ZAHYAH HANAFI, PHD
MUHAJIR TASLIKHAN, PHD
BEST PRACTICES OF PARENTAL
INVOLVEMENT IN CHILDCARE CENTRES
Laporan Akhir : Best Practices of Parental Involvement in Childcare Centre in Malaysia
Penulis : Prof. Madya Dr. Zahyah Binti Hanafi
Tahun : 2017
Hak Cipta : Pusat Penyelidikan Perkembangan Kanak-kanak Negara (NCDRC)
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
ISBN : 978-967-0638-77-5
Dicetak oleh : Pusat Penyelidikan Perkembangan Kanak-kanak Negara (NCDRC)
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
Hak cipta terpelihara. Tiada bahagian daripada bahan ini boleh disalin semula dalam mana-
mana cara tanpa kebenaran bertulis daripada Pusat Penyelidikan Perkembangan Kanak-kanak
Negara (NCDRC),Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris.
Pusat Penyelidikan Perkembangan Kanak-kanak Negara (NCDRC)
Kampus Sultan Azlan Shah
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
35000 Tanjong Malim
Perak Darul Ridzuan.
Tel : 015-4879 7136/ 7137/ 7129
Emel : [email protected]
Laman web : http://ncdrc.upsi.edu.my
We would like to thank the National Child Development Research Centre (NCDRC)
for giving us the research grant to conduct this study. Our sincere gratitude goes to all
the participants who volunteered to be part of this study; the childcare providers,
teachers, childcare officers from government and private childcare centres and
kindergarten. Last but not least we would like to thank the Director of NCDRC,
Professor Sopia Md Yassin for inviting us to join NCDRC research team.
The objective of this study is to investigate the best practices of parental involvement
atthe childcare centres (TASKA & TADIKA) in Malaysia. The study was conducted
with a mix method approach; quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative (interview).
There were nine research questions constructed to fulfil the objective of this study. A
convenient sampling was used to gather the data. Sampling were from two states,
Penang and Kedah and comprised 89 childcare providers/teachers/childcare officers
from government and private childcare centres and kindergarten and 169 parents from
these centres participated.Parents and teachers responded to questionnaires while
principals/managers were interviewed.Based on the quantitative data, teachers
reported high parental involvement at their centres. Parents’ perception towards their
children’s childcare providers/teachers/principal/managers’ abilities to manage
children at the centres are high and similarly teachers too believed they are good at
managing children. However, parents rated themselves as only average in their ability
to raise their children. Lastly teachers were reported to have high expectations of
parents. In-depth interview revealed that parents were involved because they believed
that they should put in more than the 4 hours required by the centre. They do it
because of their children, because the fee is low and in return they should help out at
the centre, because other parents do it and they don’t want to be left out, and centres
tried to accommodate parents’ needs so that they are able to be present at the centres.
The only challenge faced by parents is time as most parents worked during the day. In
order to get parents’ involvement, centres organized parenting course that emphasised
on the importance of parental involvement, include other members of the family to be
involved besides parents, make it convenient for mothers with babies to be present,
centres ensure parents feel they are important stakeholders, parents are required to
attend program on their children’s progress, make parents feel at ease when they are
at the centre, programs are held during weekends to enable parents’ participation,
prepare a schedule so parents know when they have to be at the centre, and prepare a
daily logbook for parents and teachers to report the daily activities.The study also
recommended best parental involvement practices for TASKA and TADIKA.
TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2
TABLE OF CONTENT 4
LIST OF TABLES 21
3.1 Respondents for the study 23
3.2 Survey items 26
3.3 Data analysis
4.1 Parents’ background 7
4.2 Childcare providers/teachers/childcare officers’ position 9
4.3 Years of experience 10
CHAPTER 1 13
1.1 Introduction 13
1.2 Objective of Study 13
1.3 Research Questions 13
1.4 Problem Statement
1.5 Significance of the Study 15
1.6 Operational Definition 16
1.6.1 Parental Involvement
126.96.36.199 Parents’ beliefs towards teachers 20
188.8.131.52 Parents’ efficacy in raising children 20
184.108.40.206 Parents’ expectations towards teachers 21
220.127.116.11 Teachers’ expectations towards parents 22
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Parental Involvement at Childcare Centres
2.1.1 Teachers and parents belief on parental involvement
2.1.2 Low parental involvement
2.1.3 High parental involvement
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Population and Sampling
3.4 Data Collection Procedure
3.5 Data Analysis
CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
4.0 Introduction 25
4.1 Demography of the Respondents 25
4.1.1 Parents 25
4.1.2 Childcare providers/kindergarten teachers/ childcare officers 26
4.2 Researcher question 1: What are teachers’ beliefs towards parental 27
involvement at their centres? 29
4.3 Research question 2: What are parents’ beliefs towards parental
involvement at their centres?
