Issuu on Google+

Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Survey (KAP Survey) on Early Childhood Education and Development in Selected Municipalities/Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina FINAL REPORT

February 2014, Sarajevo

Authors: Salminka Fazlić, researcher Nikola Marić, assistant researcher

► RESPONDENT ANONYMITY ASSURANCE Under ESOMAR and AAPOR rules and regulations, Prism Research is obliged to protect the anonymity of respondents. All questions/variables containing any information about the identity of respondents have been removed from the report and the final database. This means that respondents’ answers are physically separate from the data relating to their identity. Any purposeful attempt to come by the identifying data of respondents, whether by the Client, Prism Research, or any third party, shall be considered to constitute a serious violation and shall be treated accordingly.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 2.

SURVEY RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES ............................................................................................ 7

3.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................... 8

4.

DESCRIPTION OF SURVEY LOCATIONS: GEOGRAPHICAL CONTEXT ......................................... 9

5.

SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC DATA ABOUT RESPONDENTS .................................................................. 11

6.

DATA ANALYSIS .................................................................................................................................... 12 6.1. AWARENESS AND ATTITUDES ABOUT PRESCHOOL EDUCATION FACILITIES AND PROGRAMMES ............................................................................................................................................ 13 6.2.

PRACTICE AND BARRIERS TO PRESCHOOL EDUCATION .................................................... 16

6.3.

SATISFACTION WITH PRESCHOOLS .......................................................................................... 21

6.4.

ATTITUDES ABOUT PRESCHOOLS ............................................................................................. 24

6.5.

COST OF PRESCHOOL PROGRAMMES ....................................................................................... 32

When it comes to enrolling children in preschool, one of the most important factors, if not the single most important factor in the country is the price of preschool services. More than half of respondents (59 per cent) say that in their community preschools operate on a pay-for basis (i.e. are funded by preschool tuition fees paid by parents), 20 per cent say that they do not operate on a pay-for basis, while 21 per cent of parents are not sure. Furthermore, respondents in control municipalities more frequently than those in project municipalities say that the attendance of preschool is on a pay-for basis. Also, Roma parents more often than parents from the general population say that they do not know whether preschools operate on a pay-for basis or not. ........................................................................................................................................ 32 The attitudes and experiences regarding payment of tuition fees for preparatory preschool programmes are significantly different from those expressed about preschool institutions: 57 per cent of respondents say that the attendance of these programmes is not paid, 13 per cent say that it is paid, while as many as 30 per cent of the respondents do not know whether the attendance of these programmes is paid or not. When it comes to knowledge and attitudes about payment for these programmes, differences have been observed between project municipalities and control municipalities, as well as among parents of preschool-aged children from the general population and Roma parents. Specifically, respondents in control municipalities more often than those in project municipalities believe that the preparatory preschool programme in their community is on a pay-for basis. Furthermore, Roma parents are more likely than parents of preschool-aged children from the general population to say that they do not know whether the attendance of the preparatory preschool programme is paid or not. ............................................................................................................................... 33 Respondents whose children are enrolled in preschool or the preparatory preschool programme were asked to indicate the annual amount of money they spend on these programmes. On the other hand, respondents whose children do not attend the said programmes were asked to estimate the costs of these programmes. As regards preschools, parents who are users of their services estimated their annual costs to be on average KM 1,332. Parents who do not use their services estimate that their annual cost is KM 1,207. With regard to the

preparatory preschool programme, parents who are beneficiaries estimate its costs at KM 647 per year, while those whose children do not attend the programme believe that its annual cost is KM 775. Overall, the difference between the actual and estimated values is not large, or, in other words, parents are relatively well informed about the cost of preschool and the preschool preparatory programme, regardless of whether their child attends preschool/programme or not. Also, no statistically significant differences in the average amounts cited have been found between the categories of municipalities and categories of parents with regard to parents whose children actually attend these facilities/programmes. On the other hand, when it comes to the estimates of parents whose children are not enrolled in preschool/preparatory preschool programme, it has been found that respondents in control municipalities are more likely to overestimate the costs than those in project municipalities, which is consistent with previous findings where these respondents more frequently claimed that the services of these facilities are paid. As regards preschools, parents from the general population tend to estimate their costs higher than their Roma counterparts, while parents of children with developmental disabilities estimate the costs of the preparatory preschool programme higher than those from the general population. When it comes to the preparatory preschool programme, the estimates of parents who are beneficiaries of these programmes do not differ regardless of whether they are from project municipalities or control municipalities, nor do they differ between different categories of parents. However, similar to preschools, the estimated values differ. Respondents in control municipalities estimate the amounts required for attendance of the preparatory preschool programme higher than those living in focus municipalities. Also, parents of children with developmental disabilities are more likely to cite higher amounts than parents of preschool-aged children from the general population. ............ 33 6.6.

ATTITUDES AND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CHILD DEVELOPMENT ........................................ 35

6.7. DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES – IDENTIFICATION, SUPPORT AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESCHOOL EDUCATION ................................................................................................................ 39 6.8.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESCHOOL EDUCATION FOR ROMA CHILDREN ......................... 43

6.9.

PROPER NUTRITION AND IMMUNISATION .............................................................................. 45

7.

CONCLUSIONS ........................................................................................................................................ 48

8.

RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................................................................ 49

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice (KAP) Survey on Early Childhood Education and Development in Selected Municipalities in BiH was conducted for the purposes of the project Increasing Early Learning Opportunities for Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The findings of this survey will be used in the development of the Communication Strategy for Development. The findings will serve as a basis for identifying key messages, communication channels, and adapting communication activities to target groups. Also, they will support the planning of activities to be carried out by UNICEF in collaboration with the government, as part of the Dubai Cares project. The project Increasing Early Learning Opportunities for Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina is conducted in partnership between UNICEF, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, the Federal Ministry of Education and Science of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republika Srpska, with the support of the Dubai Cares Foundation. In addition to improving preschool attendance rates, the Project aims at raising public awareness about the importance of early childhood education for children’s development, especially for socially excluded groups (Roma children and children with developmental disabilities). The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,635 households with preschool-aged children in 45 project municipalities and 10 control municipalities which will serve as a control group. Approximately 8 per cent of the sample households are parents of Roma ethnicity, and about 7 per cent are parents of children with developmental disabilities. Parents of preschool-aged children who participated in the survey are mostly individuals between 18 and 40 years, who have completed secondary school and are unemployed, with an average monthly income of KM 800. About three-quarters of those interviewed are aware of the existence of the preparatory preschool programme, both among the general population and the population of parents whose children do not attend the preparatory preschool programme. Parents in control municipalities and Roma parents are less likely to be aware of the existence of the preparatory preschool programme. The vast majority of parents see this programme more as a preparation for primary school than as an opportunity for socialisation, play and cognitive development. Only 18 per cent of households participating in the survey have children that are enrolled in preschool, with the percentage being slightly lower in control municipalities as well as among Roma parents. The main reasons cited for not enrolling children in preschool programmes include the perception that children are better off being looked after by a relative who is known to them than by an unknown teacher, the great distance of households from preschool, and a general view that children are too young.

Roma parents repeatedly cite financial obstacles, while parents of children with developmental disabilities tend to cite health problems. Approximately 15 per cent of all parents do not want to enrol their children in either preschools or the preschool preparatory programme. Three-quarters of the parents interviewed in this survey whose children attend preschool are completely satisfied with the services provided by these facilities as well as the fact that children go through the process of socialisation because they are looked after and provided with learning opportunities. Most parents understand that the care they provide to their children is the most important, followed by the care given by their parents (grandmother or grandfather) and preschools. Staff working in preschools are perceived as competent, creative and helpful, but also as not having enough time to devote to each child individually. Roma parents often state that they do not know the competences of preschool personnel. In general, parents whose children attend preschools tend to have a more positive attitude towards preschool staff. Percentage of parents who are familiar with developmental indicators in children varies between 40 and 75 per cent, and there is a statistically significant difference between male and female parents, with mothers being better informed about child developmental milestones. Among the more than 100 children with developmental disabilities whose parents participated in this survey, the disabilities are most commonly associated with speech problems, Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, visual impairment, psychomotor problems and hearing impairment. Approximately 30 per cent of parents believe that children with developmental disabilities should not attend regular preschools. Roma parents are more likely to think that children with developmental disabilities should attend preschool together with children from the general population. About 35 per cent of the sample of children with developmental disabilities attend preschool. About 16 per cent of respondents believe that Roma children should not attend regular preschools with children from the general population. Parents of children with developmental disabilities are more likely to find this segregation justified. Most parents can provide their children with quality food, including fresh fruits and vegetables. About 93 per cent of children were vaccinated in accordance with the Immunisation Calendar. Parents of children that are not routinely vaccinated cite the child’s health condition and fear of side effects as the main reasons. Roma parents and parents of children with developmental disabilities are more likely to report that their children are not routinely vaccinated than their general population counterparts. The key recommendations arising from this survey call for an improved flow of information between preschools, policymakers and citizens with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of childhood and early education programmes. Furthermore, it is necessary to provide funds for the implementation of high-quality preschool programmes for ALL children and eliminate

