BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education serves a variety of purposes. It makes it possible to make economic, social, cultural, political, and scientific progress, among other kinds of advancement. Education is not simply the process of passing on information and cultural traditions from one generation to the next; it also involves giving individuals with the knowledge and abilities that will enable them to analyse, diagnose, perform, question, and ponder. According to the World Forum on Education (2022), the processes of industrialization, migration, and urbanisation have had a significant impact on the field of early education. These processes cause shifts in the structure and composition of the family as well as a decline in infant motility, which demands that attention be paid to the education and development of children who are now surviving but may be engaging in behaviors that are detrimental to their development.
Because children are the future leaders of their respective civilizations, no nation can afford to ignore the importance of education for its own children. Children are the future. According to Wheeler (2022), every civilization educates its own children with the goal of moulding those children into members of that community. According to Stenhouse (2022), the society is the one that determines both the curriculum and the expectations for an individual’s education. This type of education begins in the early years of a child’s life, and its fundamental aims stem from the desire of society to encourage, stimulate, and lead the developmental processes of the child toward competency.
Educators in Nigeria have come to the realisation that the future of Nigerian society is dependent on laying a solid foundation for children in their formative years. As a result, it is extremely important that children have access to early educational experiences that are both appropriate and meaningful to them (Wheeler, 2022).
Early childhood education, whether it takes place within four walls or outside of any educational institution at all, is a legacy left by the country’s colonial rulers, just like the other educational systems that exist in this country. Between the years 1842 and 1848, there was a significant uptick in missionary activity. The ladies of the colonial masters were left behind in their homes when the men originally arrived. The men’ wives eventually caught up with them and joined them. The necessity of enrolling their children in a school of their own. The name “nursery of the baby church” was given to the first school to be built in Nigeria, which was located in Badagry and founded by missionaries in the 1840s. Despite the fact that its name suggested otherwise, the school was a primary school. Education prior to the primary school level was not a priority for the former colonial master (Godson, 2022).
In the past, a nursery was often associated to each and every elementary school. The nursery classes that were founded in this way were saved and turned into feeder schools.
The education of children aged three to five was not included for the very first time until the national curriculum conferences held in 1969. These conferences took place in 1969.
The daycare centre, which provides care for children as a substitute for that of the home and is available to children whose parents or the children themselves are deemed to be in particular need of such assistance, is one of the three fundamental components that comprise pre-primary education (Duru, 2022). Children who are between the ages of three and four are encouraged to enrol in the kindergarten. The nursery school takes in children between the ages of four and six years old and helps the child develop his linguistic and mathematical skills in order to get him or her ready for entry into the primary school. In addition to this, the nursery school serves other purposes, such as helping children whose homes are socially or educationally unsatisfactory; helping children whose mother had to go to work; and helping as a place where early diagnosis of individual handicaps could be made and paper remedial treatment could be given (Duru, 2022).
The concept of nursery education originated in the western world, where it was reserved solely for the infant children of wealthy parents. This remained the case until the masses achieved a breakthrough through government pronouncements that made kindergarten or nursery school mandatory and free in many parts of developed countries.
Learning on the part of the learner should be the ultimate goal of any instructive endeavour if it is to be considered successful. The phrase “change in behaviour” is used to represent the effect of learning. This helps to explain why “change in behaviour that is consequential on or owing to experience” is a common definition of learning (Akande, 2022). A man with a great deal of learning is also a man with a lot of understanding, and so is a man who is educated. On the other hand, teaching is a collection of activities and expressions that take place in a classroom and involve an exchange of ideas and materials between a teacher and the students with the goal of developing cognitive, psychomotor, affective, and aesthetic goals in the students. Teaching can be thought of as a cluster of activities and expressions that take place in a classroom. According to Ekwueme (2022), it is the responsibility of the teacher to offer children with experiences that support, stimulate, and shape their learning in order to bring about a progression or an understanding that is relevant to the child’s needs and capacities. Therefore, it is essential for the educator to utilise instructional materials or aid in order to generate teaching and learning experiences that are straightforward, engaging, methodical, constructively interactive, and significant for the students (Akande, 2002).
It is impossible to place enough emphasis on the significance of instructional resources and tools in the learning process. It has been suggested that the utilisation of materials crafted in the immediate area is advantageous to the growth of the children who attend a nursery. Although these materials might be accessible, it’s possible that the instructor isn’t making good use of them. Either that, or the teacher simply doesn’t have the skills necessary to utilise them. During the process of training a child’s senses, the child will accumulate experiences, which will later serve as the building blocks for their knowledge. When teaching something, it’s important to engage as many of a student’s senses as possible so that they can gain the most out of the experience (Akande, 2002).
