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INFLUENCE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, MORAL AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR OF PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS
INFLUENCE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, MORAL AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR OF PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN KANO STATE, NIGERIA
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of Early Childhood Education on Academic Achievement, Moral and Social behaviour of primary one school pupils in Kano State, Nigeria. The study was guided by five major Objectives and five corresponding Research Questions; viz, Influence of Early Childhood Education on Academic Achievement Scores in Mathematics, English studies, Basic Science and Technology and investigated the influence of Early Childhood Education on Moral and Social behaviour of ECE and Non-ECE primary one school pupils in Kano state. Five corresponding null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of Significance difference. This study used ex-post facto survey design. A sample size of 440 pupils was used out of the population of 2, 242, 000 and a pilot test was conducted to obtain reliability of instruments used for Academic Achievement Test (AAT) Moral and Social behaviour Scale ( MBS and SBS) which revealed a co-efficient 0.74 and 0.84 for AAT 0.76and 0.88 for (MBS) and 0.69 and 0.68 for SBS respectively. The items for Academic Achievement Test (AAT) were administered to pupils in the class personally by the researcher and research assistant 30 minutes were allowed for the Mathematics and English Studies while 45 minutes for Basic Science and Technology with 10 minutes interval and assessment of MBS and SBS were scored using the likert scale. An independent sample ―t‖ test was used to analyses the five Null hypotheses. Analysis revealed statistically significant difference in academic achievement scores in Mathematics ―t‖ 1.984, P= 0.048, df 438, English Studies, ―t‖ =3.770, P= 0.001 df 438, Basic science and Technology ―t‖ 4.360, P=0.001 df 438 meaning ECE pupils performed better then the non ECE counterparts. Contrary Moral Behaviour Scale revealed no Statistical Difference with ―t‖ 0.127 P=0.899 df 438 while statistically significant difference does exist in Social Behaviour Scale with ―t‖ 2.853, P=0.035, df 438, which indicated Social interaction among peers.ECE pupils performed better than the Non-ECE pupils. Hence, Quality Early Childhood Education is likened to an engraved mark on a rock which is difficult to erase off when provided by a qualify teachers, it would enhance provision of solid academic foundation for lifelong development which will no doubt enhance pupils mental ability, exhibition of acceptable moral behaviour and social interaction among peer groups. The study recommended that every child be given individual opportunity to explore and experience formal early years learning, Government should ensure teachers are provided with service training in compliance with the current curriculum. Teachers, stakeholders and parents among others should ensure provision of quality Early Childhood Education as it will aid solid foundation for mental ability, moral behaviour and social interaction ensuring Education for All‖ for benefit of populace.
1.1 Background to the Study
The early years of a child‘s life are 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, 2010), 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 (2010) similarly 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- rearing 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 behaviours 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, 2004).
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. ECE 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 (Hammond & Plesca, 2010).
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 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 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).
Social learning theory, behaviour is seen to be acquired by direct learning modeling and orientation as expected in this study. Pupils who experience early childhood education would picture both their class teacher and parents as modeled who they copy from and is maintained by positive reinforcement. Moral behaviour is viewed as the result of learned responses conditioned by the environment. The process of acquiring moral behaviour depends on what is considered right or wrong by the group. This is subject to social sanctioning by the group (Windmiller 1980 cited in White et al., 2001). Thus, the group or communities are right or wrong. A child learns their rules. In this case a child raised in disciplined religious society will internalize discipline and religious behaviour as an accepted norm or form of behaviour (White, Crafford, & Schepers, 2001). Moral behaviour of pupils though moral development could be viewed from another perspective of psycho – analytical theory which dictates which behaviour is acceptable. Another view of moral development is moral reasoning perspective (cognitive approach) which is just as important for development as the environment context, which is the cognitive approach that has link with Piaget, Penn and Collier (1985, cited in White et al., 2001).
Thus, social skills include different behaviour which helps an individual enter and interact in interpersonal relations. Social skills are important factors of pupil‘s acceptance and popularity among peers which enables an individual to enter interpersonal relations and interact with others. Eliott and Busse (1991),cited in Jana ,Cirila, Sonia, & Zulijan, 2009), proposed there were five main categories of social behaviour: Cooperation (help other people, sharing and abiding by rules) Assertion (initiating behaviours, asking for things and responding to behaviour of others) Responsibility: (communication with adults and demonstration of care) Empathy: (showing concern for the feelings of others) Self control: (ability to respond appropriately to conflict or corrective feedback from adults). The stated categories pointed out that learning, development and schooling are interwoven in a social matrix and cannot be understood outside that context, researchers opined that pupils used confirmed socially desirable behaviour is directly and significantly related to primary school pupils‘ academic achievement,, mother tongue and mathematics (Peklaj, Umek, Marjanovic, & Bajc, 2012).
Similarly, Boekaerts (2002) emphasized that schools should structure their environment in way to enable pupils achieve educational goals, and also fulfill their social emotional goals and needs. Notably, research evidence has shown that unless children achieve minimal social competence by age six years they have a high probability of being at risk throughout. Hartup (1991), thus suggest that peer relationship contribute a great deal to social and cognitive development and to the effectiveness with what are function adult or later in life as also predicted by this study which indicated significant influence on both academic achievement and social behaviour.
Aldemir and Sezer (2009) also 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, 1991). 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 (Disu,1990) which will be better attained under the supervision of a professionally trained Early Childhood Educators.
