Participation of the Priority Group Children in ECE Services

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This chapter will present the outcomes of the research that was conducted to investigate the participation and attendance of the priority group children in ECE services. The aims of this study were to determine the reason for low attendance and participation in ECE services from the priority group children. The researcher also aimed to identify factors that can strengthen the attendance and participation in ECE services. To achieve these objectives, the researcher conducted research in two kindergartens where teachers and parents (caregivers) that were willing to participate were assessed. The assessment was made prior to the introduction of the initiatives in the pre-schools and after the initiatives had been introduced and implemented. The researcher used focus group interviews to collect the information. Most of the interviews were recorded and transcribed later for analysis. This chapter will discuss the findings that were obtained from the research.

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4.1 The findings collected before implementation of the suggested Initiatives

4.1.1 Teachers

The researcher gathered information from the ECE centres where interviews were carried out involving teachers of that particular centre. The interview involved five questions that were asked. The first question that was brought forth focused on the reason for low participation in the chosen centre. The interview was based on two interviewees who respondent to the questions without their identity being revealed. What is the Reason for low participation in your centre?

First Participant

She said that the reason for low participation in the ECE is brought by the introduction of very high school fees such that the parents are not able to take their children to attend ECE. Lack of affordability of the parents is because the demand for the basic needs and other activities is high compared to the earnings that are made by the parents and thus, the children suffer the consequences. The First Participant said that I think the reason there are low participation and attendance in the ECE is because of fees. High fees in the ECE centre discourage the parents from taking their children there and, therefore, make them stay at home.

First Participant also mentioned that children are faced with sickness and thus cannot attend the ECE sessions if the health status is not good. She also stated that some of the parents in the region do not see the important of ECE and, therefore, avoid taking their children there. Parents do not think that ECE education is that important and thus they do not consider taking their children to ECE The fact that parents arent aware on the significance of the ECE is one of the major reasons that lower the ECE attendance. Since the children depend on the parents so that they can go to the ECE, lack of knowledge to those parents about the childrens future is so risky and can lower the attendance at great levels.

Second Participant

The researcher also got a different opinion from another respondent who also answered on the reason there is low participation and attendance in the ECE. The respondent said that most of the parents considered taking their children to their grandparents due to their cultural upbringing and values rather than taking them to the ECE. Doing this makes it hard for more children to be involved in the participation and attendance of the ECE. The parents often insist that the children should stay with their grandparents. The First Participant also stated the fact that financial problems can influence the participation of the children in the ECE. When there is a low finance, the parents would not be able to raise the required fees so that they can take their children to the kindergarten. The First Participant also focused on the fact that that some of the parents are usually very lazy to be responsible so that they can take their children to the kindergarten and make it their daily routine. The parents laziness makes the average attendance decrease and therefore low participation in the ECE. The fact that some children stay far away from the ECE and the parents are unable to pay the transport fee or they cannot risk having their children to go for long distances. What Strategies did you used to increase participation and attendance in your centre?

The researcher also embarked on another diversion and wanted to find out the strategies that the chosen Kindergarten centre were using so that they could improve on participation and attendance of the children in their centre. The question was also embraced and the answers given by the same respondents that were interviewed. Two First Participant answered the question.

First Participant

The First Participant argued that they have been able to apply different strategies that have been in the light of improving the participation and the attendance of the children in the ECE. The respondent stated that the centre has been able to have one on one communication with the parents so that they could be able to know the views that the parents might have concerning development and improvement learning ways that might help the centre to welcome more children. Improving communication with the parents made the centre know the ideas that the parents have and work together as a team to provide good service to the children.

The First Participant also stated that the centre has been able to come up with affordable fees that make it easier and affordable for the parents to be able to take their children to the kindergarten thus increasing the participation and attendance. When the fees is reduced to fair prices such that the centre and the parents are at a mutual benefit, then the parents will find it easy to take their children to the kindergarten. The First Participant also stated that their centre applied resources that were able to create a welcoming and friendly environment for the children so that even when they are being brought in the kindergarten, they can enjoy the learning and the recreational activities that a child is supposed to be exposed to. The exposure of the child to the different resources makes the particular children not to quit and therefore, others can join after noting the excellence of the kindergarten.