The goal of educational activities is to assist the kid in becoming aware of his or her human nature, to equip the child with the fundamentals of knowledge, and to establish a connection between the child and the natural world. In 1980, UNICEF issued the following reminder: “That concern for comprehensive child development naturally includes concern for the survival, health care, and growth monitoring of children and attention to the learning and stimulation required to help them realise their full potential, the intellectual, social, and emotional aspects of the child’s development.” Concern for comprehensive child development naturally includes concern for the survival, health care, and growth monitoring of children. When it comes to the mental and social growth of a young child, a stimulating atmosphere should be created with careful consideration and attention to detail. The activities should be adapted to the specific circumstances of the area, and their goals should be to both utilise and bolster the resources that are already there in the family and the community. To ensure that programmes for children aged 3 to 6 years old address a broad range of urgent developmental needs, especially those of children living in poverty and affected adversely by forces or social-economic change, special attention should be paid to the needs of the mother while she is pregnant as well as the needs of children from birth to two years of age. In addition, special attention should be paid to the needs of children from birth to two years of age (Ikott, 2022).
This phenomenon is characterised by the environment having either a direct or indirect influence on man in a particular location. Components of the environment include human people, human behaviours, society law, values, and customs, natural, physical elements, and the preexisting sociopolitical conditions. All of these aspects of the setting have some influence on the subjects that are taught, when they are taught, how they are taught, and where they are taught (Nchekwube, 2022).
Taking into consideration everything that has been stated thus far, the use of teaching and learning aids and materials is recommended in order to make educational experiences that are straightforward, fascinating, methodical, positively participatory, and meaningful.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
When some scholars (Smith, Stanley, and Shore) state that the “curriculum is interwoven with the social fabric that sustains it,” they appropriately emphasise the role of environment. In this sense, environment refers to society (Nchekwube, 2022). The social fabric is the network of interdependent variables that have a direct or indirect influence on educational activities within a particular location. This can be either positive or negative. The challenges and opportunities that are present in a particular area serve as the inspiration for educational activities. The environment provides the source for educational resources, such as learning experiences and audio-visual aids, which are generated from the environment. Educationists have also shown that there is a subtle relationship between the effect that the environment has on children and the research that children do on the environment (Ikott, 2022). This relationship has been found to exist between the two. In addition to the social environment, what is deemed vital in the classroom is both the context and the content of the education that is received. The actual institution of education itself is an essential component of the community. Because of this, when students are taught knowledge about the environment, they also learn about themselves at the same time.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to examine the use of locally made materials in preschool education. Specific aims of this study are:
i. To determine the extent locally made materials is used in preschool education in Nigeria.
ii. To determine the extent of availability of locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria.
iii. To find out the types of locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria.
iv. To find out the challenges of using locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria.
The following questions will be answered in this study:
i. To what extent is locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria?
ii. To what extent are locally made materials used in preschool education available in Nigeria?
iii. What are the types of locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria?
iv. What are the challenges of using locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study makes an effort to identify the utilisation of locally crafted materials in the education of nursery school children as a differentiating factor for the efficacy and efficiency of educational institutions. However, a critical analysis or this study will enable school proprietors and school heads such as head Masters/Mistresses, head teachers, etc. to understand the fact that the use of locally made materials is a cogent factor if the school is to achieve its goal of producing, breeding individuals that will be useful to both themselves and the society at large. This understanding will enable the school to achieve its goal of producing, breeding individuals who will be useful to both themselves and the society at large. In addition, the results of this study will help the government comprehend the necessity of incorporating locally crafted products into the education of young children in nursery schools. This is necessary in order to achieve the desired level of academic development in individuals.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on the use of locally made materials in preschool education. Specifically, this study focuses on determining the extent locally made materials is used in preschool education in Nigeria, determining the extent of availability of locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria, finding out the types of locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria and finding out the challenges of using locally made materials used in preschool education in Nigeria.
Teachers of selected preschools in Ikeja, Lagos State will be the respondents for this study.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.
Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Locally Made Materials: Locally made materials in the context of teaching and learning are defined as materials and equipment obtainable from the local environment, or designed by the teacher or with the help of local resource personnel to enhance effective teaching and learning activities. This method of teaching is known as improvisation.
Preschool Education: Preschool is an early childhood program in which children combine learning with play in a program run by professionally trained adults.