THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN SCHOOL CLIMATE AND CAREGIVERS’ DISPOSITION TOWARDS EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION
1.1 Background to the Study
Early childhood caregivers play a critical role in achieving the aims of early childhood education. Children’s development and learning are aided by their interactions with caring adults in safe, nurturing, and engaging situations. In most circumstances, delivering exciting learning settings entails a wide range of efforts and activities carried out under the supervision and care of caregivers with specialized knowledge, experience, and skill. According to Engle and Lhotska (2019), a caregiver is the person who looks after infants and young children; it embodies past and future perspective as well as deep emotional involvement in the rearing and socialization of a young child to provide the food, healthcare, stimulation, and emotional support necessary for children’s healthy survival, growth, and development.
Caregiving quality is judged not only by the acts themselves, but also by how they are executed – in terms of affection and responsiveness to the child – which are crucial to a kid’s survival, growth, and development (Engle & Lhotska, 2019). As a result, Sonawat and Furia (2016) concluded that a competent early childhood teacher possesses inner stability, self-awareness, integrity, theoretical grounding, and broad knowledge, with a focus on environmental science, community and young children’s literature, kindness, and respect for the child. However, care-giving is a professional engagement process that stresses the proper attitudes on the side of practitioners. Curtis (2015) lists favorable attitudes toward and respect for children as persons regardless of ethnicity, gender, or religion, as well as excellent interpersonal relationships among colleagues, as quality markers for preschool staff. The term “attitude” refers to an individual’s prevailing inclination to respond favorably or unfavorably to an item, person or group of people, institutions, or events (Morris & Maisto, 2005). Attitudes can be favorable (values) or negative (values) (prejudices). Attitudes include three components, according to Kreitner and Kinicki (2017) emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. The affective component is a feeling or emotion one feels about an object or circumstance. The cognitive component of attitude displays one’s views or ideas about an item or circumstance, whereas the behavioral component indicates how one plans to act or behave toward someone or something (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2017). In most cases, the three components work together to form caregivers’ classroom postures via direct and indirect interactions between society, school, and caregivers (Leite, 1994).
Importantly, attitudes about work are views that influence how employees perform in their jobs. According to Brophy and Good (1974), many educational experts endorsed the premise that caregivers’ attitudes and expectations might be self-fulfilling prophesies in the mid-1970s. Brophy and Good (2017) also claimed that once caregivers establish a specific attitude or belief, they may begin to treat pupils differently in ways that assist bring about the outcomes that they expect. However, to understand caregiver attitudes and how they represent caregiver attitude, we may need to look at the situation in which they operate. In other words, there is a need to investigate the link between the school climate and caregiver attitudes.
Etymologically, the phrase “school climate” refers to the atmosphere that influences the behavior of teachers and pupils. Anyone who spends time in schools will immediately notice how one school might feel very different from another. The mood, ambiance, tone, philosophy, or milieu of a school is referred to as the school climate. Schools, like persons, have personalities; a school climate may be regarded of as the personality of a school. The school climate describes the organization at the school building and classroom levels. It relates to the “feel” of a school and might differ from one school to the next within the same district. While an individual school can generate a climate independently of the broader organization, changes in school culture at the district level can have an impact on school climate at the building level, either favorably or negatively. School climate represents the physical and psychological characteristics of the school that are more vulnerable to change and that offer the preconditions for teaching and learning to take place. The climate of a school is made up of several factors of its physical and social surroundings. These include appearance and physical plant; student interactions; leadership/decision making; a disciplined atmosphere; and a learning environment.
As a result, school climate is obvious in the sentiments and attitudes about a school expressed by students, teachers, staff, and parents, incorporating the way kids and staff “feel” about being at school each day. Thus, when the school climate is unfriendly and inadequately prepared, it has the potential to demotivate caregivers and have an impact on their work of caring for the early child.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Although it is widely acknowledged that early childhood caregivers play significant roles in fostering children’s holistic development, some caregivers are found to be displaying attitudes that appear to consistently fall short of the expectations of school authorities, parents, policy-makers, and educational stakeholders. While many people have sought in many areas for an explanation for this unwholesome development, few research have looked into the probable link between the school climate and caregivers’ attitudes toward early child care development and education (ECCDE). Whatever remedies are proposed to the deteriorating standards at this basic level of education can only be implemented in schools with a healthy school climate – spacious classrooms, appropriate seating, and an adequate number of ethically conscientious teachers.
However, observation reveals that many schools provide conditions that are far from ideal. Overcrowding, decrepit structures, inferior facilities, job overload, administrative high-handedness, bad interaction culture, poor compensation, and other issues are now commonplace in many ECCDE organizations. This may have a substantial impact on the attitude of the ECCDE caregivers toward work, and may directly or indirectly affect the quality of care and education the children get under these caregivers. This study therefore is being undertaken to fill the gap in our knowledge on the possible the association between school climate and caregivers’ disposition towards early childhood development education in Ikeja Local Government Areas of Lagos State.
1.3 Purpose of Study
The aim of this study is to investigate the association between school climate and caregivers’ disposition towards early childhood development education in Ikeja LGA, Lagos State. Other specific objectives includes:
- To investigate if inferior facilities influences caregivers’ attitude towards early child care development;
- To ascertain whether administrative high-handedness affects caregivers’ attitudes towards early child care development and education;
- To investigate whether poor culture and hostile interaction of schools’ social environment is related to caregivers’ attitudes towards early child care development and education
- To establish whether the school climate is associated to poor attitude of caregivers towards early child care development and education
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses will be tested in this study:
HO1: There is no relationship between Poor culture and hostile interaction of schools’ social environment and caregivers’ attitudes towards early child care development and education.
HO2:School climate is not associated to poor attitude of caregivers towards towards early child care development and education.
1.5 Significance of Study
The popularity of nursery schools across the nation has brought the issue of school climate to the fore. When children are placed in a climate where the relationship between school climate and caregivers’ attitude towards early child care development and education is positive they grow up to be assets to their parents, community and the nation as a whole. This study therefore becomes important in as much as it would provide an insight relationship that exists between school climate and caregivers’ attitude towards early child care development and education. The findings of this study would be useful for decision-making process on matters affecting early childhood development programmes. It will also assess the roles the various stakeholders, school owners, teachers, schools, inspectors, parents etc. in ensuring conformity to the prescribed standards of curriculum implementation.
1.6 Scope of Study
This study seeks to investigate the relationship between school climate and caregivers’ attitude towards early child care development and education in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State. The variable scope for this study will include the physical environment, social environment, teachers’ attitudes etc.The study is delimited to selected daycare/creche/kindergarten schools in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that it is a new discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only/kindergarten schools in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos .Thus findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other creche school within Nigeria. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
1.8 Operational Definitions of Terms
Attitude: This describes outward and visible postures and human beliefs. Attitudes determine what each individual will see, hear, think and do.
School Climate: The term ‘school climate’ describes the environment that affects the behaviour of teachers and students. Itrefers to the feel, atmosphere, tone, ideology, or milieu of a school. Just as individuals have personalities, so too do schools; a school climate may be thought of as the personality of a school. It also characterizes the organization at the school building and classroom level.