The conception that Early Childhood Education (ECE) positively affects academic progress is well established (Wylie, Hodgen, Hopkins, & Vaughan, 2009). 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 (Meissner, Mehugh, Mittelstadt, & Marawski, 2015).
Recent studies, by (Osakwe 2009; Weiland, Zaslow, Espionsa, & Philips 2013) have enabled nations to compare their educational systems with other nations and to evaluate them on this basis. However, it should be mentioned critically that this approach may, to some degree, overestimate the practical significance of differences between the countries. Moreover, the studies have increased the amount of attention paid to the role of family background and the educational system in the development of individual performance. The quality of teaching, in particular, has been emphasized as a predictor of pupil‘s achievement. Furthermore, this attitude of either students or teachers affects the academic achievement of students. As investigated by Okpala (2001) that social psychological variables like attitude are found to have correlation between attitude and academic achievement. In support of this, Agbani (1997) conducted study on attitude and achievement in knowledge and concluded that attitude was a very important factor in academic achievement in the subject. Teachers are expected to be caring, innovative while teaching concept be based on teacher/pupils centered orientated.
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, 2005). 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.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
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 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. 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 NCCE in conjunction with the United Nations Children‘s Education Fund (2007) in its revised Minimum Standard for 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 ECE programme, the researcher sought to investigate the influence of early childhood education on academic achievement, moral and social behaviour of primary schools pupils in Kano State.
The major thrust of the study therefore is to determine the influence of ECE experience on academic achievement, moral and social behaviour of primary school pupils in Kano state and to determine whether ECE pupils benefitted more from ECE experience than their Non- ECE counterparts in subsequent learning (primary school).
1.3 Objectives of the Study The specific objectives of the study are to determine:
- The influence of Early Childhood Education on academic achievement in Mathematics of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano state.
- The influence of Early Childhood Education on academic achievement in English Studies of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano state.
- The influence of Early Childhood Education on academic achievement in Basic Science and Technology of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano state.
- The influence of Early Childhood Education on Moral behaviour of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano state.
- The influence of Early Childhood Education on Social behaviour of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano state.
1.4 Research Questions
The study intends to proffer answers to the following research questions: –
- To what extent does Early Childhood Education programme influence Academic Achievement scores in Mathematics of ECE and non-ECE primary school pupils in Kano State?
- What is the influence of Early Childhood Education programme on academic achievement scores in English Studies of ECE and non ECE primary school pupils in Kano State?
- To what extent does Early Childhood Education programme influence Academic Achievement scores in Basic Science and Technology of ECE and non ECE primary school pupils in Kano State?
- How does Early Childhood Education programme influence moral behaviour of ECE and non ECE primary school pupils in Kano State?
- How does Early Childhood Education programme influence social behaviour of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
On the basis of the research objectives and research questions, the following null hypotheses were formulated: –
H01: There is no significant difference in academic achievement scores in Mathematics between ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano State.
There is no significant difference in academic achievement scores in English Studies between ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano State.
There is no significant difference in academic achievement scores in Basic Science and technology between ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano State.
H04: There is no significant difference between moral behaviours of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano State.
H05: There is no significant difference between social behaviour of ECE and non – ECE primary school pupils in Kano State.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
This study was based on the following assumptions: –
- Early childhood education experience given to pupils (teach rudiments of numbers addition, counting, shapes subtraction, etc) has influence on academic achievement scores of primary school pupils in Mathematics.
- Academic achievement scores of pupils in English studies is influenced by early childhood education experiences e.g. alphabets in letters colours making sentences etc.
- Early childhood education experiences in exploration of nature, environment and creativity etc, influence academic achievement scores in Basic Science and Technology of primary school pupils.
- Exhibition of accepted moral behaviour of primary school pupils is influenced by early childhood education experience in habit formation and moral values.
- Social behaviour of pupils is influence by early childhood education experience in teaching co-operation and interaction that will enable pupil‘s exhibit accepted behaviour and interact freely with peer groups.
1.7 Significance of the Study
Early Childhood Education programme 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. Period of early childhood education has a strong and positive impact on further development and pupils learning in later years. Importantly the ECE pupils would perform better academically and also have competent positives social values and moral behaviour and are less likely to be engaged in drug use, violence and drop out of school.
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. Thus, there is connectivity between the home and school.
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.
Teachers are therefore expected to implement the curriculum adequately by ensuring that topics are taught in sequential order. Thus, a topic should be a pre-requisite to another and importantly ensuring that pupils participate in all class activities the completion of which qualifies the pupils for another level.
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.
1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The research work was carried out in Kano state schools, consisting the entire primary school pupils both private and public schools within the three Senatorial Districts; (North, Central and South) covering the 44 Local Governments of Kano State, Nigeria.
The scope was further delimited to primary one school pupils irrespective of sex and age who were the immediate beneficiaries of early childhood education within 27 primary schools – totally 440 as the sample size. The choice of a school was based on
availability of ECE programme with equal population and each group is independent of each other, homogeneous in nature, with all subjects being primary school pupils.
The study was specifically delimited to academic achievement scores in core subjects; Mathematics, English Studies, Basic Science and Technology class activities based on current curriculum NERDC (2012) and on moral behaviour scale and social behaviour scale used in assessing pupils‘ behaviour which was generalised to pupils at this level.
The preoccupation of the present study was focused influence of ECE on academic achievement scores in Mathematics, English Studies, Basic Science and Technology and also moral and social behaviour of ECE and non-ECE primary school pupils within the basic educational level likewise those who attend the Islamiyya nursery schools.