discriminatory attitudes (stereotypes and prejudice) and behaviours towards children with developmental disabilities and Roma children. 2. SURVEY RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES While early childhood development has for a long time been recognised as important for the future functioning and health of the child, it is in recent years that scientists have begun to increasingly emphasise its significance. Environment that provides all the necessary and stimulating conditions for socialisation, education, health care, adequate nutrition and care is considered essential for a healthy and successful mental, physical, social and emotional development of the child in the future. Based on the current statistics, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has the lowest preschool enrolment rate in Europe and Central Asia, with only 13 per cent of children aged 4–5 years attending preschool. In this context, Roma children and children with developmental disabilities are particularly vulnerable. Due to the limited availability of educational services resulting from prejudice as well as the limited awareness among parents about the importance of early learning and education, only 1.5 per cent of Roma children in the country attend preschool education. Also, children with developmental disabilities are isolated and marginalised in the current system when it comes to early learning and education opportunities, with only 0.4 per cent of these children attending school. Overall, the fact that a huge percentage of children aged 4–5 years in the country – about 85 per cent – do not have access to preschool education poses a major problem requiring urgent action. In an effort to expand the existing cooperation in the field of Early Childhood Education and Development, in January 2013 UNICEF and its partners launched a new project entitled “Increasing Early Learning Opportunities for Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. With the financial support of Dubai Cares (DC), the primary objective of the project is to increase access to organised early learning programmes and improve physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development of children aged 4–6 years in selected municipalities in the country, with special emphasis on vulnerable groups, such as Roma children and children with developmental disabilities. The project is envisaged to last two years. Three separate studies are to be conducted within the project: 1) baseline study, the purpose of which is to take stock of the current situation in communities with respect to preschool education; 2) KAP survey, i.e. knowledge, attitudes and practices survey of parents of preschool-aged children about preschool education; 3) repeated KAP survey with a view to determining indicators of change. The findings of this KAP survey will be used for the development of a Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) Campaign and programme interventions.

3. SURVEY METHODOLOGY In order to examine the attitudes, opinions and experiences of parents of preschool-aged children, a quantitative research method was used. The survey employed a combination of CATI and CAPI quantitative research methods. Figure 1 shows the general information about the survey. Figure 1. General information about the survey Period conducted

November 2013 – January 2014

Data collection method

Field research was conducted using a combination of CAPI and CATI methods

Instruments

The instruments used in this survey were developed by UNICEF

Survey sample

Representativeness

Parents of preschool-aged children: Total: N = 1,635 participants Parents of preschool-aged children, general population: N = 1,393 (85.2 per cent) Parents of preschool-aged Roma children: N = 135 (8.3 per cent) Parents of children with developmental disabilities: N= 107 (6.5 per cent) The sample is representative at the level of project municipalities. Participants were parents of preschool-aged children, selected using the snowball method.

Computer-assisted personal interviewing – CAPI. Computer-assisted personal interviewing or CAPI is one of the most advanced interviewing techniques. This method involves a procedure in which the questionnaire is developed and uploaded to a PDA device. The questions appear on the screen in a pre-designed and programmed order and according to a logical sequence, and the interviewer records the respondent’s answers directly into the device. A special software programme is used to control the course of the interview as well as the selection of the sample. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing – CATI. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing or CATI is the most advanced telephone surveying technique. It involves computer-assisted interviewing, where the computers used for interviewing are connected together in a local network. A special software programme is used to control the course of the interview as well as the selection of the sample. The interviewer records the respondent’s answers directly into the computer. Results. The results of this preliminary survey are shown in total, for the whole sample. In addition, differences were found between project municipalities and control municipalities, as well as between the parents from the general population, Roma parents, and parents of children with developmental disabilities. The narrative section of the report discusses only the differences deemed to be statistically significant. The graphs and tables show either percentages or arithmetic mean values, with each figure indicating which of the two is the case.

Interviewers, coordinators and controllers. The survey was conducted by a team comprising 42 field interviewers, 10 telephone interviewers, and 13 regional coordinators. The interviewers and coordinators were selected based on prior experience, age, gender and regional origin. Only the interviewers with experience in at least 10 surveys of similar scope, or with at least one year experience working in similar projects were selected to participate in this survey. All interviewers received presurvey training that covered the sampling procedures, survey methodology to be used, question-byquestion analyses and role play exercises. Control of interviewers. Fieldwork was supervised in several ways. The coordinators visited field interviewers conducting the survey on the ground. Additionally, a back-check telephone control of the questionnaire was carried out using a 10 per cent randomly selected sample of each interviewer’s questionnaires, based on the phone numbers that were provided by respondents who took part in the survey. Data processing, report and delivery. Complete processing of the collected data was performed in Sarajevo. Data analysis was performed using PASW Statistics 18.0 – professional software package for statistical analysis. PASW was used for data cleaning and logical control as well as the crosstabulation of results.

4. DESCRIPTION OF SURVEY LOCATIONS: GEOGRAPHICAL CONTEXT The survey covered 45 project municipalities across the country and 10 control municipalities. In project municipalities 62.6 per cent of participants were interviewed, and somewhat more than a third of participants (37.4 per cent) were interviewed in control municipalities. The table below (Figure 2) shows a list of project municipalities and control municipalities in which the survey was conducted.

Figure 2. Project and control municipalities, number of participants (column N) and percentage of participants (column per cent) Project municipalities N 117 Banjaluka 45 Bihać 37 Bijeljina 84 Brčko 12 Čapljina 55 Cazin 11 Čitluk 17 Gračanica 9 Gradiška 5 Hadžići 30 Ilidža 7 Ilijaš 18 Kakanj 13 Konjic 35 Livno 12 Maglaj 60 Mostar 33 Prijedor 19 Prnjavor 24 Sarajevo, Centar 62 Sarajevo, Novi grad 21 Sarajevo, Novo Sarajevo 9 Sarajevo, Stari grad 28 Tomislavgrad 15 Trebinje 62 Tuzla 30 Visoko 58 Vitez 16 Vogošća 26 Zavidovići 37 Živinice 16 Zvornik Control municipalities 13 Gacko 50 Derventa 80 Srebrenik 138 Velika Kladuša 56 Travnik 16 Bileća 125 Doboj 59 Široki Brijeg 41 Goražde 34 Bugojno

per cent 7.2 2.8 2.3 5.1 .7 3.4 .7 1.0 .6 .3 1.8 .4 1.1 .8 2.1 .7 3.7 2.0 1.2 1.5 3.8 1.3 .6 1.7 .9 3.8 1.8 3.5 1.0 1.6 2.3 1.0 .8 3.1 4.9 8.4 3.4 1.0 7.6 3.6 2.5 2.1

5. SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC DATA ABOUT RESPONDENTS Parents of preschool-aged children who participated in the survey are mostly persons between 18 and 40 years old with secondary-school qualifications. In these families, the majority of mothers are unemployed, while fathers are primary breadwinners, usually earning a total income of up to KM 800. In this survey 73 per cent of respondents are females and 27 per cent are males. The survey mostly covered mothers of preschool-aged children (64 per cent), followed by fathers (23 per cent), while others – usually grandparents – responded to other questionnaires. These families have on average one child of preschool age. Figure 3. Age of respondents, percentage distribution 18-30 years old 41-50 years old over 60 2.8 8.8

31-40 years old 51-60 years old

6.7 36.1

45.6

About two-thirds of households with preschool-aged children (63 per cent) have an income of KM 800 or less. Figure 4. Monthly household income, percentage distribution up to KM 300 KM 801-1,600 over KM 3001

KM 301-800 KM 1,601-3,000 No answer 0.5 3.5 5.9

21.0

27.3

41.8

In terms of educational level, the majority of parents of preschool-aged children surveyed have secondary-school education. Most fathers are employed on a full time basis, while fewer than one-third are unemployed. By contrast, the majority of mothers of preschool-aged children are unemployed. Somewhat more than a quarter of mothers are employed full time. Figure 5. Educational level of parents of preschool-aged children, percentage distribution

Figure 6. Respondents’ employment status, percentage distribution

Slightly more than a half of families with preschool-aged children who participated in this survey live in rural communities (51 per cent) and the rest live in urban areas (49 per cent). As previously mentioned, the majority of respondents (87 per cent) were parents of preschool-aged children. However, due to the fact that 13 per cent of respondents were grandparents and other persons, it is important to note that the views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of parents of preschool-aged children. 6. DATA ANALYSIS The survey also included the examination of various factors that are potentially important for parents when they are making up their mind whether to enrol their child in preschool/preparatory preschool programme. Some of the factors analysed in this survey, which are important in the said context, include awareness, attitudes and perceptions of preschools, the cost of preschool education, the attitudes and knowledge of child development and its patterns, as well as factors that contribute to a healthy and optimal development of the child.

