*Names in bold indicate Presenter
First, this paper will present quantitative and qualitative findings on parental perceptions of preschool education, direct observations of preschool classrooms, as well as general descriptive statistics from the exploratory study to characterize the nature of ECE services in peri-urban Accra. Findings suggest the instructional focus of most classroom time is spent on literacy and numeracy; the majority of class time is spent sitting in rows of desks facing the front of the classroom with little child participation; and corporal punishment is accepted by some as a necessary means to teach young children self-control, creating an environment high in extrinsic rather than intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, parents report high levels of satisfaction with their child’s preschool education, and 80% report that their main motivation for sending their child to school is to learn skills/be prepared for primary schools.
Second, this paper will present on the design and preliminary pilot findings of an intervention designed to improve the quality of preschool services that builds on these descriptive findings. Using a randomized control trial design, the study aims to test the relative effectiveness of two interventions and their combined effects, targeting the “demand side” (i.e., parents) by providing an educational program for parents on early childhood development and learning to improve parents’ understanding of what to what to look for and demand regarding quality in their preschool choice; and the “supply side” (i.e., schools) program for schools training teachers and headmasters in “best practices” of early childhood education. 200 schools will be randomly sampled and assigned to one of four conditions (demand-side only, supply-side only, demand and supply-side, control. Planned strategies to involve the Ghanaian Ministry of Education (MoE), as well as implications of the findings for the MoE’s current plans to improve preschool education will be discussed.