Teachers' perceptions on how selected school factors affect learning in pre-schools in Meru South district,Tharaka Nithi County,Kenya
The objective of early childhood program is to build a strong foundation for cognitive, socio-emotional and health development through learning that will enable children to maximize their learning potential upon entering primary school. However, concerns have been raised regarding the learning in public early childhood centres in Kenya. The goal of this study was to determine teachers' perceptions on how selected school factors affect learning in early childhood centres. The study utilized descriptive survey research design. A sample of 79 ECE teachers was selected using stratified sampling. Questionnaires and interview schedule were used to collect data. The quantitative data collected was analyzed using the SPSS programme, while qualitative data was analyzed thematically. The study established that the teachers perceived that staffing in public early childhood centres was low and that supervision of learning by head teachers was inadequate. The study further found that the learning resources were inadequate including the learning facilities for both indoor and outdoor environment. All these perceptions had a negative influence to learning outcomes. This study concludes that teachers held mixed reactions on how staffing, supervision, resources and learning environment affected learning in ECE. This study makes a raft of recommendations among which includes training of all head teachers to be effective institutional managers. This will make them learn more on supervisory roles. All the stakeholders should co-operate in provision of learning materials such as textbooks, toys, charts, and other teaching aids. School infrastructure should be improved, especially classrooms, desks and teaching/learning material; there is need for fair distribution and utilization of available resources so that all schools in need are adequately catered for and the government to provide enough funds so that schools can meet other challenges; and employing more qualified teaching personnel in order to deal with the problem of high pupil-teacher ratio.