6.1. AWARENESS AND ATTITUDES ABOUT PRESCHOOL EDUCATION FACILITIES AND PROGRAMMES For the purposes of the survey it was important to determine how much parents of preschool-aged children know about preschool education. Parents’ awareness of the opportunities, services and conditions offered by early childhood education is one of the factors affecting their decision about the enrolment of their child in preschool and/or the preparatory preschool programme. This awareness may include information on what a preschool preparatory programme actually is, what are its benefits, and where early childhood education services are provided in their community. Overall, the findings of this survey reveal that the majority of parents of preschool-aged children (76 per cent) report having heard about the preparatory preschool programme for children in the year before starting primary school. Furthermore, analysis of the awareness of only those parents whose children do not attend the programme shows that 73 per cent of them have heard about it. These programmes are significantly more likely to be known to respondents in project municipalities than those in control municipalities. Also, Roma parents are found to be less aware of these programmes than parents of preschool-aged children from general population. Hence, it seems that parents of preschool-aged children in control municipalities as well as Roma parents of preschool-aged children could benefit from information on the availability of preparatory preschool programmes, so as to be able to make informed decisions about enrolling their children in these programmes.

Figure 7. Have you heard about the preparatory preschool programme in the year before starting primary school? Percentage distribution 100.0 80.0

76.3

81.0

78.2

72.9

68.3 59.3

60.0 40.7 31.7

40.0 23.7

27.1

21.8

19.0

20.0 .0 All Project Control respondents municipalitiesmunicipalities

Total

Parents, general population

Municipality

Roma parents

Parents of children with dev. disabilities

Category Yes

No

The majority of parents of preschool-aged children who are familiar with the term preparatory preschool programme define the purpose of the programme as simply preparing children for school. However, a lot of parents perceive the preparatory preschool programme as an opportunity for the socialisation of children, learning through play, as well as offering activities like those in kindergartens and playgroups. However, the role of preparatory preschool programmes is actually a multi-faceted one as they encourage cognitive development of children through educational activities, while also contributing to the socio-emotional development through socialisation and the development of contacts and interaction with peers and teachers, as well as the development of children’s play and psychomotor and gross motor development through fun activities. New and better understanding of the multiple benefits of preschool activities could motivate some parents to include their children in the aforementioned preschool activities and give them the opportunity for better early childhood development.

In defining preparatory preschool programmes, parents have actually defined what they see as the greatest value of preschool education facilities and programmes. For most parents of preschool-aged children the greatest value of preschool education is contained in the opportunities for socialisation (49 per cent) and in preparation for school (39 per cent). The importance of acquiring knowledge necessary for later formal schooling is cited significantly more often by Roma parents (53 per cent) than by parents of preschool-aged children from general population (37 per cent). Figure 8. Preparatory preschool programme, definition by parents of preschool-aged children. Percentage distribution Preparation for school

44.4

Socialisation and adaptation of preschool-aged children to school

16.7

Activities like those in kindergartens or playgroups

15.3

Learning basic things through play

14.4

Don’t know the details

3.7

Mandatory preparation for school

2.2

Positive activities for children and parents

1.7

Burden for children and parents

1.6 .0

20.0

40.0

60.0

80.0

100.0

The majority of parents of preschool-aged children are aware of the availability of preparatory preschool programmes for children in the year before starting primary school. However, many parents do not realise the overall and multiple benefits of these programmes for early childhood development, which include positive effects not only on the cognitive or social, but also the emotional and psychomotor development of the child.

6.2. PRACTICE AND BARRIERS TO PRESCHOOL EDUCATION As mentioned in the introductory section of this report, the percentage of preschool-aged children who actually attend preschool in BiH remains low. One of the aims of this survey was to look at the factors that decrease the likelihood that the child will be given the opportunity to participate in preschool activities, i.e. to examine the barriers to preschool education of children in the country. The findings of this survey confirm the low preschool attendance rate as identified in the official statistics. According to the survey findings, 82 per cent of preschool-aged children do not attend preschool. Only 18 per cent of children are enrolled in kindergartens and nursery schools, and 19 per cent of children attend preparatory preschool programmes. Preschool education of children seems to be less common in control municipalities than in project municipalities, as well as for Roma children than for other children. Preschool-aged children living in control municipalities are less likely to be enrolled in preschools or preschool preparatory programmes than children whose families live in project municipalities. Also, Roma children are less likely to be enrolled in preschool than their coevals from the general population, but also compared to children with developmental disabilities. In terms of preparatory preschool programmes, there are no statistically significant differences between Roma children and their counterparts from the other two groups. Figure 9. Attendance rate for preschool and for preparatory preschool programme. Percentage distribution Municipality

Total

All Project Control respondents municipalities municipalities

Category Parents, general population

Roma parents

Parents of children with developmental disabilities

Preschool

17.6

21.2

11.6

17.8

7.4

28.0

Preparatory preschool programme

18.5

23.3

10.5

17.9

23.0

19.6

The reasons cited for non-enrolment are varied. The most oft-cited reasons include that children are better-off being looked after by a person close to them than by unfamiliar preschool staff, that preschools are too far away from where the families live (which is a greater problem in control municipalities than in project municipalities), and that children are too young to be left to the care of such facilities. All these are almost equally important reasons for non-enrolment as the fact that the child is cared for by the people close to him/her. Financial difficulties are more often cited by Roma families as an obstacle to enrolling their children in preschools, while health reasons are more likely to pose barriers to parents of children with developmental disabilities than those of healthy children. Figure 10. Why is your child not enrolled in preschool? Percentage distribution

There is no need, the child is looked after by unemployed parent or other relatives

22.4

Distance

19.2

It’s too early, the child is still very young

18.9

Financial problems

14.9

Don’t know/No answer

14.1

Intend to enrol the child/the child already attends preparatory preschool programme

4.7

Other

2.7

Health problems

1.5

The child is not interested or doesn’t want to go

1.0

Parents are not informed about opportunities

.7 .0

20.0

40.0

60.0

80.0

100.0

Somewhat more than a quarter of parents (27 per cent) of preschool-aged children who are not currently attending preschool intend to enrol their children in preschool education facilities. Their main motives include socialisation of children (31 per cent) and preparation for school (26 per cent), but also the attitude that a child in preschool will acquire work habits and will handle separation from parents more easily as a result of greater independence (19 per cent). Still, the majority of parents do not intend to enrol their children in preschool (43 per cent), while almost one in three parents (30 per cent) have not yet decided whether to enrol their child. Parents from control municipalities are significantly more likely than those in project municipalities to report that they intend to enrol their children in preschool. Also, more Roma parents and parents of children with developmental disabilities than their counterparts from the general population say that they do not intend to enrol their children in preschool. When asked about the reasons, they mostly cite lack of finance, long distance, as well as the availability of other persons to care for the child (e.g. grandma, grandpa). Given that the majority of families of preschool-aged children have a monthly income of KM 800 or less, it is to be expected that parents have to prioritise their expenditures. In cases where one parent is out of work or where grandparents are available to look after the child, parents are not likely to attach high priority to preschool education of their children and will rather divert money to meeting basic needs.

Figure 11. Do you plan to enrol your preschool-aged children in preschool? Percentage distribution

Parents of preschool-aged children are much more willing to enrol their children in the preparatory preschool programme than in preschool. In fact, nearly two-thirds of parents whose preschool-aged children do not attend the preparatory preschool programme report that they intend to enrol their children in the programme (65 per cent). Acquirement of knowledge needed for school (44 per cent) and socialisation and adaptation (22 per cent) are the main motives cited by parents for enrolling their children in the preparatory preschool programme. Other reasons include the fact that it is a legal requirement (14 per cent), and cultivation of work habits and development of self-reliance in the child (12 per cent). Given that it was previously determined that the acquirement of knowledge needed for school, socialisation and cultivation of work habits were not sufficiently motivating factors for the enrolment of children and that most children did not attend preschools, it can be reasonably argued that the mandatory nature of the preparatory preschool programme is an important incentive for parents to enrol children in these programmes more often than preschool facilities such as kindergartens. Despite the preparatory preschool programme being mandatory, many parents report that their children will not attend that programme (15 per cent), and many are still considering this option (20 per cent). Respondents from control municipalities are significantly more likely than their counterparts from project municipalities to report that they do not intend to enrol their children in the preparatory preschool programme. Roma parents and parents of children with developmental disabilities are also significantly more likely to state that they do not intend to enrol their children in this programme, compared to parents of preschool-aged children from the general population. The reasons why some parents do not feel the need to enrol their children in these programmes vary, mainly coming down to the long distance of preschools (25 per cent), as well as the attitude that there is no need for any preparatory preschool education (often because the child is already attending kindergarten), as reported by 14 per cent of parents. Many parents cite financial difficulties as the main factor preventing them from making it possible for their children to attend this type of preschool education (20 per cent), Roma parents more often so than their other counterparts. Furthermore, children’s health problems and the fact that these programmes are not adapted to children’s developmental levels are the biggest obstacle for children with developmental disabilities as potential users of preparatory preschool programmes. Figure 12. Do you plan to enrol your children in the preparatory preschool programme in the year before starting primary school [if they are not already enrolled]? – Percentage distribution

Location of the preschool (i.e. its distance from the family’s home) and the availability of transport certainly affect parents’ decision as to whether their child will attend preschool. In this regard, the survey findings reveal that about three out of four parents (77 per cent) whose children do not attend the preparatory preschool programme know where their child can attend this programme in the year before starting primary school. Respondents from project municipalities, as compared to their counterparts in control municipalities, are more likely to report knowing where it is possible to attend this programme. Conversely, parents of children with developmental disabilities, as compared to their general population counterparts, are significantly more likely to report not knowing where their children can attend these programmes, by that probably referring to the preparatory preschool programmes tailored to the needs of their children, believing that their children cannot go to kindergarten with other children. Figure 13. Do you know where your child can attend the preparatory preschool programme in the year before starting primary school in your community? – Percentage distribution

It seems that in many cases preschool is quite distant from the dwelling place of families with preschool-aged children. According to parents’ estimates, preschools are on average three kilometres away from their home. More than half of all respondents (56 per cent) estimate that the child accompanied by a parent could walk to preschool. However, according to parents, children in control municipalities are less likely to be able to walk to preschool than their counterparts in project municipalities. As noted above, distance and lack of transportation pose a real obstacle for some families to ensure preschool education opportunities for their children. Thus, walking to preschool is a less feasible option for children with developmental disabilities than other children.

