Over-schooling at the pre-primary school is a serious violation of the provisions of National Policy on Education. It is seen as over burdening, over tasking and over-tutoring of the pre-primary school children. The study was carried out to ascertain the perception of parents on over-schooling of these young children using Onitsha educational zone as the area of study. Five research questions and two null hypotheses were formulated while a descriptive survey design was employed. The population of the study was made up of 2,440 parents of young children who attend private pre-primary schools in the Onitsha educational zone. Parents’ Perception on Over-schooling of Children Questionnaire (PPOCQ) was used for data collection. The questionnaire was validated by three experts while the trial testing was done outside the area of study. Cronbach alpha method was used to establish the internal consistency of the instrument. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation) and t-test statistic was used to test the hypotheses formulated to guide this study. The findings of the research showed that there was over -schooling at this level of education, but unfortunately the parents were ignorant of its negative influences on the young children. The study recommended among other things that parents should be part of the decision making body of the pre-primary schools, that is, being part of the Parent-Teacher Association of the schools.

Background of the Study
The concept of a child differs from one culture to another. Some cultures regard one as a child if one is not married, no matter one’s age. According to Opara (2012), a child is a young person, especially between infancy and youth. In the Nigerian Legal system, a child is one that is below the age of 18 years. This is because the person cannot vote or be voted for. He/she is not also qualified to drive. This is in line with article 1 of the Convention on the Right of the Child by United Nations. Furthermore, Umobi and Igu (2010) define a child as a boy or a girl at any age between infancy and adolescence, a new infant, or a person of any age in relation to his parents.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) in her National Policy on Education posits that the pre-primary school child falls within the age bracket of 0-6 years while Maduewesi (1999) views pre-primary school children as young children between 2-5 years engaged in specially designed academic programmes before the age of formal schooling. It is necessary that all who are involved in the education of the child understand and get acquinted with the pre-primary school child.
The pre-primary school children possess certain characteristics which are peculiar to them. According to Abidoye and Agusiobo (2000), these pre-school children are egocentric. That is, they view the world from their own perspectives. They are curious in nature. Their world is filled with excitement. The curiosity varies according to the center of interest at any given time. The children love exploration and in fact, they are investigators. Their love for exploration is demonstrated in their spoiling of new toys and trying to put them together again. Abidoye and Agusiobi(2000) see the children as being energetic and because of this, they cannot sit still for long periods of time. They prefer to do things than listen. Even while listening, they move their bodies restlessly. These pre-school children like to achieve their objectives. They often spend unusual length of time and efforts to solve problems that interest them. Problem solved gives them a feeling of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Hence, they are persistent.

More interestingly, children are valuable assets from God. They are fragile and the future of any society. That is why they must be well protected and nurtured. They must be well taught both at home and at school. This is because this stage is a critical and delicate period of human life when children are easily influenced and the consequences of such influence greatly affect their adulthood. As observed by Anon (2013a), under the age of six, children absorb information without effort, and this stage of development provides critical foundation for the children’s character, learning and growth. Therefore, in the view of Ibiam (2012), it is necessary for parents, guardians, care-givers and adults to teach children values and social lessons and also provide them with good academic guide while in school.

Parents are caretakers of their children. Hornby (2006) defines parents as a person’s father and mother. Parents, especially mothers, are responsible for the overall care given to the child such as feeding, hygiene and medical care. Therefore, the child needs care and balanced diet for proper early development. This is because proper nutrition is necessary for the development of the brain which in turn is important for intellectual, cognitive and psychomotor development in the child (Ngwoke and Eze, 2010). The efficiency of parents in taking up this responsibility depends on their level of education and exposure.

Parents can be educated or un-educated, some are civil servants while some could be in business. The educated parents are parents with higher education qualifications. They get involved in their children’s education early enough unlike the non-educated ones. They get involved in their children’s education by reading to the children at home, teaching songs or nursery rhymes and assisting in homework. Parental education influences expectations of children. Therefore, having higher parental education is significantly related to higher expectations of children’s achievement (Gratz, 2006).
The un-educated parents are parents who do not have formal education and usually have lower income. Gratz (2006) observes that these parents often have to work longer hours to earn their small salaries. This leaves less time for them to assist their children in reading and even getting involved in their learning process. Gratz (2006) further observes that low income parents may not be neglectful parents but it is easy for them to slip into the stereotype under extreme pressure. Hence, most of them may not adequately provide appropriate educational guide to their children due to lack of appropriate knowledge and time.

Parents who are civil servants are those under the employment of the government, either at the Federal, State or Local government level. According to Kwaghga (2010), civil servants are a body of men and women employed in a civil capacity and non political career basis by the Federal and State government primarily to render services in form of advice, formulation and implementation of policies of the government. They are appointed on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. They are expected to carry out their roles with dedication and commitment to civil service and its core values which are integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality (Civil Service Code, 2010).They offer services within the working hours determined by the general or specific provisions in effect. In the event of extraordinary and urgent official needs, civil servants also offer their services beyond the working hours or during non working days (Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization,1999).

Business parents may be involved in micro, small or medium scale business. According to Luetkenhorst, Geiger, Ozsoy and Fidan (2004), micro, small and medium scale businesses make important contributions to economic and social development. In economics, they constitute the vast majority of business establishments. They are usually responsible for the majority of jobs creation. They account for one- third to two- third of the turnover of private sector. In developing countries, they are seen as a major “self help” instrument for poverty eradication. Constant (2008) observes that while big companies create jobs and stimulate innovation, self employment contribute to job creation and economic growth, alleviating welfare burden and leading many to economic and social advancement. Discussing about business women, Constant (2008) said that the reason why women choose self employment was that they could easily combine work and family responsibilities. They could even conduct business from home while simultaneously satisfying domestic responsibilities.

Therefore, irrespective of parents’ status in life, they benefit from pre-primary education programme which provides adequate care and supervision of their children while they are away for the day’s business. Therefore, perceptions and involvement in the proper education of the children, which begin from the home, may vary from parent to parent.

The home is very important in the education of children. The home background plays a significant role in a child’s orientation about literacy and education. In his view, Smetana (1990) posited that the most effective parenting style for facilitating children’s success as well as their.....

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