Quality and best practices in early childhood programs: perceptions of parents and teachers in the Ga-east municipality of Accra, Ghana
Definitions of quality in early childhood education (ECE) has predominantly adopted a developmental perspective, where quality care is that which promotes optimal child outcomes in all domains of development. This study investigates Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), an approach designed to promote young children's optimal learning and development in four (4) early childhood centers in Accra, Ghana. A sample of parents and teachers (154 respondents comprising (100) parents (males - 44%; females - 56%), fifty (50) teachers (males - 20%; females - 80%) analyzed indicated that both parents and teachers had only fair knowledge on quality and DAP recommendations in early childhood settings, and this knowledge was associated with high income, higher education and fewer children in the family for parents but not teachers. Parents cited trained staff as a more essential quality indicator than teachers did. There was no statistically significant difference between the level of knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices between parents and teachers and between trained and untrained teachers. Recommendations offered include monitoring by the Ministry of Education to ensure professional training of teachers in childcare settings and also in dissemination of research-based findings to practitioners/professionals in the childcare settings to update their knowledge and skills.
Keywords: Early Childhood Education, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Quality.