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KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE EDUCATION STUDENTS TOWARDS THE STUDY OF EARLY CHILD EDUCATION AS A COURSE IN COLBEN

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Generally, the term ‘early childhood education’ could be used to describe the care and education of children from birth to about seven years of age. It is in light of this that Caldwell (2009) coined the term “educare”, to help widen the scope described. The new expansion of childhood now includes child minding centres for infants, kindergarten and nursery schools. Let us take our minds back to the word, ‘Kindergarten’. Can you remember? We first saw that word in our discussion on the historical background on the concept and practice of early childhood. Then we saw the word was actually coined by the German educator, Friedrich Froebel. In his conception, “kindergarten” literally means. “Child’s garden”. Internationally, “educare” or childcare in a group setting could be offered in a crèche, day-care or childcare centres, nursery and kindergarten schools. However, as previously noted, the usage of these terms varies from country to country, depending too on their philosophical inclination for the custodial nature of monitorial infant education. Importantly, early childhood education especially kindergarten or nursery goes beyond mere provision of childhood services; it also improves the general welfare of the child. It also improves the general welfare of the child. It is also in line with this that we will in this unit look at the place of child welfare in early childhood education, as well as parental role.

Early childhood education in most nations is also offered in day care centres, nursery and kindergarten schools. Until recently, with increasing modernity, there were two types of nursery schools in Nigeria. These are the “Akara” school and the traditional Western-type nursery and day care centres. The first was typical of low-income families. The “Akara’ school was usually poorly organised and often run by unqualified teachers. However, in more recent times, it is fast disappearing, even though there are yet in existence, sub-standard nursery schools. Formal education for the Nigerian child actually begins in nursery school or kindergarten. Formal nursery education is described by the Nigerian National Policy on Education, (NPE, 1998:11), as that school-like activity given in an institution for children aged three to five. This is with an aim to promoting school readiness. Basically, the programmes of Nigerian early childhood education could be said to provide socialization and custodial roles, and, as most parents believe, they actually aim at giving the child a head-start in formal school, the expectation is a smooth transition to the primary stage of learning. Generally, early childhood education or pre-education in the Nigerian context includes the crèche, the nursery and the kindergarten.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The research which deals with the knowledge and attitude of early childhood education students towards the study of early child education as a course of study in Colben is relatively a new department in the Nigeria educational system hence there was the problem of insufficient materials in the field. Also, another problem of the study is the poor attention giving to early child education in Nigeria by the government as early childcare education is left in the hands of the private individuals in the country. Lack of adequate funding, infrastructure is another problem of early childcare education in Nigeria.  

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The objective of the study is to find out the knowledge and attitude of early childhood education students towards the study of early child education in Colben in Ovia North East Local Government Area, Edo State.

The specific objective includes;

1.   The concept of early childhood education.

2.   The importance of early childhood education Nigerian.

3.   The role of parents in early childhood education.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.   Does students have positive attitude towards the study of early childhood education in College of Education, Ekiadolor –Benin in Ovia North East Local Government Area?  

2.   Are the students aware of the importance of early childhood education?

3.   Does lack of adequate facilities affect early childhood education among Colben Students?

4.   Does government help to finance early childhood education in Nigeria? 

5.   Does early child education enhance the cognitive development of the child?

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study of early childhood education differ from country to country. Essentially, day care and crèches provide supervision and care for infants and young ones during the day time so that their parents can hold their jobs. This first phase of childcare and education is from birth or 3 months to 3 years. The first idea of day care centres were warm, safe environments where children could be cared for. It was also aimed at creating opportunities for these young toddlers to interact. In other words, besides the custodial roles played by day care centres and day nursery, there has been increasing evidence that young children in such centres can benefit substantially from involvement in some form of playful learning activities.

Early childhood education is also important in fostering children’s cognitive and physical development. This is outside the expected custodial roles. In the same vein, the aim of childcare from birth till 3 years in Argentina centres on social and psycho-emotional development. On the other hand, Nursery schools or kindergarten actually known as Maternal Schools are designed to promote intellectual and social experiences for children. Like it is with the case in day care or day nursery, the objectives of nursery school also emphasizes social skills and at other times, there is focus on intellectual development. Significantly, for Nursery schools that follow the Montessorian ideal, the objective is to employ a carefully designed set of materials, so as to create an environment that fosters sensory, motor and language development.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study is set out to determine the attitude and knowledge of students towards the study of early childhood education in College of education, Ekiadolor-Benin, Edo State. Therefore, the study is restricted only to Colben student in Ovia North East Local Government Area, Edo State.

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