Developing a parenting skills programme to enhance the school readiness of Grade R learners in resource poor communities
Brown, Jeanne Marie
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This research project was aimed at developing a parenting skills programme to enhance the school readiness of Grade R learners. A lack of school readiness was identified as one factor contributing to the high number of learners dropping out of school. In South Africa where only 50% of learners who enter the formal school system, reach Grade 12, the problem of unemployment persists and the cycle of poverty is perpetuated. On the other hand, completing education successfully leads to marketable skills and prosperity for the individual as well as for the country as a whole. School readiness is described in literature as a multi-dimensional concept including cognitive skills as well as social and emotional skills and it is generally accepted that children need to be school ready in all these domains of development in order to integrate successfully into the school system. The role of parents as key role players in children’s immediate ecosystem, was identified as of critical significance in the development of school readiness. Focus group discussions with role players in the two target communities revealed serious socio-economic challenges affecting the quality of parenting and the lives of the children living in these communities. It was also found that that there are significant deficits in parenting behaviours impacting negatively on the development of school readiness. In order to develop a parenting skills programme to enhance the school readiness of Grade R learners, the six steps of intervention research were applied. The research was qualitative in nature and a philosophical paradigm of social constructivism was followed. Three main components of parenting were identified and addressed through twelve topics. The prototype was developed around these topics and each session included a variety of activities addressing all the aspects of school readiness. An important aspect of the intervention programme was that the Grade R learners participated together with their parents in the activities. The programme was implemented in three schools. Minor changes were made to the prototype and the programme was repeated in one target school the following year. Thirteen interviews with participating parents indicated that the programme had been successful in reaching its aim and objectives. The parents indicated that they had improved in three important areas of parenting impacting on school readiness, namely parent-child relationship, interaction between parent and children and creating a home learning environment. The research was successful in proving that a parenting skills programme can develop and improve parenting behaviours that lay the foundation for the development of school readiness.
- Humanities