Influence of Parental and School Characteristics on Preschool Participation in Mlolongo slum, Athi River District, Machakos County, Kenya
Pekethu, Nelly Mwendwa
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The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of parental and school characteristics in pre-school participation. Children who access holistic, quality Early Childhood Development Education services have a better start in learning, and are better prepared for entering and staying in primary school. Children living in slums today face a myriad of challenges. This study adopted the culture of poverty view by Osca Lewis. The study adopted a descriptive survey design and employed both qualitative and quantitative methods in data collection and analysis for parents, teachers and head teachers. Dependent variable for this study was pre-school participation while independent variables were parental characteristics; economic status, level of education and parental involvement while school characteristics were teacher training and learning environment. The study employed simple random and purposive sampling to obtain the study sample. Target population for this study was thirty (30) head teachers, sixty eight (68)pre-school teachers and 1,466 parents who had pre-school children attending schools in Mlolongo slums. Therefore the total target population was 1,564.purposively sampling the 30(30%) registered pre-schools, simple random sampling was employed to get 9 schools to be studied. . The head teachers in the sampled schooled were purposively selected for the study. Simple random sampling was used to select 68(30%) pre-school teachers and 1,466 (30%) of parents who had children in the 9 pre-school.The study used semi-structured questionnaires for teachers and head-teachers, and interview schedules for parents. Piloting was carried out in one private pre-school within Mlolongo slum and one public pre-school in Sophia slum which is not included in the final study. Any ambiguity in the instruments was corrected after piloting. Qualitative and quantitative data was analyzed using thematic approach. Narrative passages and tables were used to convey the findings of the study.The finding of the study revealed that (21%) of responses given by parents were not able to pay school fees. This meant that their children were not participating effectively in pre-school activities.Only eight (8%) were able to meet school requirements. This implies that the 92% parents had their children not participating in preschool activities effectively. Majority of parents (250) (57%) were standard eight leavers, while 163(37%) were form 1-4 dropouts, 18(4%) had either diploma and bachelor degree and 9(2%) had not attained any form of education. This revealed that parents have little or no knowledge on the importance of pre-school education, and therefore they may not give their children the necessary support to enable them attend preschool effectively.84% of school going age children were not attending school daily and therefore did not participate in school activities hence low preschool participation in Mlolongo slum in Athi river District.
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