Parent education programmes for early childhood development : reflections of practitioners

Baker, Jessica (2014-12)

Thesis (MSocialWork)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Parent education programmes have been identified as intervention strategies which address numerous social problems in South Africa. This study aimed to highlight the importance of empowering parents through knowledge and skill development in order to positively invest in the future generations of South Africa. Early childhood development is a field which has emerged on the agenda of the helping professions, such as social work, psychology and education. The development of parent education programmes is an example of advancement in this field. The topic of parent education is noteworthy in light of the growing need to empower parents to raise well-developed children. The development of effective parent education programmes is beneficial to both the parents and practitioners. However, practitioners are seldom given the opportunity to reflect on their own professional experiences of delivering these programmes. Therefore, there is a need to investigate and analyse these experiences to potentially improve programme delivery. Consequently, the aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of practitioners’ experiences of facilitating programmes aimed towards early childhood development by utilising social learning and cognitive behavioural approaches. A combination of a quantitative and qualitative research approach was used in this study. Exploratory and descriptive research designs were implemented in order to describe the social phenomenon of parent education programmes for early childhood development. Practitioners delivering parent education programmes in the Cape Metropole in South Africa were selected to participate in the study. Data was collected during individually administered interviews by means of a semi-structured questionnaire. Practitioners were given the opportunity to share their reflections (which are qualitative in nature) on their experiences of facilitating programmes aimed at early child development. The main findings of this study indicated that there is a need for practitioners to be adequately trained to deliver programmes which are engaging and relevant to the needs of parents. Group-based and community programmes were found to be effective platforms for this intervention. The nature and components of parent education programmes, as outlined in the literature, provide clear guidelines for organisations and practitioners wishing to deliver such programmes and it is recommended that they be incorporated into facilitators’ training sessions. Furthermore, the findings of this study are significant for practitioners facilitating parent education programmes as they confirmed that the effectiveness of the implementation of such programmes are linked to the delivery by and experiences of practitioners. An effort should therefore be made to enhance these experiences by endorsing the use of best practice methods for programme delivery. South Africa has recently begun to explore the innovative avenue of parent education through group-based parenting programmes. The enhancement of parents’ capabilities through these programmes are seen as an asset for promoting social development and advancing legislation on childhood development. The conclusions drawn in this study indicate a need for further research into the topic of parent education programmes in South Africa. Consequently, recommendations are provided for further research that would complement this study and elaborate on its findings.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Oueropleidingsprogramme word beskou as ʼn intervensiestrategie wat talryke maatskaplike probleme in Suid-Afrika aanspreek. Hierdie studie het dit ten doel gestel om te wys hoe belangrik dit is om ouers te bemagtig deur die ontwikkeling van hul kennis en vaardighede om so ʼn positiewe bydrae tot die toekomstige generasies van Suid-Afrikaners te maak. Vroeë kinderontwikkeling is ʼn veld waaraan daar toenemend aandag geskenk word in die hulpverleningsprofessies, byvoorbeeld maatskaplike werk, die sielkunde en die onderwys. ʼn Voorbeeld van vordering wat al op hierdie gebied gemaak is, is die ontwikkeling van oueropleidingsprogramme. Hierdie programme is van belang om die toenemende behoefte daaraan om ouers te bemagtig om goed ontwikkelde kinders groot te maak, aan te spreek. Die ontwikkeling van effektiewe oueropleidingsprogramme is voordelig vir sowel ouers as praktisyns. Praktisyns word egter selde die geleentheid gegun om te reflekteer op hul eie professionele ervaring as fasiliteerders van sodanige programme. Daarom is daar ʼn behoefte daaraan om hierdie ervarings te ondersoek en te analiseer om die lewering van hierdie programme moontlik te verbeter. Na aanleiding van hierdie behoefte, was die doel van hierdie studie om ʼn beter begrip te vorm van die praktisyns se ervaring van die fasilitering van programme vir vroeë kinderontwikkeling deur van die sosiale leer- en kognitiewe gedragsbenaderings gebruik te maak. ʼn Kombinasie van kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenaderings is in hierdie studie gevolg. ʼn Verkennende en beskrywende navorsingsontwerp is toegepas om die sosiale fenomeen van oueropleidingsprogramme vir vroeë kinderontwikkeling te beskryf. Praktisyns van oueropleidingsprogramme wat in die Kaapse Metropool in Suid-Afrika aangebied word, is gekies om aan die studie deel te neem. Data is ingesamel tydens individuele onderhoude deur middel van semi gestruktureerde vraelyste. Praktisyns is die geleentheid gebied om te reflekteer (ʼn kwalitatiewe benadering) op hulle ervaring van die fasilitering van programme wat gerig is op vroeë kinderontwikkeling. Die hoofbevindinge van hierdie studie dui op ʼn behoefte vir praktisyns om doeltreffend opgelei te word om programme aan te bied wat aantreklik en relevant is vir ouers om hulle behoeftes aan te spreek. Daar is bevind dat groepsgebaseerde en gemeenskapsprogramme effektiewe platforms vir hierdie intervensie is. Die aard en komponente van oueropleidingsprogramme, soos uiteengesit in die literatuur, bied duidelike riglyne vir organisasies en praktisyns wat sodanige programme wil aanbied en daar word aanbeveel dat dit in opleidingsessies vir fasiliteerders inkorporeer word. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie is verder van belang vir fasiliteerders van oueropleidingsprogramme aangesien dit bevestig dat die geslaagdheid van die programme gekoppel is aan praktisyns se lewering en ervaring daarvan. ʼn Poging moet dus aangewend word om hierdie ervaring te verbeter deur praktisyns aan te moedig om die “beste praktyk”-metodes te gebruik wanneer hulle programme aanbied. Suid-Afrika het onlangs ʼn innoverende benadering tot oueropleiding begin volg, naamlik om sodanige programme in groepsverband aan te bied. Die verbetering van ouers se bekwaamheid deur middel van hierdie programme word beskou as ʼn manier om vooruitgang in maatskaplike ontwikkeling te bewerkstellig en wetgewing oor kinderontwikkeling te bevorder. Die gevolgtrekkings waartoe daar in hierdie studie gekom word, dui aan dat daar ʼn behoefte vir verdere navorsing oor oueropleidingsprogramme in Suid-Afrika bestaan. Gevolglik word daar ter afsluiting aanbevelings gemaak ten opsigte van verdere navorsingsgeleenthede wat hierdie studie kan aanvul en op sy bevindinge kan uitbrei.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95853
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