University of the Free State (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 147-152
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.0077
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
There are early childhood development centres that have been designated as mobile centres in the South African environment. These facilities have been running for a while with the goal of providing early learning to a throng of South African children. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) program aims to provide children from birth to age 9 with a strong foundation for their education. The goal of this program is to ensure that kids transition successfully from early childhood education or pre-primary level to primary level of education. Early life experiences are thought to be of utmost importance to a child's overall wellbeing and capacity for lifetime learning. In South Africa, the issue of parental engagement/involvement in the early education of their children in conventional ECCE centres has been a topic of debate among early childhood educators. However, no empirical research has been conducted to establish the level of involvement of parents in mobile ECCE activities in South Africa. Thus, this research explored early childhood educators’ perspectives regarding parental involvement in mobile ECCE activities. To implement this research, the researchers used an explanatory sequential mixed methods research approach. In this study, a sample of 10 early childhood educators from one organization in the Free State Province that offers mobile ECCE was used. With the aid of a structured questionnaire and a semi-structured interview guide, the necessary data for this study were gathered. The psychometric properties of the quantitative instrument and the trustworthiness of the qualitative instrument were sufficiently guaranteed. While ATLAS.ti software was used to analyze the qualitative data, relevant descriptive statistics such as mean, bar charts, and percentage were used to analyse the quantitative data. It was found that a lot of parents are very concerned about their children's early learning. Most of the participants reported that some parents normally help in cleaning and washing the carpets and mats when they become dirty. Moreover, parents are involved because sometimes when there is an introduction of new themes, the parents take over the teaching of the themes to the children, especially the days when the educators are not there. This finding has practical implication in the sense that the more the parents are involved in the early education of their children, the more opportunity the children have in their early cognitive development. Thus, such involvement helps the early childhood educators in the mobile centres to cover the required themes for the contact. Therefore, the policy implication of this finding is that an adequate policy framework that will cover the active involvement of parents in the activities of mobile ECCE needs to be made and properly implemented.
Early childhood educators, Mobile early childhood care and education centre, Parental involvement.