A comparison of the home and primary boarding school environment in promoting early childhood social and cognitive stimulation: focus on the rationale for boarding primary

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
The purpose of this study was to compare home and primary boarding schools environments in promoting early childhood social and cognitive stimulation. The focus was to explore the rationale for primary boarding school for young children. In order to achieve the purpose, the study compared day and boarding pupils’ cognitive and social characteristics; explored and compared the home and primary school boarding environments and the quality of childcare in the home and primary boarding schools. A cross sectional research design was adopted employing both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The study was conducted in Moshi District and involved 67 primary school pupils who were six and seven year old, 32 parents, 7 caregivers and 8 teachers. Data were gathered through semi structured interviews, structured questionnaire, interview schedule and direct observations. The most important finding was that day pupils had better self management skills (p>.04) compared to boarders but boarders, in contrast, had better performance in language and cognition as compared to day pupils (p>0.28). Socially, day pupils out performed boarders in compliance with rules and instructions, while boarders on the other hand, were reportedly cooperative and had more pro-social behaviours than day pupils. Problem behaviours such as attention seeking behaviours (p<.04), homesickness (p<.00) and aggressiveness (p<.034) were associated with boarding school experience than home based childcare. Furthermore, boarding primary schools had better learning conditions compared to children’s homes. While promotion of social and cognitive stimulation at home was relatively low as compared to boarding primary schools, home environment was found to enhance self management skills better than boarding primary schools. Qualities of caregiving were relatively low in boarding primary schools as compared to caregiving provided in children’s homes. While boarding schools controlled most of the children’s activities, homes had unstructured and unsupervised routines and restricted children involvement in learning. The main conclusion from the study was that early boarding experience was inappropriate for young children aged six and seven. While boarding experience provided more cognitive stimulation, it was associated with more problem behaviours such as less compliance. Although children’s homes promoted less cognitive stimulation, they provided better childcare than primary boarding schools. The study recommends parenting education on the significance of direct parental involvement with children’s early learning and improvement of childcare practices in the boarding primary schools. There is a need, however, for policies guiding primary education to regulate qualities of boarding schools with more emphasis on childcare. A longitudinal study is recommended for further study.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF BF723.S62B852)
Early childhood, Primary school, Environment, Tanzania
Bwaya, C.(2015). A comparison of the home and primary boarding school environment in promoting early childhood social and cognitive stimulation: focus on the rationale for boarding primary schools for children, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam.