Early Childhood Studies – a Global Perspective

Exploring the concepts on early childhood studies through the lens of people across the globe


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The Role of Research – A Myriad of Uplifting Stories About Children and Families

It was supposed to be a cultural leisure boat trip. I paid fifty dollars to get on a boat to trail along the river and visit local villages. Eight hours under the scorching sun, we traversed the river and watched nature, and a few villages covered in 20150912_100315_resizedbetween lines of trees. A sight of children bathing and goats being cleaned by their owners on the same river caught our attention. Deep into the recesses of these villages are places where silk is manufactured. The place is bustling with activities, grinding of turmeric, selling of wares, and cooking traditional delicacies for sale. The dirt road, swarms of flies and mosquitoes all20150912_110115_resized around, children walking barefoot are glimpses of poverty prevalent in the community. It made me question why people are not idle, they do some form of work, but they remain living in an unacceptable condition? The long-standing issue of poverty is complex and continues to be the topic of studies conducted by many individuals and organisations. How can it be curbed?
The World Bank is one of the many prominent organisations who have conducted and supported research about poverty to fulfil their goals – “to end extreme poverty at a global level within a generation, and to promote what may be called shared prosperity, a sustainable increase in the well-being of the poorer segments of the society.” These goals translate to actions

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informed by research. Data on different topics have been collated to establish the bases of these goals. They include “Regional changes in the population of extreme poor over the years”; “Poverty has fallen steadily since the 1980s except in Africa where the decline began later”; “Inequality tends to be lower in high-income countries”; “Shared Prosperity Indicator in selected countries (circa 2000-10” that were collated from household surveys. The use of information provides trends and evidence of poverty and how different components have resulted into its increase/decrease.
Following upon the establishment of goals are further steps that require deeper research to support reforms. An example is about “Evaluating the Impact on Low-income Children and Families’ Access to a Private Comprehensive Schooling Model: Experimental Evidence from Mexico”. In order to affirm this, research will collect data on children’s performances at school in two consecutive years and measure the involvement of families. Data would be derived from standardized test results, competence in English and technology, and overall well-being that will be analyzed, as well as the degree of parent involvement and program costs. Results of this study can provide feedback that can inform the government the value of low-cost private schools. Moreover, the escalating number of research confirms the importance of early childhood development in assuring the sustainability of the future. This perspective presents a case of the cognitive development of young children and the socio-economic status. Data gathered from countries such as Turkey, Cambodia and Mozambique, demonstrates the delay of development of children from poor families compared to those who are from the middle and high income families. A measure of the responsiveness and language stimulation by mothers from different SES indicates the difference in the cognitive development of children. Naudeau, et.al. (2010) emphasize the importance of documenting the cognitive delays of children from low-income families in order to design appropriate and effective strategies for intervention. Failure to act on the cognitive delays of children impacts their future children because of the perceived inability to perform in the task force. The long-term effect of inaction trickles down to the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

Poverty can, therefore, be curbed if we only look at the root causes, the factors that aggravate them and how success efforts of addressing the challenges whether big or small in scale can be modelled and replicated. Research has a big role in all these steps to collect information in order to establish the norm, to verify information for analysis, and outline potential intervention strategies to problem-solve. Poor people may be involved in some form of work that could enable them to perform a task, but what is the quality of education that would develop skills for work that requires high cognitive functioning? What are the structures in the community that could improve the lives of people who live on hand to mouth subsistence? To study the case before taking action and to plan for action both require careful research processes to address poverty.

References:

Alderman, Harold (ed.). 2011. No small matter : the impact of poverty, shocks, and human capital investments in early childhood development. Human development ; perspectives. Washington, DC: World Bank. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/ 2011/01/13881807/no-small-matter-impact-poverty-shocks-human-capital-investments- early-childhood-development

World Bank. (2015). Evaluating the Impact on Low-income Children and Families’ Access to a Private Comprehensive Schooling Model: Experimental Evidence from Mexico. Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/sief-trust-fund/brief/evaluating-the-impact-on- low-income-children-and-families-access-to-a-private-comprehensive-schooling-model

World Bank. (n.d.). End Extreme Poverty and Promote Shared Responsibility. Retrieved from chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/WB-goals2013.pdf.

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My Personal Research Journey

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What makes families different? How can differences affect parenting styles and child-rearing? What parenting can impact the development of the whole child?

The issue of establishing a common understanding between the teachers and parents can remain challenging and could result to conflicts when contexts are not well understood. In many situations where a child is exhibiting a challenging behaviour, both the parents and teachers can find fault from each other. Although both camps have common intentions of looking after the young child, failure to recognize each others’ perspective and to focus on the needs of the child could impact the child negatively. There have been a number of instances when teachers would blame the parents for the reasons they perceive as “being inconsistent in the discipline of the child” or the parents making the teachers accountable for the behaviour of their child “because of inattention”. The differences in perspectives can either be referred to teaching or parenting styles. Although there have been numerous studies from which programs and schools refer, the aspect of parenting seems to include a wide range of factors that both teachers and parents can explore and understand. There are many questions that could stir investigation in this area that would guide parents and at the same time help teachers understand the way parents conduct their roles. Some of the questions that could provoke further thinking include,

1.Why are there families who belong to the same economic background raise children who take different pathways?
2. What makes some parents more indulgent than the others?
3. What differences in contexts make families dissimilar even if they belong to the same socio-economic status?

We all want our children to develop in all domains – personal, social, cognitive, and physical. What makes parenting different even if all parents intend to develop a whole child? Bornstein (2002) notes the broad themes of parenting. It silhouettes-68153_1280encompasses “who are parents, whom parents parent, the scope of parenting and its many effects, the determinants of road-sign-68152_1280parenting, and nature, structure, and meaning of parenthood for parents.” Given these complex topics came about a general topic of interest, “Parental care and socio-economic status and their impact on the holistic development of young children change through time and context.” There are three subtopics that I indicated in this general topic. They are:

1. How the age of parents and socio-economic status define the quality of responsive relationships to support the development of young children
2. How the age of parents and the socio-economic status affect the establishment of stimulating environments for young children
3. How perceptions of parenting to develop the whole child can differ depending on parental age, economic status and cultural orientation.

From these topics, I would like to focus on the third subtopic. I intend to explore the differences in the perceptions of parenting in consideration of the variability of age, socio-economic status and cultural orientation.
Working with families who may share a common denominator remains the question about the differences in parenting and how it impacts child development. By exploring this topic further, it could give light to the issues on the presumptions of teachers regarding families and help parents recognise their parenting practices, understand the reasons for their parenting approaches and realize if changes are necessary to help their child develop fully.
Helping parents to become aware of their parenting approaches can be beneficial. However, I recognise that parents may have different levels of readiness to reflect about their practices. It would be a challenge on how to carefully, frame the purpose of the research to convey its benefits while at the same time ensure that it is transparent and ethical.

Reference:

Hoff, E., Laursen, B., & Tardif, T. (2002). Socioeconomic status and parenting. Handbook of parenting Volume 2: Biology and   ecology of parenting, 8(2), 231-52.Retrieved from chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/https://judzrun-children.googlecode.com/files/Handbook%20of%20Parenting%202nd%20vol%202,%20Biology%20and%20Ecology%20of%20Pare.pdf#page=264