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1.1 Background of the Study

This chapter begins with the introduction of the background of the study, followed
by statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives and concludes with
definition of terms.
Participation involves working with a partner, or in a small group, and
brainstorming in order to create a stimulating learning environment Cooke (2001).
Participation in ECE involves use of different mechanisms for the public to
express opinions and ideally exert influence regarding political, economic,
management or other social decision. Participation is affected by the appropriate
and relevancy of IM used, such as containers, kites, textbooks, strings and
blackboard Armstein (2004). For examples, a teacher uses textbooks to get
information needed and explains on the blackboard, learners use water in
containers and blow it using straws to produce bubbles Pre-schools handbook
(2008). Blowing water to produce bubbles shows learners that there is presence of
air in water and this enables them gain the skills of observation.
According to Obanya (2001), IM are didactic materials things which are supposed
to make learning and teaching possible. While in views of Abdullahi (2003) they
are materials or tools locally made or imported that could make tremendous
improvement of a lesson if intelligently used. In the same vein, Isola (2010),
referred IM as objects or devices, which help the teacher to make a lesson much
clearer to the learner. In support of these views, Agina (2005), describe IM as
concrete or physical objects which provide sound, visual or both to the sense
organs during teaching.
The components to success in participation include availability and adequacy of
IM Pre-school handbook (2008). In participation the teacher should ensure that
materials to be used are enough for a particular science lesson by ensuring she/he
has lesson plan before the lesson. According to Sasson (2009), the quantity of
materials depends on the number of learners using them, organization of the
materials, group arrangement, time management, and records management.
Ensuring availability and adequacy of IM, the science lesson will be learner’s
centred instead of teachers centred and therefore motivate learners. This is
because all of them will be involved in participation using the available IM
instead of listening to the teacher explain in class. For example Adequacy of IM
means that the teacher should ensure that materials to be used for a particular
science class are enough depending on the number of learners using them Jacinta
According to Preschool handbook (2008), teacher need to group learners
according to their different abilities so that they can assist one another. The
teacher will also need to be guided by the lesson plan, where less time should be
used on introduction and conclusion while most of the time should be left to
learners to do the task at hand. In participation in a science lesson, IM can be used
for the learners to experience air by been engaged in activities such as flying
balloons and kites. The movement of kites and balloons shows that there is air in a
vacuum Esther (2009).Use of straws to blow soapy water helps produce bubbles,
and these bubbles enable the learners to realize that there is air in water. These
activities boost participation by involving all the learners during a science lesson
Preschool handbook (2009).
Wales (2009) was of the opinion that the use of IM would make discovered facts
glue firmly in the memory of learners. IM make them enjoy participating in
science lessons and even make them repeat the activity during their free time.
This enables the learners to keep the idea in their long term memory. According
to Savoury (2003), a well planned use of IM in lessons should do much to banish
apathy. In addition, he said that selection of IM which are related to the basic
activity of a lesson helps in in-depth understanding of such a lesson by the
learners, in that it makes the lesson attractive to them, thereby arresting their
attention and thus, motivating them to learn and participate. Participation helps
teachers to discover their learners’ potential, to realize their talents and raise their
self-esteem. In turn this can help them to question their boundaries and explore
issues, voice aspirations, identify needs and facilitate their learning and personal
development Clark (2005).
Education is a fundamental human right which every child is entitled to
Constitution of Kenya (2010). It is critical to our development as individuals and
as societies. It helps pave the way for a successful and productive future
Children’s Act (2004). The government through the Ministry of Education
(M.O.E) fund pre-schools with only one percent of the schools’ annual budget.
This amount cannot cater for buying adequate IM and paying teachers.
Considering the significant role played by IM in participation in science lessons,
teachers are forced to improvise different IM from the localities. According to
DICECE database (2011), the government does not employ teachers, and
therefore the burden is left to the parents and the society. This makes some
parents unable to take their children to pre-school and wait until the age of
primary school which is free.
1.2 Statement of Problem
According to Sasson (2007) a problem is an existing negative state of events that
avoid in attaining the set goals, in this study the existing problem in ECE centres
in Kiine zone is lack of effective use of IM during participation in science lesson.
IM play a vital role in participation in a science lesson. They form a focal point
and attract attention, arouse interest and promote a desire to learn, supplement
description and help to explain words and processes, give an accurate impression
of the concept, illustrate relationships, promote retention and memory, help to
consolidate what has been learned, help to save teaching time, make learner to
have self esteem, learners get motivated and have the idea of sharing in
participation in science lesson Kothari (2001). The issue of concern in this study
is the effort of IM on the general participation in Science lesson in public preschools
in Kiine Zone Kirinyaga County.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of use of instructional
materials on learner participation in science lesson in preschool in Kiine zone
Kirinyaga county Kenya.
1.4 Objectives of the study
The study was guided by the following objectives:
1. To identify why IM are not effectively used during participation in science
2. To establish the importance of grouping of learners on participation in
science classroom.
3. To verify the extent to which availability and adequacy of IM improve
pupils’ participation in Science lesson.
4. To study the effect of management of records on the improvement in
pupils’ participation in science lesson.
1.5 Research Questions
1. Why IM are not effectively used in SC during participation.
2. What are the advantages of grouping learners in science lesson during
3. To what extent availability and adequacy of IM improve pupils’
4. Effects of records management in the improvement of pupils’ participation in
science lesson
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study findings will enable the stakeholders realize the importance of IM in
participation in science lesson activities. The teacher trainees will be guided by
the study findings to choose the most efficient IM in sciences classroom activities.
Also guided by the study, the parents will be able to choose pre-schools centers
with the best IM. The findings of the study will also form a basis for further
research on the role played by IM on participation in pre-schools science
1.7 Limitations of the Study
Limitations are aspects of the study that negatively affect the results of
generalization of the study but which a researcher has no direct control over. The
main limitation of the study arises from the fear of teachers which affected the
filling of the questionnaires. The teachers feared that the information they gave in
the questionnaire about participation in science classroom may threaten their job
security. However, the researcher assured them that the information will be
treated with confidentiality and will be used for the purpose of the research only.
Due to the fact that the researcher is employed, the time available to do the
research was not enough for excellent results.
1.8 Delimitation of the study
The study will be delimited to sampled ECE teachers in Kiine zone Kirinyaga
county. The study will involve UT, diploma and certificate holders in ECE
centres. The study leaves out the parents and guardians of the learners in the study
area together with the community since mainstreaming is expected to take place
within the ECE set up.
1.9 Assumption of the Study
The researcher assumed that teachers working environment is conducive, they are
motivated and therefore be able to respond to the research questions with an open
mind. The respondents will respond positively and answer questions without
being biased.
1.10 Definition of terms
Participation in science classroom: Participation involves working with a
partner, or in a small group, and brainstorming.
Instructional Resources: They are didactic materials things which are supposed
to make learning and teaching possible. They can also be defined as materials or
tools locally made or imported that could make tremendous improvement of a
lesson if intelligently used.

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