Influence of School Enviroment on Pre- Primary School Children's Performance in Curricular Activities in Lambwe Division, Mbita District, Homa Bay.
Education is one of the most important aspects of human resource development. Every child should therefore have the opportunity to achieve academic potential from early childhood. This is because early childhood a time of remarkable brain development that lay the foundation for subsequent learning. Due to the current challenges facing early childhood education, the current study sought to examine the influence of school environment on pre- primary school children's performance in curricular activities in Lambwe division, Mbita District, Homa Bay County. The objectives of the study were; to find out the influence of school location on children's performance in curricular activities; to determine the influence of ECDE teacher variables on children's performance in curricular activities and to determine the influence of school leadership on pre-primary school children's performance in curricular activities. The study adopted Urie Bronfenbrenner's (1979) systems ecological theory to explain how the child's environment affects the preschool children's performance. The research adopted descriptive survey and correlation research design. The target population for the study was 60 ECDE teachers and two Quality Assurance Standard Officers (QASOs) in Lambwe Division. The sample included 53 ECDE teachers and two QASOs. Simple random sampling technique was used to obtain the sample size. A questionnaire for ECDE teachers and interview guide for QASOs were used to collect the necessary information. A pilot study was conducted using two preprimary schools. Test-retest method was used to establish the reliability of the instruments which found to be 0.89. Data collected was both qualitative and quantitative. The data on school environment and preschool children's performance was coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.0 software. Descriptive statistics used were measures of central tendencies, frequency distributions and percentages. The inferential statistics used were Pearson Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient to establish whether there were any significant relationships between variables. Results were presented using tables or figures. The current study's findings indicated that children in urban preschools performed relatively better in language, mathematics, social studies and religious education activities areas while rural schools performs relatively better in creative and science activities areas. Also child-centered approaches were the most effective approach of teaching in preschool centres and it promoted better results among pre-school children, there was a positive relationship between ECDE teachers' experience and preschool children's performance, there was a positive relationship between ECDE teachers' Professional training and preschool children's performance, play activities were vital in the preschool teaching and learning processes lastly the relationship between effective leadership and children's achievement was strongly evidenced in the current study. In the study a number of issues could not be comprehensively covered because of a wide range of limitations. For instance, Most of the qualitative data greatly depended on the pre-teachers and QASO's opinions hence further research is recommendations to expand the current findings by including a more diverse sample of pre-school children and teachers across the county that will represent a diversity of cultural background, economic status, age and gender.