Figure 14. Can the child walk to the preschool (accompanied by a parent)? – Percentage distribution

The findings of this survey confirm the low preschool attendance rate as identified in the official statistics. However, slightly more than a quarter of parents intend to enrol their children in preschool. The main barrier to preschool education of children in BiH is the availability of alternative modes of care for children which are deemed more desirable in BiH society – for example, care by a family member or a close person – given the high unemployment of people in the country. Distance of preschool from the family’s dwelling place, perception that the child is too young to be separated from family, financial difficulties, and health problems of children are some of the other obstacles cited as important by some families of preschool-aged children.

6.3. SATISFACTION WITH PRESCHOOLS Positive experiences of parents whose children attend preschool are important in promoting the work of these facilities, and thus increasing the number of children enrolled. Satisfied parents-users of preschool services, who understand the purpose and benefits of preschool education for their child, are the best source of references for preschools to use in order to attract new customers. The views of parents whose children attend preschool on the services provided by preschool education facilities are generally positive. Specifically, parents whose children attend preschool usually report being completely or somewhat satisfied (75 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively) with the services provided by these facilities. Many parents support this view saying that the services provided by preschools are generally good (24 per cent), while others cite specific arguments in support of their positive attitudes, such as positive professional and personal characteristics of staff (18 per cent), the perception that their child has advanced and learned a lot as a result of attending preschool (17 per cent), and the fact that children socialise and receive education in these facilities (15 per cent). What seems to be the most important for these parents is that their children are “in good hands� and that they advance, but they also find it important that they can socialise with their peers. Figure 15. How satisfied are you with the services offered in preschools? – Percentage distribution

Overall, the majority of parents (80 per cent) report that they would recommend to other parents to enrol their children in preschool, with parents of children attending preschool (95 per cent) being more likely to do so than those whose children do not attend preschool (77 per cent). The most oft-cited reasons for these positive attitudes include recognising the importance of early socialisation of the child (56 per cent) and a general attitude that attending preschool is good for children (25 per cent). Some of the reasons why they would not recommend enrolment in preschools include the view that it is actually parents themselves who should prepare their children for school (23 per cent), that work with children in preschools is poorly organised (25 per cent), and that preschool services are expensive (14 per cent). Interestingly, all of these reasons are cited by parents whose children do not attend preschool. Respondents in control municipalities, as compared to those in project municipalities, are significantly more likely to state that they would encourage others to enrol their children in preschool. Also, parents of preschool-aged children from the general population are more likely to make this recommendation than their Roma counterparts.

Figure 16: Would you encourage other parents to enrol their children in preschool? – Percentage distribution

According to parents, the key services that preschool children receive in preschools are those related to socialisation (socialising, playing, etc.), which is highlighted as important by 42 per cent of parents, followed by learning and preparing for school (27 per cent). Importance is also attached to the fact that children are safe in these facilities (10 per cent) as well as that they develop work habits and learn to be independent (9 per cent). On the other hand, the most important benefit for parents is the help they receive in child rearing and preparing their children for school (36 per cent), as well as the fact that their children are being looked after so that they have some time for themselves (31 per cent). The views of parents whose children attend and those whose children do not attend preschools on the services provided to children and their parents are similar, with the only exception being that the former (38 per cent) are significantly more likely than the latter (29 per cent) to place emphasis on child care and time off for parents. Although they recognise the benefits of preschool education for both the child and themselves, parents of preschool-aged children still believe that they themselves play the most important role and that they have the best impact on the development of their children. The most important role is played by parents, followed by grandmothers, preschools, grandparents, and lastly babysitters. According to respondents, parents are ranked first because they are naturally the most important, they have the biggest impact, and they know what is best for their children, but also because they are most concerned about their children, and they give them more attention, time and love than anyone else. Parents perceive babysitters as having the least important role, whom they say they do not trust to know how to raise children, and to properly care about them. The importance of the role of parents in child development as well as their motivation to contribute to their child’s development are undisputed. However, it is important to consider their limitations, which they are often not aware of, such as lack of professional knowledge and the inevitable subjectivity, as well as the necessity to expose children to the environment outside their “safe haven” with the aim of encouraging social and emotional maturation, and adaptation in general. Figure 17. Which services do you think children receive in preschools? – Percentage distribution

Play, socialisation

42.2

Learning, preparation for school

27.1

Safety, day care, food, sleep

9.7

Education, acquirement of useful habits

9.4

Don’t know/no answer

7.8 2.0

Everything they need Nothing special

.9

Other

.5

Proper development

.5 .0

20.0

40.0

60.0

80.0

100.0

Figure 18. What services do you think are provided to parents of children attending preschool? – Percentage distribution Help in education and preparation of children for school

35.5

Child care, free time for leisure and/or work

30.7

Don’t know

16.8

Socialisation and adaptation of children

9.3

Nothing special

6.9

Additional costs and obligations

.8 .0

20.0

40.0

60.0

80.0

100.0

Most parents whose children attend preschool are satisfied with the services provided by these facilities because their children are “in safe hands”, advance and socialise with their peers. Most parents encourage enrolment of children in preschools, mainly because of the socialisation effects of these facilities. However, some believe that parents should take upon themselves to prepare their children for school, that the work in preschools is poorly organised, and that their services are too expensive. Despite recognising the importance and benefits of preschools, parents still see themselves as having the most important influence on their child’s development.

6.4. ATTITUDES ABOUT PRESCHOOLS Attitudes about preschool staff as well as those about conditions in preschools surely influence the decision on whether to enrol children in these facilities. Every parent surely wants his or her child to be looked after and cared for by professional, dedicated and caring staff, in clean, safe and wellequipped facilities. However, it is important to note that positive attitudes about preschools are not always a decisive factor when deciding on whether to enrol children in preschool. In many cases, obstacles such as financial difficulties or large distance are certain to outweigh the benefits, while in other cases such obstacles will be irrelevant due to the lack of alternative child care options. Parents’ attitudes towards personnel working in preschools were measured on a scale of attitudes which consists of 10 items, that is measures 10 different aspects of the characteristics of preschool staff. Attitudes were measured on a scale of 1 to 3, where 1 means “does not apply to them at all”, and 3 means “fully applies to them”. Analyses have shown that the reliability of the scale is satisfactory and that all items measure the same construct – satisfaction with preschool staff. Most parents have a clearly formed opinion about staff working in preschools, mostly positive. More than half of the respondents see preschool staff as professional, competent, creative, and helpful. The most frequently cited shortcoming of preschool teachers is that they do not devote enough time to each child individually. However, in most cases this is not the fault of teachers themselves but rather the preschool management who do not employ enough teachers to enable better care for each child. However, it is uncertain whether parents are aware of it, or if it plays any role in their decision-making about enrolling their child in preschool. Figure 19: How professional do you think preschool teachers are? – Percentage distribution

Very competent Have sufficient knowledge about children’s abilities I have confidence in them They know what’s best for children of that age They can be aggressive towards children They respect children’s diversity They don’t devote enough attention to each child individually They are creative in their educational work They enable acquirement of desirable behaviours They are helpful in their interactions with parents

Does not apply to them at all

Partly applies to them

Fully applies to them

Don’t know

3.7 3.2 3.2 4.1 53.3 7.4 31.2 2.7 3.2 2.3

24.6 27.0 24.9 23.9 16.1 27.3 25.6 24.8 25.4 20.3

60.1 57.9 60.1 60.2 13.1 48.0 25.6 57.7 54.8 61.9

11.6 11.9 11.9 11.8 17.4 17.4 17.6 14.8 16.6 15.5

As regards attitudes about preschool staff, statistically significant differences have been found between project municipalities and control municipalities. Firstly, respondents from project municipalities are significantly more likely than their counterparts from control municipalities to report on the negative characteristics of preschool staff1. On the other hand, respondents from control municipalities are significantly more likely to report that this staff is very professional, that they know what is best for children of that age, that they respect children’s diversity, but also that they do not devote enough attention to each child (response “Fully applies to them” for item “They do not devote enough attention to each child”), while they are significantly less likely than their counterparts in project municipalities to state that preschool staff are aggressive towards children (i.e. they are more likely to choose answer “Does not apply to them” for the item that measures aggression). Attitudes about preschool staff also vary among different groups of parents of preschool-aged children. Firstly, Roma parents are significantly more likely than other parents to say they do not know the characteristics of staff working in preschool institutions. This may be accounted for by the fact, as mentioned earlier, that Roma children are less likely to go to preschool compared to other children. Secondly, parents from the general population and parents of children with developmental disabilities are less likely to say the staff is aggressive towards children, and that they do not devote enough attention to each child, as compared to Roma parents. Thirdly, parents of children with developmental disabilities are significantly more likely than other parents to point out that preschool staff know what is best for the children of that age as well as that they respect children’s diversity, probably based on their personal experience.

