education is of great importance, because it is the foundation for other levels of education, just as a well laid foundation is the strength of the structure. However, the recommendations and findings of this work would be beneficial to the following:

Children: Children from home where there is love, care and interaction easily discover themselves which aided their social and academic development.

Parents: They will be able to know that early love, care and good nurture on children breeds responsible leaders of tomorrow, which wealth, position cannot compensate.

Teachers: The teacher will be able to see themselves as both parents and teachers and learn to be more dynamic in handling the children taken into consideration their various educational and socio-economic background.

School authority: The school will learn to be accommodating, counsel parents from time to time when the need be, so that both the school and parents will be able to communicate and work together toward the children development.

The government: The government will be able to put in place policy and encouragement that will avail them the special educational technique on early childhood education.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study will cover 5 (five) nursery schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

In this study, timeframe, finance and other logistics would be considerable constraints to the completion of this work.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Parental Role: This term refers to the functions or activities laid by parents towards the upbringing and education of the children and wards.

Attitude: A predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation.

Childcare Practices: Is the totality of care given to a child from conception to adolescent.

Practitioners: The term refers to all ECD education and training development practitioners. This encompasses the whole spectrum of ECD educators, trainers, facilitators, lecturers, caregivers, development officers, etc, including those qualified by their experience, and who are involved in providing services in homes, centres, and schools.

Care: Refers to the behaviours and practices of a caregiver.

Cognitive: Refers to changes in the individuals thought, intelligence, and language.

Development: The pattern of movement of change that begins at conception and continues through the early childhood of the child which include cognitive, biological and socioemotional processes.

Early Childhood: Refers to children between zero and eight years of age (0 – 8 years).

Early Childhood Education (ECE): Is education given in an educational institution to children from birth to eight years old.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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