Second Participant

Second Participant said that the centre had been using initiative like welcoming the ideas from the parents so that they can improve on the participation on their children. The ideas would be welcomed by organising entertainment events like discos to bring the parents together and, therefore, ask them about their idea on improving the participation of the children in the kindergarten. Listening to parent and childrens idea on what they want or what they would like to say. The respondent stated that the events were usually put up so that they can find out what the parents and the children have to say so as to improve the situation. How did the childrens family respond to the request of improving the participation and attendance?

After the centre had initiated the initiatives so that the participation and attendance would be implemented, the parents responded in one way or another. The researcher continued to gather the information regarding the issue and he got responses from the two respondents. The fact that most parents are not involved in the events of their children made the respondents of the kindergarten centre that were chosen to come up with ways that would make the parents become committed with their childrens education. The response of the parents was due to the provision of some recreational advantages and that kindergarten centre noted that the parents came in large numbers. There are the parents who were not courageous enough to attend the events that required their participation especially during reading and writing and, therefore, refused to turn up.

First Participant

The parents get involved at first but when the events become too educational, such that in some case the parents will be required to read, they will eventually stop participating.Some of the parents cannot read and therefore loses track of several educational events that might be helpful to the centre so that they can know the ideas of the parents and also create awareness so that the parents can understand the importance of ECE and how they can help their children attain the education with a lot of easiness.

Second Participant

The parents, however, responded well when the centre applied the initiative of enacting a disco entertainment such that the parents were entertained and afterwards they were asked on how they would like to suggest on the participation and attendance of the children in the ECE. If there is an event that involves little on their belief, like disco entertainment the parents avail themselves. The centre also revealed that they provide lunch for the parents and children so that the parents, children and teachers can participate in the ECE programmes that would improve and benefit the childrens participation in the ECE. What made you choose to implement the initiatives?

The researcher wanted to find out why the centre chose to implement the initiatives like introducing a disco in the evening while in the morning the school sessions would certainly resume. The two respondents answered the questions on the matter.

First Participant

The respondent indicated that the reason the centre decided to choose the disco as a way of entertainment was that all the parents could turn up and give out their views. The centre was so much interested in the teamwork that would be commemorated by the parents, the teachers and the children. Having discos in the evening would not increase participation and therefore, they needed to do it during the right time that will not hinder the learning activities and the programme of the day. I think what we chose was so that we could listen to the parents idea and what they wanted and they all turned up. The First Participant also said that the initiative was chosen to make sure that the parents felt the commitment and the ownership so that they can participate more.

Second Participant

The respondent mentioned that the attendance of the school was monitored and the childrens breakfast was a part of the initiative. The kindergarten improves on morning attendance by providing breakfast to the children so that they arrive early. Like we receive more than 5 children at around quarter to eight and the session begins at 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM; a period of six and a half hours period. The period in which they kept the children indicated that they chose to improve on their attendance and to show the parent the value of ECE. What effects do you think the proposed ministry of education initiators 30 hours free will have on the childrens attendance and participation in your centre? Do you think it will make a different?

First Participant

We think that the initiative might increase participation and attendance in the ECE but we are still yet to discover the practicality of the matter and we would be happy if we could offer the 30 hours free the response indicated that the 30 hours free initiative was yet to take place and the centre was willing to try it out. The respondent indicated that the initiative would make more parents to bring their children in the Kindergarten thus improving the participation and the attendance of the children.

4.1.2 Parents

Most of the parents who received the invitation letter availed themselves for the interview willingly. There was a great concern by the parents for their children an indication that parents had a lot of expectations from their children. Why do you believe it is important for your children to be involved in attending Early Childhood services?

First Participant

The first respondents said that participation and attendance of Early Chi...

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