ASSESSMENT OF HEALTH AND SAFETY PRACTICES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND EDUCATION CENTRES IN ANAMBRA STATE
The purpose of this study was to assess the health and safety practices in early childhood care and education centres for cognitive development of children in Anambra State. Two research questions guided the study and two null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Descriptive survey research design was used for the study. The population of the study comprised of 1,765 caregivers in Awka South Local Government Educational Authority. Five hundred and
eighty-four (584) caregivers made up the sample size. The researcher developed questionnaire titled “Assessment of Health and Safety Practices in ECCE Centres” (AHSPECCEC) was used for data collection. The instruments were validated by three experts, two from the Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education, and one from the Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Cronbach alpha was used for a test of internal consistency
of the instrument and it yielded reliability coefficients of 0.65 and 0.72 for Clusters A and B of AHSPECCEC. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions and t-test to test null hypotheses.Mean scores above 2.50 are seen as accepted while means scores below 2.50 are seen as rejected. The findings of the study revealed among others that standard health and safety practices are adopted in ECCE centres. It was also found that there is significant difference in the mean ratings of standard health practices in public ECCE centres in Awka South LGEA. Based on the findings, it was recommended among others that Anambra State Ministry of Education and private owners of Early Childhood Education Care Centres should organize annual professional development programmes such as workshops, seminar and conferences for early childhood caregivers to update their skills and knowledge on health and safety practices.