Effect of Nutrition on Performance of Children in Number Work Activities in Pre-schools in Moiben Constituency, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya
The school nutritional programme is popular in Kenya, an instrument for improving the nutritional needs of the pre-school children as one way of achieving one of the Millennium Development Goals and Education for all. The programme needs crucial interventions for improving the nutrition of the pre-school children mainly from the low-income groups. The programme aims to provide balanced diet to ECDE children to enhance their school attendance and concentration in class activities all geared towards better academic achievement. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to determine the effect of nutrition on performance of children in number work activities in pre-schools in Moiben Constituency Uasin Gishu County. Specifically, this study determined: the effect of nutrition on children’s performance in number work activity in Moiben Constituency; the effect of feeding frequency on children’s performance in number work activity in Moiben Constituency and the effect of parental nutritional knowledge on children’s performance in number work activity in Moiben Constituency. This study used a mixed research design quasi experimental and both quantitative and qualitative research design. The sample size was 6 head teachers, 18 teachers, 60 pre-school parents and 180 children of public pre-schools in Moiben Constituency. The primary data was collected using questionnaires and interviews schedule, the questionnaires being both open and close ended administered to the head teachers and ECDE teachers. A specially designed number work test was designed for the pupils. The researcher also used interview to parents in data collection to establish the background and knowledge towards school nutritional programme. In this study, a pilot study was conducted to ensure reliability with selected respondents from two of the primary schools that were not included in the study. The quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics where the responses from the questionnaires were tallied, tabulated and analysed using percentages, frequencies, mean and standard deviation using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The study established that the main types of food offered were mainly porridge, maize, beans and vegetables and the provision of nutrition programme improved the overall performance of the children in number work. In addition, the study determined that providing school feeding programme twice improved the performance of the children in number work compared to providing food once. Finally, majority of the parents understood what was in the school menu, of which 60% indicated that the menu is balanced and good for the children. Parents also attested that school nutrition programme effectively improved performance of the children in number work, of which 100% of the parents agreed that indeed school nutrition programme improved number work. The study concluded that the school feeding programme has helped in improving the performance of the pupils in number work probably as a result of daily attendance of school by children. The study recommended that the school feeding programme should be introduced in all schools in Uasin Gishu and not just Moiben Constituency.
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