Effects of early childhood education on children with hearing impairments in special schools in Kiambu, Murang' a and Nyeri counties, Kenya
Chege, Loise W.
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The purpose of this study was to find out the effects of Early Childhood Education on children with hearing impairment (HI) in Kiambu, Murang'a and Nyeri counties, Kenya. Vigotsky's theory of cognitive development guided the study. The specific objectives were to (i) find out the enrollment trend of children in special schools for HI in the counties. (ii) Determine the type of ECE services provided to children with HI and their effect on the children with HI. (iii) Investigate the role played by the parents and the teachers of the children with HI in ECE. (iv) Identify the constraints experienced by the teachers of the children with HI in ECDE. The study employed descriptive survey method whereby the target population included children with HI between ages 3-6 years in special schools for the children with HI from the selected districts, their teachers, the headteachers and their parents. Purposive sampling was used to select the schools, classes, children, teachers and headteachers while convenience sampling was used to select the parents. The research instruments were interview schedules for headteachers, pre-primary teachers and for parents. The instruments were pre-tested for validity and reliability at Racecourse Primary School's HI unit, Nairobi. The unit was representative sample that was not included in the study. Split-half technique was used to assess the instruments' reliability while their validity was determined after it was read through with the representative respondents. The findings revealed that 70% of children with HI are enrolled for ECD when they are over age that is, at the age of 6 years and above. Those enrolled benefit especially in acquisition of social skills. Teachers exposed the children in ECDE activity areas effectively, however parents delayed in their roles of identification of HI, taking intervention measures-and enrolment of their children for ECDE. Teachers faced communication problems a~ the main constraints in the teaching and learning of ECDE children. Therefore, in conclusion, it was found that although the teachers played their role effectively, the delays by the parents in enrolling their children for ECDE during the required early child years curtailed adequate effect of ECDE on the children with HI. Recommendations were made to parents to enroll their children for ECDE during the early childhood years i.e. 3-6 years, the teachers to organize opportunities for remedial teaching for sign language and the government to subsidize ECDE. Further research needs to be done on smooth transition of children from home to pre-schools.