Primary school head teachers' role in implementation of the early childhood education curriculum in Makuyu division, Murang' a county
Kiragu, Francis Waihenya
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The role of the primary school head teachers in implementation of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) curriculum is of paramount importance. However, there is little empirical data on the roles played by primary school head teachers in implementation of the curriculum. The purpose of this study was to examine the roles of primary school head teachers in implementation of the ECE curriculum in Makuyu Division of Murang'a County. The study sought to establish the professional support and the curriculum support materials offered by primary school head teachers to pre-school teachers. The study also sought to find out the primary school head teachers' conceptualization of their role in implementation of the ECE curriculum. The findings of this study may be of significance to the Ministry of Education and its agencies such as Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), National Centre for Early Childhood Education (NACECE), and District Centre for Early Childhood Education (DICECE) as it provides information on the extent to which primary school head teachers supervise implementation of the ECE curriculum. The study was guided by Kadushin's (1992) theory of supervision. Literature reviewed showed that most primary school head teachers were not concerned about pre-school curriculum implementation. The study adopted an exploratory research design that utilized qualitative technique. Implementation of the ECE curriculum was the dependent variable while the roles of primary school head teachers were independent variables. The study involved pre-school teachers and primary school head teachers in Makuyu Division. Data was collected using questionnaires for preschool teachers and head teachers and focus group discussion. Questionnaires were pretested in schools that were similar to the actual sample that was used in the study. The researcher together with three experts in ECE ascertained content validity of the questionnaires. Reliability was ensured through test-retest. Data collected were summarized using descriptive statistics. The study had a 100% return rate of the questionnaires and participants for the focus group discussion turned up. The findings of the study indicated that primary school head teachers never checked most of the pre-school teachers' professional documents. Primary school head teachers provided opportunities for seminars but did not provide guidance and counseling to pre-school teachers. The study also found that head teachers provided pre-school teachers with curriculum support materials. The study established that primary school head teachers did not supervise implementation of the ECE curriculum. Other roles played by primary school head teachers were also found. The study recommends that training for primary school teachers include early childhood education. Head teachers should also be encouraged to check pre-school teachers' professional records and to offer guidance and counseling to pre-school teachers. Further studies on the roles of quality assurance and standards officers and parents should be conducted for successful implementation of the ECE curriculum.