1

Specifically, respondents in project municipalities are significantly more likely than respondents in control municipalities to use the answer “does not apply to preschool staff at all” for all items, except for the item “They can be aggressive towards children”, which they are more likely to mention as fully applying to members of preschool staff.

Figure 20. How professional do you think preschool teachers are? – Comparison between the categories of municipalities and categories of parents of preschool-aged children, Percentage distribution

Attitudes about preschool staff displayed by parents whose children are enrolled in preschool differ from those of parents whose children do not go to preschool. The parents whose children attend preschool have significantly more positive attitudes about preschool staff than other parents. These parents, as compared to those whose children do not attend preschool, are more confident that preschool staff have sufficient knowledge of children’s abilities and know what is best for children of that age, that they respect the child’s diversity, that they are creative in their work with children, that they help parents in child rearing and education, that they are helpful with parents, and these parents are more likely to have confidence in preschool staff. In contrast, parents whose children attend preschool are less likely than other parents to display the attitude that preschool staff do not devote enough attention to each child. On the other hand, parents whose children do not go to preschool are more likely to choose the answer “partly applies to preschool staff” for all items, as compared to parents who are users of preschool services. Figure 21. How professional do you think preschool teachers are? – Comparison between parents whose children attend preschool and parents whose children do not attend preschool, Percentage distribution Are there in your household children who attend preschool?

Does not apply to them at all Very competent Partly applies to them Fully applies to them Does not apply to them at all Have sufficient knowledge about Partly applies to them children’s abilities Fully applies to them Does not apply to them at all I have confidence in them Partly applies to them Fully applies to them They know what’s best for children Does not apply to them at all Partly applies to them of that age Fully applies to them Does not apply to them at all They can be aggressive towards Partly applies to them children Fully applies to them Does not apply to them at all They respect children’s diversity Partly applies to them Fully applies to them Does not apply to them at all They don’t devote enough Partly applies to them attention to each child individually Fully applies to them Does not apply to them at all They are creative in their Partly applies to them educational work Fully applies to them Does not apply to them at all They enable acquirement of Partly applies to them desirable behaviours Fully applies to them They are helpful in their interactions Does not apply to them at all Partly applies to them with parents Fully applies to them

Yes 5.0 22.6 72.4 5.0 22.9 72.0 5.0 13.6 81.4 5.3 20.6 74.0 72.2 15.8 12.1 9.6 19.6 70.8 48.9 24.3 26.8 4.3 19.4 76.3 4.4 18.9 76.7 3.2 14.7 82.1

N 3.9 29.1 66.9 3.3 32.5 64.2 3.3 31.8 65.0 4.5 28.6 66.9 62.6 20.5 16.9 8.8 36.4 54.8 35.0 32.9 32.1 2.9 31.5 65.6 3.7 33.4 62.9 2.6 26.4 71.0

Attitudes about preschools were measured in a similar way as those about preschool staff, using a scale which consists of 7 items. Respondents were asked to rate each item on a scale of three levels, where

1 means “Does not apply to preschool at all”, and 3 means “Fully applies to preschool”. Analyses have shown that the reliability of the scale is satisfactory and that all items measure the same construct – satisfaction with preschools. In describing preschool facilities, the highest percentage of respondents think that the hygienic conditions in these facilities are satisfactory, that these facilities are well equipped with educational materials that promotes child development, that they allow free movement of children, that they provide a safe place for the care and education of children, that they have safe playgrounds, and that they have clear rules about who can come and pick up the child from preschool. However, many parents are not sure about the condition of the abovementioned aspects of preschools, in particular as regards the quality of food, rules on who can pick up the child, and free movement of children within preschool facilities, some of which may have a decisive role in deciding on whether to enrol the child in preschool. Figure 22: Please rate the current state of preschool facilities based on what you know? – Percentage distribution

Hygiene in preschools is very high Preschools offer quality food to children Preschools are equipped with materials that promote child development Preschools allow free movement of children in the preschool facility Preschools are a safe place for care and education of children Preschools have safe playgrounds for children Preschools have clear rules about who can pick up the child

Does not apply to preschool at all

Partly applies to preschool

Fully applies to preschool

I don’t know

5.9 14.9 6.1 5.3 3.7 6.5 5.3

30.9 30.9 30.6 27.3 22.6 24.0 19.7

49.2 35.3 48.1 50.4 59.0 54.2 56.6

13.9 18.8 15.2 16.9 14.6 15.4 18.3

Statistically significant differences have been found between project municipalities and control municipalities as regards attitudes about preschools. Specifically, respondents in project municipalities much more frequently than those in control municipalities believe that preschools do not offer quality food, are not equipped with special materials that promote child development, do not allow free movement of children, are not a safe place for care and education, do not have a safe playground for children, and do not have clear rules about who can pick up the child. As was the case with the characteristics of preschool staff, Roma parents significantly more often than other parents say that they do not know the characteristics of preschools. Figure 23. Please rate the current state of preschool facilities based on what you know? – Comparison between the categories of municipalities and categories of parents of preschool-aged children, Percentage distribution

Parents whose children are enrolled in preschool have significantly more positive opinion on all the characteristics of preschool facilities than those whose children do not go to preschool. Specifically, parents whose children attend preschool are significantly more likely to say that all items fully apply to preschool facilities, as compared to their counterparts whose children do not go to preschool (see table below). Figure 24. Please rate the current state of preschool facilities based on what you know? – Comparison between the attitudes of parents whose children attend preschool and attitudes of parents whose children do not attend preschool, Percentage distribution Are there in your household children who attend preschool?

Hygiene in preschools is very high

Does not apply to preschool at all Partly applies to preschool Fully applies to preschool

Preschools offer quality food to children

Does not apply to preschool at all Partly applies to preschool Fully applies to preschool

Preschools are equipped with materials that promote child development

Preschools allow free movement of children in the preschool facility

Preschools are a safe place for care and education of children

Preschools have safe playgrounds for children

Does not apply to preschool at all Partly applies to preschol Fully applies to preschool Does not apply to preschool at all Partly applies to preschool Fully applies to preschool Does not apply to preschool at all Partly applies to preschool Fully applies to preschool Does not apply to preschool at all Partly applies to preschool Fully applies to preschool

Preschools have clear rules about who can pick up the child

Does not apply to preschool at all Partly applies to preschool Fully applies to preschool

Yes

No

6.1

7.1

29.0

37.7

64.9

55.2

20.6

17.8

22.4

42.3

57.0

39.9

7.1

7.2

22.9

39.4

70.0

53.3

8.2

5.9

20.7

36.1

71.1

58.0

6.0

3.9

14.2

29.6

79.8

66.4

9.3

7.3

17.4

31.1

73.3

61.7

8.3

6.0

14.1

26.7

77.6

67.2

Parent-teacher conferences are the main mode of interaction between parents and preschool staff, and are considered to be very important for the exchange of information and opinions between teachers and parents, as well as coordination of educational actions by parents and teachers. Parents whose children are enrolled in preschool report that parent-teacher conferences are held in preschools, on average twice a year, although the number of conferences varies greatly from facility to facility – some preschools hold a conference every month, while others do not hold any at all. Approximately twothirds of parents (67 per cent) regularly attend parent-teacher conferences. However, a third of parents (33 per cent) whose children attend preschool report not attending most of these meetings, or even never going to them. The majority of parents (82 per cent) who attended parent-teacher conferences report being very satisfied with the information shared at these meetings, while only 3 per cent express dissatisfaction, and the rest state that they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the level of information shared at parent-teacher conferences. In any case, satisfaction with parent-teacher conferences and satisfaction in general depends on expectations. Thus, the level of parents’ satisfaction identified in the survey does not necessarily mean high quality of parent-teacher conferences. The role of these conferences is very important yet often overlooked in BiH, as they are often reduced to a mere one-way reporting on child’s deportment and grades, where the role of parents is often passive, without real cooperation with the teacher. Figure 25: How often do you attend parent-teacher conferences at preschool? – Percentage distribution

The attitudes of parents of preschool-aged children about preschool staff and conditions in preschool facilities are generally positive. These attitudes are somewhat more negative in project municipalities and among Roma parents.