4.4 Research question 3: Do parents believed they are good at raising their 30
4.5 Research question 4: Do teachers believed they are good at managing 31
4.6 Research question 5: What do teachers expect from parents? 31
4.7 Research question 6: What are the factors that influence parents to be 33
involved in the activities at TASKA and TADIKA?
4.8 Research question 7: What are the challenges parents faced in getting 35
Involved at TASKA and TADIKA centres?
4.9 Research question 8: How do TASKA and TADIKA centres inculcate 35
4.10 Research question 9: What are the best practices of parental involvement 39
at TASKA and TADIKA centres?
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Discussion 44
5.1.1 Parental Involvement 44
5.1.2 Parental Involvement Practices: communication 44
5.1.3 Parental Involvement Practices: beliefs 45
5.1.4 Parental Involvement Practices: high regards 47
5.1.5 Parental Involvement Practices: low self-efficacy 47
5.1.6 Parental Involvement Practices: participation 48
5.1.7 Parental Involvement Practices: log book 49
5.1.8 Parental Involvement Practices: courses 50
5.1.9 Parental Involvement Practices: parent-centred activities 50
5.2 Recommendations 51
5.2.1 Future Studies 51
5.2.2 Male Involvement 51
5.2.3 Safety Procedures 52
5.2.4 Parental Involvement Program 53
18.104.22.168 Create a welcoming climate 53
22.214.171.124 Create parent-centred relationship 53
126.96.36.199 Establish effective centre-to-home and home-to-centre 54
188.8.131.52 Enhance parents’ knowledge and skills to support child’s 54
learning at home
184.108.40.206 Engage parents in school planning, leadership and 55
meaningful volunteer opportunities
220.127.116.11 Link teachers and parents to community resources that 55
strengthen and support children’s learning and well-being
5.3 Implication 56
APPENDIX A: Interview questions for principal/manager 61
APPENDIX B: Survey Questionnaire 66
The government of Malaysia has realized that in order to ensure its human capital is
sustained there need to be an intervention at the grassroots, meaning, there has to be a
serious commitment towards preparing the young minds of today for a better
tomorrow. With this in mind, the PERMATA Early Childhood Education and Care
(ECEC) Programme (below 4 years old) became the latest entry to the childcare
centres of Malaysia in 2007. Initially, the PERMATA ECEC Centres were set up in
each of the 13 states in Malaysia but through the years as the need arises there were
more than one centre in each state. Today, the PERMATA curriculum is being
extended to other government agencies such as KEMAS and PERPADUAN childcare
centres as well as privately owned. The PERMATA program provides early childhood
care and education for children under four with priority given to those from families
with a monthly household income of less than RM1, 500 irrespective of ethnicity and
religion. The founding principles of PERMATA ECEC Centres are: Every child is
precious, every child is a part of the human capital of the country, every child needs
the best education, and as such it is vital to develop the child’s intellectual, emotional,
cognitive and social aspects.
PERMATA ECEC Centres adopt the community-based integrated approach practiced
by Pen Green Corby, United Kingdom under the Sure Start Program. Besides being
childcare centres, these centres also prepare out-reach program, parenting courses,
counselling, and healthcare services to help local community to build healthy and safe
life style. Teachers at these centres resort to teaching techniques that aimed at
stimulating the children’s mind by allowing them to explore and play as they like,
everything in the centre can be used as learning objects. Children are empowered to
learn on their own through discoveries.
The uniqueness of the PERMATA curriculum is that it encourages an active family
and community involvement. At the centre various services such as healthcare, family
counselling and advisory services on nutrition are organized to provide parents with
knowledge on childcare. Parents, irrespective of whether the mother or father, has to
be involved with the activities at the centre for a minimum of four hours within a
month. The involvement may take in the form of helping out with the management of
the children, event, field trip, or cleaning the centre. There is no specific program for
parents’ involvement and thus, each PERMATA centre has its own definition of what
this involvement should be. However, if parents are unable to fulfil the four hours
then a reminder will be issued to the concern parents. After two reminders, parents
will be informed that their child has to be removed from the centre. This involvement
is seen as a vital component of the program as it believes that parents should play an
active role in their children’s learning.
