Adequacy of Teacher Characteristics, Classroom Facilities and Materials Associated with Quality Early Childhood Development and Education in Nakuru County, Kenya
Kiyo, Isaac Kariuki
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Early childhood development and education forms a strong foundation for children as they get ready to go through formal education. Research confirms that early childhood education can compensate for any disadvantages and vulnerability, regardless of underlying factors in the society. Many early childhood education centres in Kenya could be facing challenges in regard to necessities that enhance quality education. The study sought to establish the situation that could have led to lack of quality education in ECDE centres in Naivasha. The purpose of the study was to determine the level and adequacy of characteristics associated with quality Early Childhood Education in Naivasha central zone, Naivasha sub-county, Nakuru County in order to suggest possible strategies that might be instrumental in improving the quality of education offered to children in ECDE centres. The objectives of this study were to establish the availability of learning facilities used for quality education, determine the level of ECDE teacher characteristics associated with quality education and to find out the adequacy of materials that promote quality education in learning centres. The study was guided by Jean Piaget theory of Cognitive development. The theory stipulates on the need for the right environment for optimal growth and learning. The teacher factors or characteristics are of great importance in enabling children to acquire the necessary and relevant knowledge and skills in life. The provision of quality education will enhance good participation and performance, high completion rates as well as improved living standards in life. The study employed the descriptive survey design. The target population of this study was all the 40 public pre-primary schools in Naivasha central zone, the 40 head teachers/managers and all the 120 ECDE teachers. The centres were selected using purposive and simple random sampling methods. The research tools used to elicit data were two questionnaires administered to head teachers and ECDE teachers. Observation schedule was used to elicit information on the available resources and their conditions. Before the main study, a pilot study was carried out in two ECDE centres in order to test the validity and reliability of the instruments that were to be used. The data obtained was analyzed using frequencies and percentages and presented using tables. The researcher found out that financial challenges inhibited the acquisition of materials, equipment and development of standard and adequate facilities. This was accounted for by the fact that free primary education funding does not incorporate ECDE funding. Most parents with children in the ECDE Centers sensed that free primary education funds should also cater for ECDE and were therefore reluctant to pay fees to the centers. Shortage of text books, inadequate play materials and equipment in the learning centers was also an inhibiting factor. This compromised the quality of Early Childhood Development and Education in the zone.