The objectives were: (1) To survey the physical facilities, staff pattern, facilities for children’s development and learning, the planning and organization of the programme, the curriculum, health care facilities and parental co-operation. (2) To study the profile of the nursery teachers working in the selected nursery schools. (3) To find out the reactions of nursery teachers sampled in the study about the objective, planning and organization, medium of instruction, curriculum, method of evaluation, health care facilities and parental involvement.
The sample consisted of 784 heads of Nursery schools and 764 teachers from 1000 Nursery schools managed by Government and private agencies. Tools used were: Questionnaire for head of the Nursery schools for obtaining factual information regarding Nursery Education programmes in the state, and Questionnaire for the Nursery teachers for obtaining their reactions of present practices in their respective Nursery schools where they work. Survey method was adopted for the study. The data were analyzed by computing percentage.
The findings were: (1) The Nursery Schools are evenly distributed in rural, semi urban and urban areas. (2) They are run by different departments of government, private agencies, voluntary agencies etc. (3) More than 80 percent of the Nursery School are reorganized but not fully aided. (4) Purely residential Nursery School is absent in the state. (5) About 50 percent of the Nursery Schools are conducted in temporary buildings situated in insufficient land area. The room facilities for conducting classes are inadequate. More than 60 percent Nursery Schools have only one room for class, play, sleep, feeding etc. (6) More than 80 percent of Nursery Schools do not possess playground or garden. (7) The arrangement of electricity, water supply and facilities are inadequate. (8) The furniture for the use of children is insufficient. (9) Facilities for providing indoor activities, outdoor activities, equipment for drawing and handicrafts and teacher made materials as listed in Government order are inadequate in the Nursery Schools studied. (9) Major records kept in the Nursery School are attendance registers for the teaching and non-teaching staff and for the pupils. (10) Majority of the schools keep an admission register also. Other records such as cashbook, acquaintance roll etc. as listed in the Government order is not maintained by many of the Nursery School. (11) The age of Nursery School children vary from +2 to +5 years. (12) The teacher - student ratio is 1:20. (13) About 60 percent of Nursery teachers are designated as Anganwadi workers and 40 percent as Nursery Teachers. (14) About 80 percent of Nursery School Teachers have passed SSLC. (15) Majority have undergone (90 percent) some kind of Nursery teacher training for a period varying from 15 days to one year. (16) The teacher training institutions include Government institutions, quasi Government institutions, private institutions recognized by Government and private institution not recognized by Government. (17) Untrained personnels are also working as Nursery School Teachers. (18) Most of the Nursery School Teachers are properly paid. The monthly emoluments range from less than Rs. 200 to Rs. 600 for more than 90 percent of Nursery School Teachers. (19) Majority of the supporting staff are designated either as Ayahs or helpers. The remaining are designated as clerks, peons etc. (20) Qualifications of the supporting staff vary from lower primary education to Pre-degree. (21) Planning and implementation of Nursery School Programme is vested upon the managing agency that manage the school. (21) 40 percent of the Nursery Schools are planning activities for the whole year but 21 percent plan activities for a period of one week to three months. (22) Only 69 percent of teachers have the freedom to change the preplanned programme. (23) Most of the Nursery Schools managed by private agencies raise financial resources by collecting fees from children. Details about the amount spent on different items during the previous academic year are not furnished by majority of schools. (24) 90 percent of Nursery Schools use Malayalam as the medium of instruction. (25) Experience in Arithmetic, Social Science, General Knowledge, Moral Science, Songs, Dance etc. is included in most of the schools. In 31 percent of Nursery Schools, English is taught besides mother tongue. In schools offering syllabus of CBSE, the teaching of Hindi begins from nursery class onwards. (26) 76 percent of Nursery School allows children to play, as they like. Organized play is provided in 20 percent of Nursery Schools. 60 percent Nursery Schools provide pre-educational activities. 18 percent of Nursery Schools follow educational activities. (27) Evaluation procedures recommended by child educationists are not followed in majority of Nursery Schools. 25 percent of Nursery Schools evaluate performance by written tests. No attempt is made for measuring General Mental Ability, Reading Readiness, Adjustment, Sociability, Language Ability, etc. with the help of standardized tool. More than one technique is adopted for checking the undesirable behavior of children. (28) 50 percent Nursery Schools discuss and solve the problem with the help of parents. 44 percent Nursery Schools provide positive reinforcement for desirable behavior. Punishment, such as, segregation, scolding and the like is rarely used. (29) Health care is satisfactorily given to Nursery children and more than one faculty is available in most of the schools. (30) Most of the teachers agree that Nursery Education should foster social awareness in children. If the home environment is satisfactory there is no need to send the child to Nursery school. (31) In Nursery Schools, attention may be given only in health and nutrition care of the children. Main attention should be given to the intellectual development of children. Medium of instruction should be mother tongue. (32) No separate classes for boys and girls are necessary. Children should be grouped according to the chronological age. No boarding facilities should be provided. (33) Nursery children need not wear shoes and socks. All Nursery institutes should be brought under a single department of Government. Nursery Teachers are to be given better emoluments. All Nursery School should be recognized by Government. (34) Drawing should be given additional importance. It is essential to acquaint the Nursery children with nature. Nursery rhymes and stories are helpful to attract children to Nursery School. Language in Nursery school should be taught through songs, pictures, and stories. (35) Group play should be insisted and Nursery instruction should be through play activities. Separate toys and equipment for indoor and outdoor activities in Nursery School are necessary. (36) Each child should be provided with a health card. There should be provision for first aid. (37) Moderate agreement for the statement that every Nursery School should have a mother’s club. Equal numbers of teachers agreed and disagreed in respect of insisting parents to take part in the activities of Nursery Schools and helping the health education of mothers. (38) Children in Nursery School never may be subjected to any sort of punishment, but expressed moderate agreement that there is nothing wrong in giving mild physical punishment. (39) Teachers agreed for arrangements for evaluation of achievement of children in Nursery School. Regarding the techniques they do not agree with oral/written test or observation. (40) Teachers are responsible to develop in children a feeling of security. Only women teachers can function as good teachers. Teachers do not agree with the university degree, special training, and ability to sing and dance.
Keyword(s): Nursery Education, Kerala