At a conference statement during theNational Conference on Early Childhood Care
and Education 2011, it recognized that there is a need to provide support to parents,
the child's first and primary caregiver and educator, to fully understand their role in
their children's development and their responsibilities for their children's growth and
wellbeing. Therefore, it is most appropriate that parents be guided into performing
their role at the PERMATA centres.
PERMATA has made suggestions on the type of activities that parents can choose to
be involved at the centre such as
• playing, reading and story-telling for the children;
• attending family groups meetings and discussing children development with
the educators at the centres;
• going on educational trips with the children;
• attending parents’ educational programmes at the centres and
• using the PERMATA teaching technique at home.
These suggested tasks are seen as the definition for parental involvement at the
However, other childcare centres do have parental involvement activities however;
they are generally confined to annual programs such as Family Day and Sports Day.
These programs are merely participation on the part of the parents. Therefore,
childcare centres should be encouraged to make their centre a place for parents to get
involved with their children’s learning.
1.2 Objective of Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the best practices of parental
involvement at childcare centres.
1.3 Research Questions
Based on the objective of this study, several research questions were constructed.
The survey will answer these research questions:
1) What are teachers’ beliefs towards parental involvement at their centres?
2) What are parents’ beliefs towards teachers managing their children at the
3) Do parents belief they are good at raising their children?
4) Do teachers believe they are good at managing children?
5) What do teachers expect from parents?
In addition, the interviews will illicit information concerning these research questions:
6) What are the factors that influence parents' to be involved in the activities at
TASKA and TADIKA centres?
7) What are the challenges parents’ faced in getting involved at TASKA and
8) How do TASKA and TADIKA centres inculcate parental involvement?
9) What are the best practices of parental involvement at TASKA and TADIKA
1.4 Problem Statement
A study was conducted at eleven PERMATA centres in Malaysia. Interviews were
conducted with Head Educators and teachers concerning parents’ involvement at the
centres (Zahyah Hanafi, Valdez, & Ng Lee Luan, 2011). In spite of the ruling made
by the PERMATA Centres that one of the requirements for children to be eligible for
a place at the centre, parents need to contribute a minimum of four hours a month at
the centre, it was reported that there are still parents who find difficulty in fulfilling
this. Here are some of the less positive comments concerning parents’ involvement:
• most parents at the centres only fulfil the minimum four hours a month,
• reminders had to be sent to parents most of the time to ensure that they fulfil
the required four hours, and
• most parental involvement are in the form of helping the centres by cleaning,
cooking, feeding, bathing, dressing and other activities that are not directly
involved with children’s learning.
Thus, parents’ involvement at their child’s childcare centres are not seen as a culture
where parents get passionately involved with their children’s learning but instead
parents believed that once they drop their child at the centre then the responsibility for
caring these children are transferred to the adults at the centre.
A recent study was conducted on examining the quality practices at childcare centres
in Malaysia (birth – 6 years old) (Siti Noor Ismail & Zahyah Hanafi, 2015). The
teachers/childcare providers at the centres rated their centres by responding to a
questionnaire (QIAS, 2005) which assessed seven quality areas. One of the quality
areas is Quality Area 2: Partnerships with Families and the findings revealed that out
of 24 childcare centres that were involved in the study; only two centres were rated
high, two centres low and 20 centres average on this aspect.
The first study reflects a slow acceptance of parents who have children at the
PERMATA centres to take the parental involvement requirement seriously. The
second study revealed that centres generally did not include parents’ involvement as a
requirement and thus reflects the centres’ unawareness of the importance of initiating
partnership with parents.
These comments are indicators that parents as well as teachers/childcare providers
may still believe that parents’ involvement at the centres do not have any influence on
children’s development (Plowden Report, 1967). Why are teachers/childcare
providers and parents still reluctant to be involved with children’s learning at these
centres? What is it that makes parents stay away from being involved with their
children’s learning even though they want their children to do well at the centres? If
centres are able to get parents involved then what are the contributing factors to this
involvement? These are questions that will be addressed in this study.
Studies on Malaysian parents’ involvement in their young children are limited.
