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The Influence Of Nursery Education On Pupils’ Achievement In English Language In Primary Schools
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THE INFLUENCE OF NURSERY EDUCATION ON PUPILS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
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This study examined the influence of Nursery Education on the academic performance of primary school pupils in Rivers State: Implications for counselling. A total number of 100 primary one pupils were randomly selected from 5 public primary schools in Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor Local Government Areas of Rivers State. The main instrument used for the study was an achievement test of English Language to test the cognitive abilities, social skills and motor skills of primary school pupils. Five research questions and five hypotheses guided this study. Data analysis was done using predictive statistics of mean to answer the research questions. While t-test statistics technique was used at p < 0.05 Level to find out whether there was a significant difference between primary school pupils who had nursery education and those without nursery education. The result showed that, there was a significant difference at p <0.05 in mathematics, English Language and Basic Science between pupils who attended nursery school and those without nursery education. In conclusion Nursery Education influenced the performance of primary school pupils in all the subjects tested. It is suggested that children should attend nursery schools before being admitted into primary one. Counseling application suggested that Government should employ the services of the guidance counselors to all the Nursery and primary school as counselors at this
level will help the pupils cope with their everyday worries such as examination stress, issues with friends, family members and teachers alike.
Keywords: Nursery education, Primary school, Academic performance, Cognitive skill, Social skill, Motor skill, Counselling, Implication.
1.1 Background to the Study
Education being an indispensable tool in nations building is a process of systematic training and instruction designed to transmit knowledge and acquisition of skills potentials and also abilities which will enable an individual to contribute efficiently to the growth and development of his society and nation. It involves all round development of an individual social, physical, moral and intellectually (Osakwe, 2006). It is therefore glaring that early childhood education has influence in a child later academic achievement. This has motivated the development of a number of pre-school institutions. More recently, formal kindergarten programmes have been designed to prevent high drop-out and low levels of intellectual functioning that are found in disadvantaged children as early as two or three years of age (Fafunwa, 2012). Ministry of Education knowing extensively the importance of nursery education on the achievement of pupils in Nigeria and in the world at large.
Nursery education as defined by Omozeghian (2014) is the education meant for children between the ages of 3-5. The National policy on education (2014) sees pre-primary education as the education given in an institution to children aged 3-5 years plus prior to their entering the primary school. It means it is a special kind of education provided in an institution prior the children entering the primary school.
Having known the importance of pre-school or nursery education, the government encouraged private efforts in the establishment of these institutions. Also, in recent years the government sponsors the pre-primary school levels in public primary school in the country (Nigeria).
Learning according to Osakwe (2006) is a natural process of pursuing meaningful goals, discovering and constructing meaning from information and experience filtered through the learners unique perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. Hence, when the child is born into the world learning commences immediately to enable the child get adapted to the new environment. The child learns to feed, hear, see and respond to stimuli, before learning to sit, walk, talk and behave like people around him. The drive for curiosity is innate in every child and can be developed to yield greater results by given him early education. Nursery education experience according to Barnard (2001) positively affects later home and school involvement in education. A child who fails to acquire early childhood education may suffer emotionally, socially, intellectually and even physically if he is taking to the primary school without nursery education experience that will give him a solid foundation in the primary school. Therefore, for effective and efficient unlocking and development of the child’s later abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour of positive values in the society in which he lives early childhood education becomes very important. This is important because researches on early childhood education experiences have great impact on all areas of the child’s development and had suggested that the first teaches is extremely an important person in the child’s life.
According to Feeney et al. (2012) early childhood is an asset of immense value in the later academic pursuit of a child and much more later in life. This early experience exposes the child to all fields which give him an edge over those who did attend nursery school in the primary school as the confidence in his learning capability which he acquired from the nursery school is lifted to the primary school. This eventually aids and facilitates his learning. The early childhood institution aims at developing the cognitive and affective potentials of the child at an early age. Anderson (2002) is of the view that when children are exposed to early childhood education, they develop superior communication skills, necessary physical abilities and social unit needed in adult life and an increased cognitive and effect educational balance.
Having realized the importance of nursery education, the government encouraged private efforts in the establishment of this institution. Also, in recent years the government now sponsors the pre-school levels of public primary schools in the country. Also the government has a deliberate attempt to raise the quality of education at all levels in order to make the product of our educational system more useful to our society.
Therefore, early childhood education will provide that vital physical, psychomotor, affective, cognitive, social potentials which are fundamental to human life that will play essential role in the primary and even more in later life of the individual. This study attempts to analyse this problem.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Psychologist such as Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson have the opinion that early childhood experiences have a lot of influence on the later life of an individual. The rearing practices which the child is exposed to influence the value, norms and belief of the individual even in later life. The content of the knowledge which the child is exposed to early in life is the bedrock to later education. There is a scriptural injunction that says “train up the child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. Proverbs 22verse 6. from this injunction, the manner of teaching a child in the pre-primary school days go a long way to help him develop his cognitive, social and motor skills early enough as these would be lacking in children who did not attend nursery school. Therefore the problem of this study is to find out the extent to which early childhood education affect the later educational life of the child.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine whether nursery education can influence the academic performance of primary school pupils. Specifically the study attempted to achieve the following:
- Identify if attention as an aspect of cognitive ability can influence the performance of pupils in primary school who had nursery education and those without nursery education.
- Examine whether reasoning as an aspect of cognitive ability can influence the performance of primary school pupils who had nursery education and those without nursery education.
- Find out whether group interaction as an aspect of social skill can influence the academic performance of primary school pupils who attended nursery school and those who did not attend.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were posed for this study.
- To what extent does attention as an aspect of cognitive ability influence the performance of primary school pupils who had pre-primary education and those without pre-primary education?
- How does reasoning as an aspect of cognitive skill influence the academic performance of primary school pupils who had nursery education and those without nursery education?
- How does interaction as an aspect of social skill influence the academic performance of primary school pupils who attended nursery school and those who did not attend nursery school?
The following null hypotheses were formulated for this study:
- There is no significant difference of attention on academic performance of primary school pupils who had nursery education and those without nursery education.
- There is no significant difference of reasoning on academic performance of primary school pupils who attended pre-primary school and those that did not attend.
- There is no significant difference of group interaction as an aspect of social skills on the academic performance of primary school pupils who had nursery education and those without.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The desire of any government worldwide is to provide qualitative education for its citizenry. To this end, the Federal Government of Nigeria strives to establish pre-primary sections in existing public schools and encourage bothcommunity/private efforts in the provision of pre-primary education.
Although the policy clearly states that the medium of instruction is principally the mother-tongue or the language of the immediate community at this level of level of education, efforts have been geared towards setting the pace for sound foundation in English Language. Due to the rich programmes provided at the nursery level, the demand for education at this level has soared. Most parents even prefer poorly equipped nursery schools to the public primary schools, that much resources, human and material are put in place. Today, the number of nursery schools has increased in leaps and bounds.
This is an attempt to investigate the influence of nursery education on pupils achievement in English Language in primary schools in study area. It is hoped that the findings will be of immense benefits to teachers and head teachers, professional organizations and associations, especially the Nigeria Union of Teachers and subject based associations, whose functions, among others is to advise governments on policy formulations and implementation, principals/head teachers and teachers in nursery schools and Ministries of Education (State and Federal) involved in formulating and implementing educational policies. Similarly, educational psychologists, philosophers, curriculum developers, (WAEC, NTI, NECO), researchers and indeed all stakeholders in education will find this study very useful.