Parental background and the learning of concepts by 3– 6 year old children in plateau state .

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This study sought to identify the concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 based on parental background factors in Plateau State, Nigeria. Five research questions and five null hypotheses guided the study. Ex-post factor or causal comparative research design was adopted. The population of the study consisted of 4003 pre-primary school children in the 60 pre-primary schools in the Northern education zone of Plateau State.

A total of 200 pre-primary school children drawn through multistage sampling approach from public and private pre-primary schools in Plateau State were used for the study. Two instruments namely: – Concept learning achievement tests for 3 – 4 and 5 – 6 year old children were developed, validated and used for the study.

The internal consistency reliability of the instruments were estimated using Kudder-Richardson 20 formula and reliability coefficients of 0.72 and 0.73 were obtained for the concept learning achievement tests for 3 – 4 and 5 – 6 year old children, respectively. Data were analyzed using means scores, standard deviations, and multiple regression analysis. The t-test and ANOVA statistics were used to test the hypotheses. Findings indicated that:
concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 differed significantly based on educational status of parents; concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 differed significantly occupational status of parents; there was significant difference in the concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 based on housing location; there was significant difference in the concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 based on parent-child interaction; concept learning achievement of children aged 3-6 did not differ significantly based on gender.

A major educational implication of the findings was that parents could show positive attitude towards the education of their children by providing for them, not only in terms of material needs of the children but also allow their children to interact freely with them. It was thus recommended that emphasis should be given to parents providing the material needs of their children and also allowing their children to interact freely with them without gender discrimination.

Background of the Study
Children learn concepts best when they are given a wide range of
experiences with the object and situations that their developing vocabulary

In this early processing of the world around them children aged 3-6 year, who are still at the pre-primary school level, may begin to classify
objects and instances, and these classification tasks are essential to concept formation. Munn in Mangal (2011) defined concept as a process which represents the similarities in otherwise diverse objects, situation, or events.

Similarly, Ross (2005) said that concepts are patterns, schemas or mental
categories which enable people to interpret the objects of their thoughts;
whether perceptual or imaginative.

One can conclude that concept is a generalized idea about things, persons, or events. It stands for a general class and not for a particular objects or event. It is a common name given on the basis of similarities or commonness found in different objects, persons or events. It is also a mental disposition that helps in understanding the meaning of the objects of people’s thinking (Ugoji, 2000).

After looking at some of the characteristics of concepts above, one
may easily conclude that a large portion of the words used and other
symbolic expressions in human language represent concepts. The names:
horse, tree, dog, table, chair, represent concept of things; father, mother,
teacher represent concept of persons; honesty, truthfulness, cleanliness,
redness, goodness represent concepts of qualities and characteristics and so on.

Judging the importance of concepts in human lives, one must try to
pay due attention to their proper development from a very early age of live.
In every sphere of human life, people are very much helped by the
identification, classification, categorization and naming of the objects, ideas or events provided by their acquired concepts.

Human environment is full of tremendously diverse things. It consists of an infinite number of living and non-living objects. Similarly, there are limitless ideas, thoughts, principles, formulae, theories and so on related to various aspects of human life and the environment. In such an environment of tremendous diversity one can adjust only if one has adequate power and ability to discriminate, classify, and categorize the things around one (in view of their similarities and
dissimilarities) in specific groups (Wilson, 1997).

Concept learning helps one a lot in this gigantic task of categorizing and classifying the environmental objects. Moreover, the concepts regarding people, objects, places, ideas or events provide human symbolic and verbal behaviour

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