Roopnarine, Lu, and Ahmeduzzaman (1989) studied Sarawak Chinese families
(mothers’ & fathers’) involvement with their infant at home, Hossain and colleagues
(2007) later focused on Khadazan fathers’ and mothers’ involvement with their infant
at home, and Endicott (1992) looked into parental involvement among Kelantan
mothers and fathers. All these studies focused on young children at home and not at
the childcare centres. True it is necessary to know what parents do with their children
at home but what is more important is whether parents extend this involvement to the
centres where their children spend most of their days. If parents are directly involved
with their children’s learning at the centres then they are better informed on how to
extend the learning at the centres to their homes. Such a move will allow for a smooth
transition of learning from centre to home and this will definitely enhanced not only
children’s learning but also helps parents to do what is best for their children’s
Thus, this study attempts to fill the gap on parental involvement in Malaysia by
focusing the context of the study at the childcare centres (TASKA & TADIKA) in
Malaysia and examined some of the best parental practices that are currently being
practised so as to be a guide to educators, teachers, childcare providers and parents
that parental involvement is a vital aspect of children’s learning and it ensures a better
learning process for children.
1.5 Significance of the study
Based on the various studies that were conducted in Malaysia it is clear that parental
involvement is an issue that is taken lightly by those who are directly involved with
young children at the childcare centres. Thus, the findings of this study would help to
provide a clearer picture of the various issues pertaining to parents’ involvement at
the childcare centres; reasons why parents are willing or unwilling to be involved at
the centres and what are the best practices as perceived by teachers/childcare
providers. In addition, these findings would provide rich information on parental
involvement which could help teachers/childcare providers as well as parents on how
to improve parents’ involvement at their centres.
1.6 Operational Definition
1.6.1 Parental Involvement
Parents’ involvement refers to various tasks that are directly related to being involved
with their children at the childcare centres.
18.104.22.168 Parents’ beliefs towards teachers
This refers to parents’ beliefs on how teachers should handle their children and their
responsibility towards the children’s wellbeing. This beliefs also include teachers’
relationships with parents; sharing information on the children.
22.214.171.124 Parents’ efficacy in raising children
This refers to parents’ beliefs on their ability as a parent; whether they can manage
126.96.36.199 Parents’ expectations towards teachers
This refers to parents’ expectations of what teachers and childcare providers should be in
terms of knowledge on handling and managing children.
188.8.131.52 Teachers’ expectations towards parents
This refers to teachers’ expectations on what parents’ role should be.
Refers to childcare centres that receive children from birth to 4 years old.
Refers to childcare centres that receive children from age 4 and above.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter reports studies that were conducted on parental involvements that were
related to best practices at the childcare centres.
2.1 Parental involvement at childcare centres
2.1.1 Teachers and parents belief on parental involvement
It has been generally agreed by researchers on parental involvement that children
whose parents are involved in their learning are more likely to benefit their children in
later life (Plowden report, 1967; Wolfendale &Topping, 1996). These children are
more likely to attend school regularly, perform better in school, earn higher grades,
pass their classes, develop better social skills and go on to post-secondary education.
This involvement also helps parents to understand the aims and activities undertaken
at school (Robson & Smedley, 1996). In addition they are seen as the child’s first
teachers and key resources and this has enabled them to be a significant predictor to
their child’s success in life and well-being (Scottish Office, 1997). Studies have
consistently reported the significant contributions of parents’ involvement at their
child’s childcare centres. For example, Owen, Ware, and Barfoot (2000) found that
when mothers and childcare provider often share information about a child, this
relationship in turn builds an interaction between the provider and the child, the
mother and the child relationship builds into a more sensitive, stimulating and
supportive manner. Rentzou (2011) later found that such interaction that covers the
child’s experiences and behaviour was associated with more positive socialization
process which is likely to benefit the child’s development. Thus, an effective and
practical communication arrangement between teachers/childcare providers and
parents should be the key component of a good parent/school relationship (Atkin &
Bastiani, 1999). Powell (1975, p. 2) stressed that “A lack of horizontal collaboration
between these two Microsystems may cause for the child problems of competitive
demands for time, incompatible models of appropriate behaviours or inconsistent
behavioural styles of intervention.” Thus, parent-teacher interaction about the child is
seen as a means of linking the child’s experience in the home to the centre. What
children learn at home and at pre-school are complementary and transferable
(Wolfendale,1992; Ball, 1994; Rennie, 1996). Thus, childcare centres need to
understand and value this role (Parents’ Charter, 1995).
Earlier studies found that educators/practitioners/teachers were seen as ‘expert’ in
managing young children that there was no need to get parents directly involved at the
centres (Whitmarsh, 2009) and this has led to the belief that parents’ voices were
insignificant to the development of the children at the centres (Vandenbroeck, 2009).
