CHILD-CARE SKILL NEEDS OF CARE-GIVERS IN PRE-PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY (FCT), ABUJA
Background of the Study
A child is a member of the society and as well a citizen of a nation who has every right for survival, growth and development. A child as described by Bernard (2001) is every human being below 18 years of age. According to United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (2007), childhood stage covers the crèche, the nursery or early childhood (0-5) years, primary school (6-12) years and secondary school (12 -18) years. The childhood period is a sensitive stage in the life of every individual requiring special care and attention. For instance, Anyakoha and Eluwa (2008) noted that, a child is a young person who depends on others for the provision of daily food, clothing and shelter. In the concept of this study, a child is a young person at early childhood stage of 0-5 years in pre-primary schools under the careful and consistent attention of the care-givers.
Evans, Myers and Ilford (2000) affirmed that a child with consistent caring attention is generally better nourished, less likely to be sick and learn better than a child who does not receive such care. The care, attention and respect to be given to the child are specified by the rights of the child. Evans, et al (2000) reported further that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child specified among others that:
The report of NERDC/UNICEF (2013) showed that rights of Nigerian child are clustered into four main domains which include: survival rights, protection rights, participation rights and development rights. For the child to survive and steadily develop, someone has to care for him to reach his full potential and development. This is because, the child’s physical and psychological needs must be met by one or more people who understand what children, in general need, and what the particular child under his/her care needs. Thus, the child’s growth and development in all aspects (health, cognition, perception, personhood, response to the environment among others) depends on the capacity of adults in whose care the child rests for assistance and support. Anuna (2005) reported that the child as the hope of further human existence needs love, attention and care for meaningful growth and development.all children without distinction of gender, race, language, religion or of any other kind should have the opportunity to develop to full potential.
- children, by reason of their physical and mental vulnerability, need special safeguards and care.
- children living in difficult circumstances need special consideration.
- Parent, families, men as well as women, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing, development and education of their children.
- government should establish a policy environment that ensures families and communities fulfil their responsibilities of child caring and protection.
Development of every human person is a continuous process which starts from conception. Development is a product of interaction of inherited potentialities and the environment, maturation and learning. Izuwa (2002) viewed development as the systematic, qualitative and quantitative changes which are progressive, orderly and coherent. According to the author, the development of a child is always more rapid and dramatic than at any other stage in the development process of the human person. At early childhood stage, nature and nurture have major roles to play in child development. Nature according to Berger (2005) refers to the influence of the genes that each person inherits from his or her parents at the moment of conception while nurture refers to all the environmental influences that come into play after conception, beginning with the mother’s health during pregnancy and including all the individual’s experiences in the outside environment. Speaking on the effect of nurture on child development, Olaitan and Akpan (2003) stated that the experience gained may make or mar the child permanently due to rapid brain development and character formation of the child. This implies that the child learns a lot, and what he/she learns at the childhood stage of development in addition to other environmental factors affect all other stages of the child’s life as an adult. This makes the roles of care-givers of the child more important at early childhood stage.
The care-givers are those who take care of the child. Evans, et al (2000) described a care-giver as someone who cares for a child whether on a long term or short-term basis. According to Bernard (2001) care-giver is called legal or periodic guardian that has the primary responsibility for upbringing and development of the child. Parents, foster parents, family members, baby sitters and child-care workers are considered care-givers who provide the necessary care services to the child (Brisbane, 2000). Child-care services are provisions made to improve optimal growth and development in childhood through disease prevention, good health, food and nutrition. Child-care service is therefore the right of every child and must not be denied for any reason (Turman, 2003). Child care services at home are offered by the parents, siblings of the child, other relatives and non-relative care-givers employed to offer such services. Child care-givers in the context of this study are trained individuals employed by administrators of pre-primary schools and charged with the sole responsibilities of providing the necessary care giving services towards supporting the normal physical, social, psychological and educational growth and development of the child in a formal school setting.
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