How Moroccan Mothers and Fathers View Child Development and Their Role in Their Children's Education

Published In: International Journal of Early Years Education, 2014

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Gail L. Zellman, Michal Perlman, Rita Karam

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Despite the documented importance of parental engagement in early learning, little is known about how parents in the Middle East and North Africa understand child development. To inform the literature, a small-scale study involving four focus groups was conducted with parents of children aged six years and under living in Casablanca. The purpose of this study was to explore parents' understanding of and support for their children's early development. Results reveal that parents see a vital role for themselves in their children's upbringing as supporters and nurturers, but little role as teachers. Across different education and income levels, parents in this small-scale qualitative study believe that children's experiences in their first years of life do not affect their longer-term intellectual development or school success and see little value in early intellectual stimulation or formal preschool education. Our results suggest that parents need to understand their role as their child's first educators. Also, it is essential that parents are taught how to promote their children's early cognitive development without undermining their nurturing roles.

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