6.5. COST OF PRESCHOOL PROGRAMMES When it comes to enrolling children in preschool, one of the most important factors, if not the single most important factor in the country is the price of preschool services. More than half of respondents (59 per cent) say that in their community preschools operate on a pay-for basis (i.e. are funded by preschool tuition fees paid by parents), 20 per cent say that they do not operate on a pay-for basis, while 21 per cent of parents are not sure. Furthermore, respondents in control municipalities more frequently than those in project municipalities say that the attendance of preschool is on a pay-for basis. Also, Roma parents more often than parents from the general population say that they do not know whether preschools operate on a pay-for basis or not. Figure 26. Do preschools in your community operate on a pay-for basis? – Percentage distribution

Figure 27. Does preparatory preschool programme in preschools in your community operate on a pay-for basis? – Percentage distribution

The attitudes and experiences regarding payment of tuition fees for preparatory preschool programmes are significantly different from those expressed about preschool institutions: 57 per cent of respondents say that the attendance of these programmes is not paid, 13 per cent say that it is paid, while as many as 30 per cent of the respondents do not know whether the attendance of these programmes is paid or not. When it comes to knowledge and attitudes about payment for these programmes, differences have been observed between project municipalities and control municipalities, as well as among parents of preschool-aged children from the general population and Roma parents. Specifically, respondents in control municipalities more often than those in project municipalities believe that the preparatory preschool programme in their community is on a pay-for basis. Furthermore, Roma parents are more likely than parents of preschool-aged children from the general population to say that they do not know whether the attendance of the preparatory preschool programme is paid or not. Respondents whose children are enrolled in preschool or the preparatory preschool programme were asked to indicate the annual amount of money they spend on these programmes. On the other hand, respondents whose children do not attend the said programmes were asked to estimate the costs of these programmes. As regards preschools, parents who are users of their services estimated their annual costs to be on average KM 1,332. Parents who do not use their services estimate that their annual cost is KM 1,207. With regard to the preparatory preschool programme, parents who are beneficiaries estimate its costs at KM 647 per year, while those whose children do not attend the programme believe that its annual cost is KM 775. Overall, the difference between the actual and estimated values is not large, or, in other words, parents are relatively well informed about the cost of preschool and the preschool preparatory programme, regardless of whether their child attends preschool/programme or not. Also, no statistically significant differences in the average amounts cited have been found between the categories of municipalities and categories of parents with regard to parents whose children actually attend these facilities/programmes. On the other hand, when it comes to the estimates of parents whose children are not enrolled in preschool/preparatory preschool programme, it has been found that respondents in control municipalities are more likely to overestimate the costs than those in project municipalities, which is consistent with previous findings where these respondents more frequently claimed that the services of these facilities are paid. As regards preschools, parents from the general population tend to estimate their costs higher than their Roma counterparts, while parents of children with developmental disabilities estimate the costs of the preparatory preschool programme higher than those from the general population. When it comes to the preparatory preschool programme, the estimates of parents who are beneficiaries of these programmes do not differ regardless of whether they are from project municipalities or control municipalities, nor do they differ between different categories of parents. However, similar to preschools, the estimated values differ. Respondents in control municipalities estimate the amounts required for attendance of the preparatory preschool programme higher than those living in focus municipalities. Also, parents of children with developmental disabilities are more likely to cite higher amounts than parents of preschool-aged children from the general population.

Figure 28: Can you estimate the type and amount of costs associated with attending preschool? – Arithmetic means of the amounts in Convertible Marks (KM) All respondents

Project municipalities

Control municipalities

Parents, general population

Roma parents

Parents of children with special needs

M (KM) Cost of preschool

1332

1357

1257

1338

1763

1141

Estimated cost of preschool

1207

987

1535

1248

885

1121

Cost of preparatory preschool programme

647

635

696

631

655

797

Estimated cost of preparatory preschool programme

775

630

917

748

835

1111

According to parents of preschool-aged children, preschools in most places in BiH operate on a payfor basis, and the attendance of preparatory preschool programmes is generally not paid. However, a relatively high percentage of parents are not aware whether the attendance of preschools or preparatory programmes in their community is paid or not. Parents of preschool-aged children are relatively well informed about the costs associated with attending preschool and the preparatory preschool programme, regardless of whether their children attend these facilities/programmes or not. However, cost estimates differ between project municipalities and control municipalities, and between different categories of parents of preschool-aged children.

6.6. ATTITUDES AND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CHILD DEVELOPMENT When it comes to child development, one of the central dilemmas and the main subject of debate among scientists throughout history has been the question of nature or nurture. Today we know that both nature and nurture play a major role in child development, and that they act in interaction, as well as that selfactivity of an individual constitutes an important determinant of his/her development. In any case, it has been a scientifically established fact that nurture, which includes education, plays an important role in child development, where parents’ role is indisputable. In addition to parents, preschools are an environment that has a significant impact on the child through educational activities. In general, attitudes are the basis of every decision-making, including for decisions about preschool education of children. In the context of the decision on whether to send a child to preschool, some of the more important attitudes may include attitudes and ideas about child development and its patterns. In that regard, this survey thought it important to examine parents’ attitudes about the importance of specific elements of child development which they consider to be the most subject to effects of preschool education, as well parents’ knowledge of developmental milestones. Knowledge and information about child development can shape decisions about whether the child will be enrolled in a particular early education programme or not. Early education programmes are important environmental influences that, in interaction with child’s biological dispositions, affect his/her development. Stimulation and encouragement, both by parents and in preschool, play an extremely important role for the development of intelligence. Of all the various elements of child development, parents believe that preschool education has the greatest influence on the development of intelligence, but also on physical health, and learning to behave non-aggressively. Parents of preschool-aged children from the general population attach much greater importance to socialisation than those of preschool-aged children with developmental disabilities. These differences are not surprising given the fact that the majority of children with developmental disabilities are not well accepted by other children, as a result of which positive socialisation effects of preschools often do not come into play for them.

Figure 29: Rank by importance the elements of child development that you believe preschool education has the most influence on? – Arithmetic means of the ranks (A lower ranking indicates greater impact of preschool education on the development of a given element!) Municipality

Total

Category

Parents, All Project Control general respondents municipalities municipalities population

Roma parents

Parents of children with special needs

3.08 3.71 4.37 5.01 4.81 5.01 4.81 5.21

3.77 4.27 4.42 4.46 4.21 5.07 4.84 4.95

M Intelligence Physical health Non-aggressive behaviour Expressing oneself clearly Socialisation Acceptance of oneself Human rights Communication

3.48 4.01 4.63 4.70 4.74 4.78 4.80 4.87

3.44 3.97 4.65 4.72 4.71 4.76 4.87 4.90

3.53 4.09 4.61 4.67 4.81 4.82 4.67 4.83

3.49 4.02 4.68 4.68 4.78 4.74 4.79 4.83

By three months a baby is expected to coo, constantly put its hands in its mouth, and smile the first smile. At seven months old a child responds to being called by his/her name, recognises emotions by tone of voice, fully develops colour vision, and transfers objects from hand to hand. One-year-olds are expected to crawl forward, cry when separated from parents, know how to find objects hidden under two or three blankets, suck thumb, move independently from a lying to a sitting position, pronounce syllables “dada” and “mama”, and walk holding onto furniture. Two-year-olds start to engage in pretend play, walk and run independently, are defiant, use 2-4 word sentences, and move up and down the stairs holding onto something for support. A three-year old child can ride a tricycle, sort objects by shape and colour, and openly express emotions. Four-year-olds cooperate with other children, know how to use scissors, and move up and down the stairs without support. Finally, five-year-olds can dress themselves and use a spoon and fork, and sometimes a knife. In order to adequately stimulate their child’s development, parents should be familiar with the developmental milestones, such as those described above. Knowledge of the developmental stages, or developmental milestones, was measured using 26 items, each describing a different developmental milestone. For each milestone, parents were asked to guess whether a child is expected to reach it at 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-24 months or 3-6 years old. Developmental milestones used in this survey represent a satisfactory sample of developmental milestones that children are supposed to achieve in preschool period. Assessment of the respondents’ knowledge of developmental milestones has shown that a relatively high percentage of respondents are well informed about the developmental stages of children (see cells marked in green in the table below!). Most parents know at what age a child can roll from stomach to back, raise his/her head, begin to crawl, pronounce the first words, sit alone, name images in a picture book, use a spoon, speak in syllables, identify body parts, turn pages, distinguish reality from fiction, use future tense, and use the toilet alone. However, a relatively high percentage of respondents make wrong assumptions about the age at which children can achieve the aforementioned and other developmental milestones (see cells marked in red: cells marked in dark red where more than 20 per cent of the respondents answered wrong, and cells marked in light red where 10-19 per cent of the respondents answered wrong). The biggest unknown for parents seems to be the age when a child

begins to imitate sounds, when it knows at least two words, when it can say its name and gender, when it begins to show preference for playing with other children over playing alone, when it understands pronouns like “mine” and “his”, and when it can make simple sentences – more than half of the parents show incomplete understanding of these milestones. Also, between a quarter and half of the parents do not have adequate information on when a child can roll from stomach to back, sit alone, stand on one leg for at least two seconds, track moving objects with his/her eyes, understand concepts such as money and food, name images in a picture book, say first words, raise his/her head, draw a person with two to four body parts, name some colours and numbers, and piece together a puzzle with several pieces. Figure 30: Please specify at what age, in your opinion, can a child be expected to perform each of the tasks that we will read out to you...? – Percentage distribution