For example, what was being discussed and information relayed by teachers to
parents were perceived as having little influence on childrearing behaviours at home
as parents perceived that childrearing at home and education in school were two
separate issues; parents and teachers had different norms and values regarding it,
difference in cultural communication styles, and differences regarding responsibilities
on childrearing and education (Smit et al., 2005).
2.1.2 Low parental involvement
Studies have identified that parents’ cultural beliefs about parenting goals and its
influence on children’s development tend to shape parents’ involvement in their
children’s development (Chao, 2000; Bhattacharya, 2000; Hwa-Froelich & Westby,
2003). Similarly, parents’ belief and expectations on their children’s education would
decide their involvement in their children’s education. Generally, Asian parents see
teachers as the person who knows what is best for the children and this has made them
less keen in being seen in school (Chan, 2004; Collignon, et al., 2001; Garcia Coll et
al., 2002; Hwa-Froelich & Westby, 2003; Morrow, 1989). Thus, it is clear that both
parents and practitioners differences in understanding and expectations of each other’s
role may lead to the strain relationship between them.
There has also been constant criticism on the lack of parents’ involvement at childcare
centres especially from low income group. They seemed to leave their child at the
hands of the day care providers and little do they get themselves involved with the
happenings at the centres. As such, this resulted in caregiver-parent interaction being
generally low (Britner & Phillips, 1995; Zigler & Turner, 1982). Other reasons given
for the low involvement are that these parents hold more than one job (Children’s
Defence Fund, 2001) and have little time, energy, or other resources necessary for
active participation in their child’s care and education outside the home.
On the other hand, there are parents who reported that they were satisfied with the
program at the childcare centres (Shpancer, et al., 2002) while others perceived the
centre to be of quality (Cryer & Burchinal, 1997) that there was no need for them to
get involved. Similarly, parents who perceived that their children are performing well
at school tend not to be involved (Mendez, 2010). Therefore, it could be concluded
that parents uninvolvement at the centres may have been contributed to their own
doings rather than the caregiver.
Another reason given was that parents who were uninvolved were because they were
not informed about the happenings in the centre (Bradbard, Endsley & Readdick,
1983; Cryer & Burchinal, 1997). How the centre communicates with parents may to a
certain extent determine parents’ involvement in the activities (Stein & Thorkildsen,
1990). For example in Greece, parental involvement is not encouraged at preschools
as they do not believe in allowing parents to get involved and they do not encourage
any communication between them, parents and the community (Rentzou, 2011). Such
involvement is seen by teachers as causing confusion and it is also not supported by
the Greek Law.
According to Epstein (2001) the amount of experiences and practices between parents
and educators at the centre may have an effect on maintaining or increasing the
interest and involvement of parents on their children’s education. Similarly, when
there are differences in language, class or background, problems in communication
may arise leading to the gap between parents and the centre (Swap, 1993). This gap
may contribute to parents’ unsure of their role at home and in the centre and how this
will help in their children’s learning.
In spite of this low concern by parents, it is believed that all parents do want their
child to succeed in life and that they would do their best for their child’s well-being.
2.1.3 High parental involvement
It cannot be denied that there are parents who are interested in their child’s
development at the centre and they find the opportunity to ask questions to gain
understanding of their child’s progress in the centre (Elliot, 2003). These are
educators and parents who believed that through their shared experiences, warm
interaction and meaningful conversation would help in improving their children’s
learning and assist in meeting the daily needs of the child (Smith, 1999). Thus,
frequent and open communication between parents and the educators is the
“foundation for good home-school relationships” (Katz, Aidman, Reese & Clark,
Parents who are involved in their children’s learning generally believed that early
education and their expectations for their children’s achievement are important and
thus this tends to influence their involvement practices (Kim & Rohner, 2002;
Martini, 1995). This belief was found to be more prevalent among Asian parents as
they strongly believed that family values help to build a firm educational foundation
in children (Chao, 1996; Ho, Peng, & Lai, 2001). Thus, they became more involved in
their children’s learning at home which later helps to enhance their children’s
academic and cognitive skills during the preschool years (Huntsinger et al., 1997;
Schneider & Lee, 1990).
3.1 Research Design
The study was conducted with a mixed method approach; qualitative (interview) and
quantitative (questionnaire) methods.
