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The study sought to establish facts about early childhood education experience on the academic performance of primary school children. The research instrument used was the school continuous assessment records. Three hypotheses were formulated and tested using t-test statistics, at .05 level of significance. The study revealed that there is a significant difference between pupils who had early childhood education and those without in their academic performance-cognitive ability, affective and psychomotor skills. Based on the findings and conclusion, appropriate recommendations were made, among other things that the society at large should see ECE as a vital investment which yields dividends on a daily basis.
1.1 Background of the Study
What a nation makes of education system to a large extent will dictate the tempo of her match to nationhood and self-reliance (Okeke, 1990) Education is regarded as a dynamic instruments of change, thus Nigerian government accepts education to be a huge government venture and gives it a wholehearted support.
For sometimes now early childhood education has been a great concern to educators, scholars, researcher’s governmental and non-governmental agencies and indeed the generality of the populace of Nigeria. This is because education at this level represents the pivot and the initial focal point on which the entire education system rotates. It is the embryo of the whole education system. The management and planning of education at this pre-school stage, thus is of immense importance to the education system in particular and to the entire nation at large. This is because the foundation for a sound qualitative and functional education system can be best laid here.
These nurseries and kindergartens form the first step in public education and help the family in the moral and aesthetic education of children in maintaining and strengthening their health and preparing them for school.
Early childhood is referred to as a period between two to six years. This is sometimes referred to as pre-primary stage. Growth at this state proceeds at a very fast rate although slower than that of the baby. The historical development of early childhood education coincided with the historical development of science education. The contributions of many early childhood educators stimulated awareness in the relevance of science to the education of the young child.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is generally agreed that a child’s achievement begins in his/her early stage. The economic status of the family notwithstanding, the child’s ability in academic achievement is traceable to how effective the learning capacity can be. When a child starts early enough to master his subjects especially in science the achievement level can then be agreed to perform above the expectation. Science as a subject will be made to be a yardstick that can be used to measure a level of the achievement.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of early childhood and academic achievement. Specifically, the purpose of the study includes the following:
1. To investigate the effect of early childhood in the study of science on the academic achievement of primary four pupils.
2. To investigate the role played by parents on the academic achievement of their children especially on science.
3. To determine the methods that could be applied on the academic achievement of science pupils in primary four.
4. To assess the relationship between the early childhood and the study of science in primary four.
1.4 Research Questions
1. Is there any influence on early childhood education on the academic achievement of primary four science pupils?
2. Does educational background of parents significantly affect the child’s academic achievement in Uyo Local Government Area?
3. Is there any relationship between parental educational background in science and the early childhood academic achievement?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H01: There is no significant relationship between early childhood education and academic achievement of pupils in primary four.
H02: There is no significant relationship between educational background of parents and the child’s academic achievement.
H03: There is no significance influence on parental academic background, economic status, marital status and home location of pupils academic achievement in primary four.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is significant for a number of reasons. It will discover early childhood can influence the study of science in primary four. It will also bring out data on the effect of early childhood on the academic achievement of pupils which will be useful for the educational administration in future. It will be useful for primary school teachers, head of administration in the management of their schools to attain a targeted goal of high level of academic excellence. It is also believed that this study will be useful to future researches in the same topic.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The study is limited to primary four pupils in Uyo Local Government Area studying science. The generalization of the study should be such that it is limited to primary four science pupils.
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