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Beliefs and related factors associated with parental choice of care and educational facilities for their children prior to pre-primary school

Toussaint, Dorothy Norma (1986) Beliefs and related factors associated with parental choice of care and educational facilities for their children prior to pre-primary school. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis investigates parents i beliefs and related factors associated with the care and educational arrangements made for their 4-year-old children in urban Western Australia where there are a number of choices available and none is more customary than the other. It was thought that events which occurred at the time the research was undertaken would lead to a sharpening of beliefs in this area.

Beliefs and choice were studied within the framework of a model which proposed there were links between parental background features, beliefs and behaviour; and certain child outcomes. Subjects were chosen according to two main criteria: choice of facilities for their child (Playgroup, Kindergarten, Daycare or Home only) and ethnic background (Anglo-Australian or Italian-Australian). Within the model, choice of facility was seen as an expression of the parents behaviour and Ethnicity as a background factor. Other background variables investigated were paternal socioeconomic status and maternal education, parent gender and other familial factors such as the child's personality. mother's role satisfaction and previous care and educational experiences. Parental beliefs examined included specific attitudes about care and educational provision; a child's developmental timetable; and parental modernity. Quality of the home environment was assessed as a measure of parental behaviour in association with the choice of facilities. Children were tested and rated by their teachers on later academic and social development. A number of hypothesised relationships based on previous research findings and observations were made and tested. The research was carried out by means of four discrete studies and different aspects of the model were tested in each study.

Results indicated that, with choice of facility, the main distinction was between the groups more prepared to share their childrearing with an outside agency (Kindergarten and Daycare) and those who were not (Playgroup and Home). Differences were more apparent in terms of child and parent characteristics and behaviour than beliefs. Ethnicity influenced both maternal beliefs and behaviour. Gender effects were to some extent dependent on ethnicity. Maternal educational level was a more salient influence on maternal beliefs and behaviour than socioeconomic status. Certain child outcome measures were related to level of home stimulation and parental beliefs above and beyond their association with parental education and socioeconomic status. In addition, a number of other interesting relationships and issues emerged, indicating important directions for future research in this area.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Peterson, Candi
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