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PARENTAL BACKGROUND AND THE LEARNING OF CONCEPTS BY 3– 6 YEAR OLD CHILDREN


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PARENTAL BACKGROUND AND THE LEARNING OF CONCEPTS BY 3– 6 YEAR OLD CHILDREN

ABSTRACT
This study sought to identify the concept learning achievement of children aged 3-
6 based on parental background factors in Plateau State, Nigeria. Five research
questions and five null hypotheses guided the study. Ex-post factor or causal
comparative research design was adopted. The population of the study consisted of
4003 pre-primary school children in the 60 pre-primary schools in the Northern
education zone of Plateau State. A total of 200 pre-primary school children drawn
through multistage sampling approach from public and private pre-primary schools
in Plateau State were used for the study. Two instruments namely: - Concept
learning achievement tests for 3 – 4 and 5 – 6 year old children were developed,
validated and used for the study. The internal consistency reliability of the
instruments were estimated using Kudder-Richardson 20 formula and reliability
coefficients of 0.72 and 0.73 were obtained for the concept learning achievement
tests for 3 – 4 and 5 – 6 year old children, respectively. Data were analyzed using
means scores, standard deviations, and multiple regression analysis. The t-test and
ANOVA statistics were used to test the hypotheses. Findings indicated that:
concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 differed significantly based on
educational status of parents; concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6
differed significantly occupational status of parents; there was significant
difference in the concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 based on
housing location; there was significant difference in the concept learning
achievement of children aged 3-6 based on parent-child interaction; concept
learning achievement of children aged 3-6 did not differ significantly based on
gender. A major educational implication of the findings was that parents could
show positive attitude towards the education of their children by providing for
them, not only in terms of material needs of the children but also allow their
children to interact freely with them. It was thus recommended that emphasis
should be given to parents providing the material needs of their children and also
allowing their children to interact freely with them without gender discrimination.
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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Children learn concepts best when they are given a wide range of
experiences with the object and situations that their developing vocabulary
expresses. In this early processing of the world around them children aged 3-
6 year, who are still at the pre-primary school level, may begin to classify
objects and instances, and these classification tasks are essential to concept
formation. Munn in Mangal (2011) defined concept as a process which
represents the similarities in otherwise diverse objects, situation, or events.
Similarly, Ross (2005) said that concepts are patterns, schemas or mental
categories which enable people to interpret the objects of their thoughts;
whether perceptual or imaginative. One can conclude that concept is a
generalized idea about things, persons, or events. It stands for a general class
and not for a particular objects or event. It is a common name given on the
basis of similarities or commonness found in different objects, persons or
events. It is also a mental disposition that helps in understanding the
meaning of the objects of people’s thinking (Ugoji, 2000).
After looking at some of the characteristics of concepts above, one
may easily conclude that a large portion of the words used and other
1
2
symbolic expressions in human language represent concepts. The names:
horse, tree, dog, table, chair, represent concept of things; father, mother,
teacher represent concept of persons; honesty, truthfulness, cleanliness,
redness, goodness represent concepts of qualities and characteristics and so
on.
Judging the importance of concepts in human lives, one must try to
pay due attention to their proper development from a very early age of live.
In every sphere of human life, people are very much helped by the
identification, classification, categorization and naming of the objects, ideas
or events provided by their acquired concepts. Human environment is full of
tremendously diverse things. It consists of an infinite number of living and
non-living objects. Similarly, there are limitless ideas, thoughts, principles,
formulae, theories and so on related to various aspects of human life and the
environment. In such an environment of tremendous diversity one can adjust
only if one has adequate power and ability to discriminate, classify, and
categorize the things around one (in view of their similarities and
dissimilarities) in specific groups (Wilson, 1997). Concept learning helps
one a lot in this gigantic task of categorizing and classifying the
environmental objects. Moreover, the concepts regarding people, objects,
places, ideas or events provide human symbolic and verbal behaviour.
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