Date of Conferral
Patricia N. Anderson
The influx of women of childbearing age into the labor force, family dynamics of dual working parents as a result of economic factors, and weakening of extended family supports have increased demand for early childhood care and education programs in Nigeria. Consequently, a problem emerged in increased enrollment in ECCE programs that are deficient in terms of structural and process factors of child-caregiver ratio, group size, staff qualifications, health and safety practices, curriculum implementation, and parental engagement. The purpose of this study was to explore the factors that influenced parents' in their decision process for ECCE placement for their children aged 6 months to 1 year in Asaba education zone of Delta State, Nigeria. Epistemological constructivism was employed as the conceptual framework for this inquiry. A qualitative design together with one-on-one interviews of 9 parents of children enrolled in selected public, mission, and private ECCE programs were employed to answer four research questions on parents' decision making for ECCE selection. The resulting data were analyzed using both a priori and open coding to generate themes and patterns. The study revealed that parents relied on personal priorities over quality indicators. This study may contribute to social change by providing policymakers and other stakeholders with information on factors parents consider in their selection of ECCE programs, including factors that incline parents to choose quality-deficient programs. This information may lead to program improvements that increase enrollment of children into quality programs, reduce gaps in achievement and opportunity between the low and middle-income groups, and enhance social equity and success for children enrolled ECCE programs.