Quality in South African early learning centres mothers’ and teachers’ views and understanding

Access full-text article here


Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    This study investigated how quality in early learning centres (preschools) in South Africa was experienced and perceived by mothers and teachers. A theoretical framework, based on a model of quality development by Woodhead (1996), informed the study. This framework that consists of input (structural), process and outcome quality indicators is a well-established model for quality development, which has been used in developing countries. The findings generated from a thematical analysis of interview data showed that aspects perceived by mothers and teachers as quality indicators in early learning centres were predominantly process indicators and hard to ‘measure’ in a quantitative way. For mothers and teachers, children’s social-emotional well-being, holistic development, a normative foundation for values and respect, effective infrastructure and accountable learning indicated quality. A quality school climate enhances emotional and social well-being, and the findings suggest that for mothers and teachers quality concerns were not about that which the early learning centres have provided in terms of facilities (input indicators), but rather about the process indicators where centres promote children’s holistic well-being. The only outcome indicator that was regarded as extremely important by mothers and important, but not to the same extent, by teachers, is whether children are happy and content and enjoying school.