Preparedness of primary school teachers in transitioning preschool children to lower primary in Kikuyu Kiambu County, Kenya
Onyango, Conslata Nabwire
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Transitions are imminent in the lives of young children as they grow and develop. Major transitions involving movement from one environment to another, including home to child care, preschool to elementary school settings which often hold particular significance for young children and their families. Teachers may lack experience navigating these situations leading to uncertainty and anxiety for both children and caregivers. Various attempts to improve on transitioning to lower primary school have resulted in different effects in transitioning from preschool to lower primary school. Despite all this, little or no special considerations have been .put in place to ensure that preschool learners experience meet a smooth transitioning from preschool to lower primary. The efforts made have not always led to expected results in transitioning. Therefore this study endeavored to assess the preparedness of primary school teachers in transitioning preschool children to lower primary education in Kikuyu sub-county. The study aimed at fmding out the level of preparedness of lower primary school teachers to transit preschool children to lower primary in Kikuyu Sub-County. The study adopted an exploratory approach using descriptive survey design. The study targeted 57 public primary schools and their preschool centers, a similar number of head teachers and Standard one teachers. Random sampling was used to sample 12 schools, head teachers 12 standard one teachers and 24 preschool teachers. The study made use of questionnaires and interview schedules to assess the preparedness of the primary level teachers in transitioning preschool children to lower primary school. The validity of the research instruments was determined by selecting two schools. Reliability of the tools was tested during piloting using the split-half reliability index and Cronbach's' coefficient alpha to check on the internal consistency of the questionnaires before the actual data collection commenced. The researcher sought permission to carry out the research from Ministry of Education Science and Technology through the sub-county education officer Kikuyu Sub County after presenting a research permit from the National Council for Science, Technology arid Innovation and an introductory letter from Kenyatta University. Confidentiality, Anonymity and informant's consent were strictly adhered to by not asking queries that would reveal their identity. The collected data was organized for analysis using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences software. Pearson Product Moment correlation coefficient (r) was used to analyze data and qualitative data analysis using thematic approaches. Data was presented using frequencies, percentages, charts and tables to support discussion made. It can be concluded that teachers in Kiambu sub-county according to this study were not prepared adequately to help preschool children to transit smoothly to lower primary. Although teachers had not been trained on how to enhance smooth transitioning of preschool children to lower primary, there were some efforts being put in place in facilitating transitioning. Efforts to try and help preschool children to smoothly transit to lower primary is also evident from some of the suggestions that studied teachers gave. Some of these suggestions were that preschool centres to be established either in the same compound as primary schools or let them be as close as possible, that teachers and parents to encourage preschool children to interact freely with other children.