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The role of preschool in the education and integration of Roma children

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Tonković, Aleksandra. (2017). The role of preschool in the education and integration of Roma children. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Pedagogy.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij pedagogije) [mentor Hrvatić, Neven].

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Abstract

Preschool and elementary school education of Roma children plays an important role in their integration in Croatia. The role of preschool education, as part of educational system is of special significance for Roma children. Roma children can be successful with the help of their parents, the support of educational system and as earlier and longer enrollment as possible. It is necessary to plan, prep are and enroll Roma children in some of the preschool programs as early age as possible in order to prevail existing difficulties considering less knowledge in primary classes, thus reducing discrimination of Roma children in education and, later, in employment. It is necessary to adjust teaching curriculum, provide extended day programs, offer instruction in Roma language, ensure material provisions for them for attending elementary school, and additional assistance in mastering the school subjects. The language barrier is one of the major obstacles in education of Roma people. Roma children start preschool and elementary school education with limited knowledge of Croatian language, which causes them to lag behind other children of their age. One of the rea sons is that the majority of Roma children do not use Croatian language with their families and the other is that their parents in general have low level of education, and the lack of motivation to teach Croatian language to their children, thus Roma parents’ education is low which affects children’s readiness for preschool programs and later for school. The research was conducted in primary schools of Međimurje County with the significant number of Roma children/students (N = 198). The sample included all (available) Roma children who will enroll in first grade of primary school and Roma children attending first grade. Primary assessment questionnaire was conducted (child’s self-knowledge, communication and time orientation, object recognition and visualiza tion, generalization and logical conclusion, language competence, previous knowledge in math, color recognition, handwriting and spatial orientation), as well as the child's assessment scale of social-emotional development and a structural interview with parents (educational background and household members). Statistical analysis was conducted. Kruskal-Wallis test was used. The aim of the research was to examine the role of preschool education in education and integration of Roma children. All starting hypothesis were proven. The first hypothesis (H1), which stated that there is a difference in school readiness between children who were enrolled/ were not enrolled in some of preschool programs, was proven. Roma children who were enrolled in some of preschool programs for longer period gained higher score in primary assessment questionnaire. Longer enrollment in preschool programs helps children integrate better in educational system further on. The second hypothesis (H2) was proven. It states that there is a difference in readiness of Roma children for school due to certain features of respondents/parents (parents’ education, the number of household members and residence -location). The longer the parents were enrolled in educational system the higher points were gained by their children in primary assessment questionnaire. There is no difference in test scores according to the place of living. Children attending primary school “Orehovica” gained the highest score in primary assessment questionnaire while child ren attending primary school “Kuršanec” and primary school “Mala Subotica” gained the lowest score. There is no difference in test scores according to gender (p = 0.384). The third hypothesis (H3) was proven. There is a difference in social and emotional d evelopment of Roma students who were/ were not enrolled in some of preschool programs considering certain features of respondents (residence -location, parents’ education level, household members). There is no difference in development according to gender (p = 0.762). There is no difference in social and emotional development of children according to the place of living. Students of primary school “Orehovica” scored the highest points in development assessment by Step-by-Step, while students of primary school “Kuršanec” gained the lowest score. The more, i.e. the longer the parents were enrolled in educational system, the better score do children gain in emotional and social development assessment. An average education level of Roma parents in the first quartile is 1.6 and children’s development is 129.95. In the fourth quartile parents’ education is 2.0 and children’s development is 161.19. Roma children who were enrolled in some of preschool programs for longer period of time gained higher score in social and emotional development assessment according to Step - by-Step. By analyzing the distribution of household members in quartiles of social and emotional development it is shown that the bigger quartile, the better child development is. The fourth hypothesis ( H4), which states that there is a difference in school achievement between children who were/ were not enrolled in some of preschool programs, was proven. Roma children who gained higher score in primary assessment questionnaire have better achievement in Croatian language, math and science as well as at the end of first grade. Roma children who have better social and emotional development have better achievement in Croatian language, math and science at the end of first grade. There is a clear positive relationship between enrollement in preschool programs and school readiness of Roma children in Međimurje County. It offers equal possibilities for further education and integration of Roma children in school. Children’s progress in language, hygiene, interaction w ith other people and other fields of development was noted. Therefore, the rising of education level of parents and as early enrollment of Roma children in education system as possible becomes an imperative of modern Roma community.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: early and preschool education, preschool programmes, Roma children, Roma education, Roma culture, intercultural approach, intercultural pedagogy
Subjects: Pedagogija
Departments: Department of Pedagogy
Supervisor: Hrvatić, Neven
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij pedagogije
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2017 12:52
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2017 12:52
URI: http://darhiv.ffzg.unizg.hr/id/eprint/8905

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