Roll from stomach to back Start to crawl Can stand on one leg for at least two minutes Track a moving object with his/her eyes Understand concepts such as food and money Can say his/her name and gender Walk Prefer playing with other children over playing alone Distinguish reality from fiction Name images in picture books Say first words Understand “mine”, “his”, “her” Raise his/her head Draw a person with 2-4 body parts Use future tense Use fork Speak in syllables Make simple sentences Name some colours and numbers Pieces together a puzzle with 2-4 pieces Know at least two words Identify body parts Imitate sounds Turn pages Use the toilet alone Sit alone

0-6 months

6-12 months

71.5 17.7 2.8 40.3 1.5 1.0 1.2 .9 1.1 .6 2.4 2.4 64.1 1.5 1.0 1.3 .7 .5 .4 .4 1.3 .4 1.0 .4 .5 3.8

25.9 79.1 32.0 40.8 7.8 7.8 46.9 14.7 2.8 5.6 67.8 10.5 26.0 3.7 2.3 10.2 21.7 5.1 2.9 4.3 57.7 19.6 22.1 15.5 1.5 61.6

12-24 months per cent 1.9 2.9 50.0 15.2 42.5 63.5 4.9 53.0 21.1 58.3 26.9 51.7 4.9 34.1 17.1 59,6 55.2 59.1 45.2 44.2 35.8 60.2 60.4 63.5 19.7 25.5

3-6 years .7 .2 15.2 3.7 48.2 27.6 4.0 31.4 75.0 35.5 3.0 35.5 5.0 60.7 79.6 28.9 22.4 35.3 51.5 51.2 5.2 19.8 16.5 20.6 78.3 9.1

Certain differences were found between male and female respondents in terms of developmental tasks and age when children are able to perform them. Thus, female respondents tend to show significantly better knowledge of the age range during which a child can roll from stomach to back (73 per cent versus 67 per cent male), track moving objects with their eyes (42 per cent versus 36 per cent male), use a spoon (62 per cent versus 55 per cent male), identify body parts (62 per cent vs. 55 per cent male), and sit alone (64 per cent versus 54 per cent male). Overall, a relatively high percentage of respondents would benefit from further training in developmental psychology and developmental patterns, which could result in parents more actively stimulating and motivating children to achieve specific developmental milestones and to advance faster, but it would also contribute to early identification and diagnosis of developmental disorders, thus enabling their timely treatment. These findings also show that parents often expect too much of children (cases where the red cell is to the left from the green), which is why a child may feel incompetent or inferior, and as such could be discouraged in the development and advancement. According to these findings, it is necessary to further work on informing, educating and raising

awareness of parents and prospective parents not only about the patterns of child development, but also about how to deal with children in order to make sure they develop their skills optimally. Parents of preschool-aged children consider the development of intelligence, physical health, and nonaggressive behavior to be the most important aspects of development that are influenced by preschool education. While many parents are aware of the developmental milestones, there are still a great deal of them who have misconceptions about child development, which indicates an urgent need for educational activities aimed at enabling the optimal development of children and early identification of developmental disorders.

6.7. DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES – IDENTIFICATION, SUPPORT AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESCHOOL EDUCATION

6.7.1. Identification and support Children with developmental disabilities are a vulnerable category in terms of different life circumstances, including opportunities for preschool education. Their integration with other children in preschools (and later in schools) is often problematic because they are visibly different from their peers. Developmental disorders occur at a time when children are too small for any of their behaviours to be considered unusual, or for them to be able to report specific difficulties, which makes their early identification and treatment difficult. Respondents believe that the greatest responsibility for early identification of developmental disabilities in preschool-aged children rests with the parents, especially the mother, followed by doctors, preschool educators and others. The vast majority of parents say that if they noticed or suspected that their child has a developmental disability, they would first contact physicians, that is paediatricians (93 per cent). In this regard, the importance of physicians is significantly more frequently emphasised by respondents in project municipalities than those in control municipalities. Conversely, respondents in control municipalities tend to see parents or other caregivers as being more important for early identification of developmental disabilities. Parents from the general population and parents of children with developmental disabilities tend to attach greater importance to doctors than Roma parents, who are in turn significantly more likely than parents from the general population to emphasise the importance of mother and father in the early identification of developmental difficulties in children. Figure 31: Please rank in your estimation the responsibility of different persons for the early identification of developmental difficulties in preschool-aged children? – Arithmetic means of the ranks (The table shows the average ranking for each person, where a lower ranking means more responsibility for identifying developmental disabilities. Respondents could assign the same ranking to more than one person if they felt that they have equal responsibility.) Total

Municipality

Category

Parents, All Project Control general respondents municipalities municipalities population

Roma parents

Parents of children with special needs

2.37 3.60 1.36 2.49 2.25

2.75 3.51 1.47 2.31 3.67

M Physician/paediatrician Preschool educators Mother Father Somebody else

2.81 3.61 1.24 2.20 3.89

2.85 3.58 1.21 2.15 4.08

2.73 3.66 1.28 2.30 3.70

2.85 3.62 1.21 2.17 3.94

Slightly more than a third of respondents (35 per cent) report that professional help for parents of children with disabilities is available in their communities, while 38 per cent claim that these professionals are not available in their communities. More than a quarter of respondents (27 per cent) do not know if these professionals are available or not. While parents in control municipalities are

significantly more likely than their counterparts in project municipalities to report that professional help is not available, parents of preschool-aged children living in project municipalities significantly more often report not knowing whether professional help is available in their locality or not. As concerns the different categories of parents, parents of children with developmental disabilities significantly more often than other parents say that professional help is available, which is to be expected given the fact that these parents are probably forced to inform themselves and seek professional help. However, the fact remains that many parents of preschool-aged children do not know whether this kind of help is available in their community, which indicates the need for better information and for expanding professional help services to communities where they are currently unavailable. Figure 32: Is professional help for parents who have children with developmental disabilities available in your community? – Percentage distribution

Respondents who report that professional help is available for parents of children with developmental disabilities most often say that it is available in health care facilities (35 per cent), while 16 per cent say that they would seek help in centres for children with special needs, and 15 per cent state that help is provided by various professionals and specialists, doctors and other experts, such as psychologists, speech therapists or social workers. In this regard, it would be interesting to find out whether respondents lack proper information or the said professionals are indeed not available in their localities. Once it has been established which of the two is the case, it would be necessary either to better inform the respondents of the existing opportunities for professional help, or to work on recruiting professionals who will provide assistance to parents of children with developmental disabilities. Figure 33. What kind of professional help is available and from whom? – Percentage distribution (This question was answered only by respondents who reported that professional help for parents of children with developmental disabilities was available in their locality!) Health care facilities

35.2

Centre for children with special needs Various professionals and specialists (doctors, psychologists, speech therapists, soc. workers)

15.7 15.2

Various associations and organisations

12.6

Don’t know/no answer

6.0

Center for Social Work

5.9

Centre for Mental Health

5.5

Other

2.1

Kindergarten or school

1.7 .0

20.0

40.0

60.0

80.0

100.0

6.7.2. Opportunities for preschool education for children with developmental disabilities A total of 6.5 per cent of the respondents in this survey have preschool-aged children with specific developmental difficulties, ranging from speech impediments (20 per cent), Down syndrome (16 per cent), autism (9 per cent), cerebral palsy (6 per cent), epilepsy (6 per cent), visual impairment (6 per cent), psychomotor problems (6 per cent) and hearing impairment (4 per cent), while the rest of the children have a variety of health problems, such as heart problems, asthma, etc. Slightly more than half of respondents (51 per cent) believe that children with developmental disabilities should attend preschool together with other children, mostly for socialisation (40 per cent), but also because all children are the same and should have the same rights (36 per cent), as well as lest these children should feel isolated (20 per cent). On the other hand, less than half of the respondents (41 per cent), but still a very high percentage, believe that children with developmental disabilities should not attend preschool together with other children but separately, on account of the fact that they require special attention and professional assistance in education (70 per cent), that they cannot fit in with other children (14 per cent), and that they are dependent on others for assistance (12 per cent). Roma parents are more likely than their general population counterparts to hold that children with developmental disabilities should attend preschool together with other children. Apparently, many parents are aware of the rights and benefits of inclusive education for children with developmental disabilities. However, a large number of parents of preschool-aged children continue to treat children with disabilities differently from other children just because of their condition, thus denying them the right to optimal development. Figure 34: Do you believe that children with developmental disabilities should attend preschool together with your children, or you believe that there should be separate preschools for children with developmental disabilities? – Percentage distribution

Somewhat more than a third of children with developmental disabilities (35 per cent) go to preschool, while the majority of them do not. For half of the children who do not attend preschool, parents do not intend to enrol them (50 per cent); only 23 per cent of parents of these children say that they will enrol

their child in preschool. The main reasons why many of these children will not attend preschool include their health problems and the lack of specialised preschools for children with developmental disabilities (46 per cent), followed by financial difficulties, which prevent 23 per cent of children from attending preschool and achieving many of its benefits as previously described. Figure 35. Is the child enrolled in preschool? – Percentage distribution

Figure 36. Do you plan to enrol your child in preschool? – Percentage distribution

