Parents' perceptions of early childhood development in the Langkloof farming communities
Kemmies, Sharelda Luanshia Davidene
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Early childhood development has a lifelong impact on the future of each human being. However, all South Africans do not have equal access to the same quality ECD opportunities and services. As a means to advance knowledge in this regard, this study explores parents' perceptions regarding early childhood development (ECD) and their involvement therein, particularly within the Langkloof farming communities. Furthermore, the objective is to formulate guidelines, which can be applied to promote parents’ involvement in ECD at home and at the ECD partial care facility the children are enrolled at. For this reason an interpretive, descriptive research design was utilised as methodology, which enables the determination of practical applicability. The data for this study was gathered by means of five focus groups, consisting of not more than eight participants per group. Participants were sampled though a purposeful sampling strategy to ensure that the most informative participants were selected for the study. Gathered data were transcribed and analysed on the basis of the basic qualitative analysis process, incorporating the thematic analysis strategy. The findings of this study indicate that parents have a pertinent understanding of ECD and parental involvement in relation to existing literature on ECD. Participants ‘perceptions complement existing ECD-related literature, indicating that parental involvement in ECD includes a home-centred as well as a facility-centred approach. Participants made reference to their concerns and satisfactions with the ECD services that they are currently receiving. They furthermore made reference to the challenges that prohibit them from optimal parental involvement in the ECD of their children, both at home, as well as at the ECD partial care facilities their children are enrolled at. Participants made suggestions on how they could be supported to address their concerns and challenges in both home-centred and facility-centred approaches in order to enhance parental involvement in their community. In general findings suggest that parents have the skills and are aware of their rights and responsibilities with regard to ECD parental v involvement. However, if their insights were to be additionally buttressed in particular ways, their children‘s development in the early years could be enhanced. Based on the findings therefore, this study recommends that governmental departments focus on determining the actual requirements of parents, based on their unique understanding of their circumstances and beliefs by means of practice-based research in less fortunate communities. Furthermore it is recommended that government departments, other role players involved in community-based ECD service delivery and farm owners should play a developmental, empowering and supportive role to assist parents to improve in respect of home-centred, as well as facility-centred parental involvement in ECD. In general the findings of this study therefore suggest that support services to parental involvement in ECD must be individualised based on research and theory and the requirements of parents and children in a specific context.
- Humanities