According to parents of preschool-aged children, it is the parents who play a major role in the early identification of developmental disabilities. Many of these parents report that professional help for parents of children with developmental disabilities is not available or they do not know if it is available in their localities. Also, many parents of preschool-aged children believe that children with developmental disabilities should not attend preschool together with other children, saying that they require special attention and cannot fit in with other children. Hence, the majority of children with developmental disabilities do not attend preschool. 6.8. OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESCHOOL EDUCATION FOR ROMA CHILDREN For years education of Roma children has been one of the central problems faced by these children and their parents. In this survey, 8.7 per cent of respondents are persons of Roma ethnicity who have children of preschool age. The findings of this survey show that discriminatory attitudes are much stronger towards children with developmental disabilities than Roma children. The majority of respondents (84 per cent, including Roma people) believe that Roma children should go to preschool

with other children. The main argument in favour of joint education of Roma children and other children is the awareness that all children are the same and should have the same rights (88 per cent), and that Roma children should be educated and kept off the streets (10 per cent). As expected, Roma parents more often than other parents feel that their children need to be with other children. However, it is important to note that a relatively high percentage of parents (16 per cent) believe that Roma children should attend preschool separately from other children. Parents of children with developmental disabilities more frequently than their Roma and general population counterparts believe that Roma children should attend separate preschools. Arguments offered in favour of separate preschool education for Roma children reflect different biases towards these children, the most common one being that they do not care about hygiene and that they are ill-behaved. Figure 37: Do you believe that Roma children should attend preschool together with your children, or you believe that there should be separate preschools for Roma children? – Percentage distribution

Most parents of preschool-aged children believe that Roma children should attend preschool with other children as they have the same rights as children from all other ethnic groups. A small number of respondents who have the opposite view are parents using different prejudices against the Roma ethnic group as arguments supporting their view about separate preschool education for Roma children.

6.9. PROPER NUTRITION AND IMMUNISATION Part of this survey focused on the issue of health and proper nutrition of children, which is considered to be very important for proper and healthy development of the child. It seems that parents of preschool-aged children pay attention to ensuring a healthy diet for their children, i.e. that children are offered enough fruits and vegetables. The majority of parents (86 per cent) report that their children eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and 10 per cent say that their children consume these foods once a week. Furthermore, the majority of parents (90 per cent) say that they are able to ensure a daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables for their child. Parents from the general population and parents of children with developmental disabilities are more likely to daily serve fresh fruit and vegetables to their children than their Roma counterparts. Figure 38: How often does your child have fresh fruits and vegetables as part of his/her diet? – Percentage distribution

Figure 39. Can you ensure that your child eats fresh fruits and vegetables as part of his/her daily diet? – Percentage distribution

Most parents of children attending preschool (65 per cent) are familiar with what children in preschools have on the menu every day, and most are completely satisfied (74 per cent) with these menus, while one in five parents (21 per cent) state they are partially satisfied with the menu. Again, expectations

are a variable that moderates satisfaction in this case, so the satisfaction of parents with preschool menus depends on what parents mean by healthy diet. Figure 40. Do you know what your child has on the menu at preschool every day? – Percentage distribution

Figure 41: How satisfied are you with the menu offered at preschool? – Percentage distribution

In terms of health, the survey investigated whether parents take regular care of vaccinating their children. The findings are positive – the majority of preschool-aged children (93 per cent) were vaccinated. As regards the differences, parents in project municipalities more often than their counterparts in control municipalities report that their children were not vaccinated. Also, parents of children with developmental disabilities and Roma parents are more likely than their general population counterparts to state that their children were not vaccinated. The reasons for avoiding immunisation most commonly cited by certain parents include children’s health problems (55 per cent), which is significantly more likely to be cited by parents of children with developmental disabilities than other parents, and parents’ fear of the side effects of vaccination (25 per cent).

Figure 42. Have your children received all vaccines as required for their age? – Percentage distribution

Parents of preschool-aged children in BiH take care of their children’s diet as well as their vaccination. However, it is important to note that both healthy diet and immunisation are associated with personal views about the hazards and benefits of specific foods or medicines, which can have a significant impact on parent’s satisfaction levels as well as their decisions about nutrition and health care of children in general.

7. CONCLUSIONS Overall, the majority of parents of preschool-aged children are aware of the existence of preschools as well as the availability of preparatory preschool programmes, and believe they are important for early socialisation of children and preparation for school. However, most parents do not enrol their children in preschool. The reasons are varied: financial difficulties, distance and transport availability, as well as individual attitudes and knowledge. Given the standard of living and the unemployment rate in BiH, it is quite possible that financial and economic reasons override all other considerations when it comes to making decisions about early education for children in preschools: lack of resources to finance preschool education as well as the attitude that preschool is not necessary when one parent is unemployed. Respondents who have experience with preschools express a positive attitude towards these facilities, stating that in them children “receive education”, “are cared for”, “socialise”, and that preschools are clean, safe and well-equipped, with competent, caring and friendly staff. It seems that parents of preschool-aged children in BiH need to be further educated about all the benefits of preschool education, other than just socialisation and preparation for school in terms of learning alphabet, the advantages of which they already recognise very well. Also, it is important to emphasise the effects of early education on cognitive development, emotional development, language development, motor development, etc. Furthermore, it is necessary to work on eliminating discriminatory attitudes among parents of preschool-aged children, in particular with respect to educational opportunities and the needs of children with developmental disabilities, while parents of these children should be provided with adequate professional help and information about where and how to access such help. Finally, parents need to be educated more thoroughly about the healthy diet for children in general, including the importance of a varied diet as well as creating healthy eating habits.

8. RECOMMENDATIONS

The recommendations below are based on the findings of this survey. The recommendations need to be further elaborated and based on them specific policies need to be created which will result in the improvement of preschool education of children in BiH. • Roma parents and parents of preschool-aged children in control municipalities would particularly benefit from further information about the preparatory preschool programme, as the findings of this survey indicate that these groups of parents are less informed about this subject than their other counterparts. The payment of preschool tuition fees should be one of the topics about which parents of preschool-aged children generally need to receive further information. Overall, many parents of preschool-aged children, while they think they know what preparatory preschool programmes are, do not realise the comprehensive and multiple benefits of these programmes for the overall early development of the child, which include the effects not only on the cognitive or social development, but also the emotional and psychomotor development of the child. Therefore, all parents should be further educated about the comprehensive benefits of preschools. Also, nearly a quarter of parents of preschool-aged children whose children do not attend the preparatory preschool programme do not know where children can attend this programme. Parents of preschool-aged children should be thoroughly informed on this matter too. • In light of the low percentage of preschool-aged children who attend preschool and preparatory preschool programme, it is necessary to encourage the enrolment of children in these facilities and programmes, particularly in control municipalities and among the Roma population, where the enrolment rate was found to be lower than in other population. • Some of the barriers to preschool education of children that need to be overcome in order to increase the preschool enrolment rate include large distance of preschools from children’s homes and financial difficulties. The distance problem can be overcome either by opening preschools in communities where they are currently not available or by organising transport of children to locations where preschool education is available. Financial aid would allow and help many parents to enrol their children in preschool. • Preschool education should be adapted to children with developmental disabilities, and teachers need to be educated on the needs of these children, while other children need to be sensitised to their needs and particularities. Also, a high percentage of parents of preschool-aged children think that children with developmental disabilities should not attend preschool with other children. Hence, parents should be educated about this group of children, their characteristics and needs. • Positive experiences of parents whose children attend preschool and their attitudes about the benefits of preschool education and qualities of preschool staff as well as conditions in these

facilities could be put to good use in promoting the work of these facilities and encouraging other parents to enrol their children to preschool. While a large number of parents have complete confidence in preschool staff, and in their competences, knowledge, positive attitude towards children, etc., there is a high percentage of those who voice contrasting views. Firstly, it is necessary to examine how competent, professional and dedicated preschool staff in BiH is, and work to improve their performance and promote their quality, particularly in project municipalities, where negative attitudes about preschool staff were voiced more frequently. In particular, it is necessary to improve the knowledge of Roma parents about preschool staff. Similarly, it is necessary to look at and improve the conditions in preschool facilities, such as hygiene, food quality, teaching aids, etc. Given the importance of parent-teacher meetings, it seems important to legally regulate the number of mandatory meetings on a monthly basis, as well as clearly define their content and purpose. Also, parents should be required to attend a certain number of these meetings. Parents of preschool-aged children need to be further educated about the developmental milestones and early indicators of developmental difficulties, with the aim of early identification of developmental disabilities, but also in order to avoid excessively high expectations and encourage child’s real potential. Also, parents need to be educated about the importance of encouraging the achievement of specific developmental milestones during early development, importance of parental involvement in this period, as well as how to properly stimulate development. Furthermore, education is needed with respect to unrealistic expectations and their deleterious effects. Parents of preschool-aged children should also be informed about who they can contact if they suspect that their child has some developmental difficulties. Moreover, it is necessary to identify priority locations where help to parents of children with developmental disabilities is currently unavailable and should be made available. Although most parents of preschool-aged children believe that Roma children should go to preschool with other children, prejudices against this group are still present in the attitudes of quite a few parents who have the opposite view. It is vital to continue and improve activities aimed at eliminating prejudice against the Roma ethnic minority and reducing discrimination against Roma children with respect to education. Future surveys of preschool education in BiH should address the quality of preschool programmes and identify the types of programmes that have the best long-term impact on children’s development.


KAP Survey on Early Childhood Education and Development