3.2 Population and Sampling
Respondents: This study applied the convenient sampling as most of the centres were
identified based on their performance. For example, government run centres
(PERMATA, KEMAS, PERPADUAN) were recommended by the Directors of the
respective agencies (Table 3.1). This recommendation was based on the annual
performance of the center (KPI). The private, home-base and work-base centres were
selected based on their willingness to be the respondents for this study. It is assumed
that the centres that were willing to be involved in this study were centres where
parental involvement was being practiced and that they were keen to share their
experiences and practice with others. In addition centres that were identified in a
previous study (Siti Noor Ismail & Zahyah Hanafi, 2015) where Partnerships with
Families were found to be average and above were also included in this study. Overall
these centres were those that have good relationships with the children’s parents.
Table 3.1: Respondents for the study
URBAN RURAL RESPONDENT
N0 NAME OF CENTRE PR T & M PA
(Int) CP (Int) (Q)
1 PERMATA 11 1 10 1 10
Centre With PERMATA Curriculum
2 JKM 11 1 20 1 20
3 JPNIN 11 1 20 1 20
4 JPN 11 1 20 1 20
Centres Without PERMATA Curriculum
5 Private Owned Centres (Nursery) 1 1 1 40 1 40
6 Private Owned (Kindergarten) 1 1 1 40 1 40
7 Home-Based Childcare Centre 1 1 2 0 20
8 Work-Based Childcare Centre 2 0 2 20 2 20
Total 97 10 170 11 170
PR= Principal, T = Teachers, CP = Childcare Providers, M = Managers
Int = interview, Q = questionnaire
Instrumentation: A qualitative method using interview (Appendix A) and quantitative
method using questionnaire (Appendix B) were used to capture the required data.
The quantitative approach had survey questionnaire administered to childcare
providers/teachers and parents. The items covered three aspects: parents’ belief
towards childcare providers/teachers managing their children, parents’ belief whether
they are good at raising their children, and teachers’ beliefs towards parental
involvement, teachers’ beliefs whether they are good at managing children, teachers’
expectations of parents (Table 3.2).
Data collection wasalso done through interviews with Heads of the childcare centres
and administering questionnaire to teachers and parents. The interview questions were
constructed based on the findings from the survey questionnaire and also best
practices found in studies on parental involvement at childcare centres.
Table 3.2: Survey-items ITEMS SOURCE
NO PREDICTORS Items (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, Rentzou (2011)
1 Beliefs 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15).
Item (8) Jacob, & Kelley
2 Efficacy Items (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Jacob, & Kelley
Items (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) (2006)
Items: (1, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, Micheal, &
16, 17, 18, 19, 20).
3.4 Data collection procedure
Data collection procedure: A half day visit was done to the centres between 8.00 am
to 1.00 noon to capture parents’ involvement. Most of the childcare centres have their
activities in the morning and by noon the children were put to sleep. They were up
around 3 p.m. and this part of the day was mostly allowed for free play. Semi-
structured interviews were conducted on Managers/Principals. While at the centre the
questionnaire were given to the Manager/Principal to distribute to the teachers and
parents. The questionnaire were either collected or posted to the researcher.
3.5 Data analysis
The interviews were transcribed and analyze with themes to answer the research
questions. Data from the questionnaire were key into the SPSS and analyzed. All the
findings were reported in a descriptive manner (Table 3.3).
Table 3.3: Data analysis
To investigate the best
practices of parental
Research Question Survey questionnaire (Rentzou, 2011)
1 What are teachers’ • Respondents: teachers/childcare providers
• Descriptive analysis
beliefs towards Interview (based on the findings of the survey data)
parental involvement • Descriptive analysis
at their centres?
2 What are parents’ Survey questionnaire (Jacob & Kelley, 2006)
beliefs towards • Respondents: parents
teachers managing • Descriptive analysis
their children at the
3 Do parents belief they Survey questionnaire (Jacob & Kelley, 2006)
are good at raising • Respondents: parents
their children? • Descriptive analysis
4 Do teachers believe Survey questionnaire (Micheal, & White, 1999).
they are good at • Respondents: teachers/childcare providers
managing children? • Descriptive analysis
5 What do teachers Survey questionnaire (Micheal, & White, 1999; Rentzou,
expect from parents? 2011).
• Respondents: teachers/childcare providers
• Descriptive analysis
Interview (based on the findings of the survey data)
• Descriptive analysis
6 What are the factors Interview (based on the findings of the survey data)
that influence parents' • Respondents: Principal/manager
to be involved in the • Descriptive analysis
activities at TASKA
and TADIKA centres?
7 What are the Interview (based on the findings of the survey data)
challenges parents’ • Respondents: Principal/manager
faced in getting • Descriptive analysis
involved at TASKA
and TADIKA centres?
8 How do TASKA and Interview (based on the findings of the survey data)
TADIKA centres • Respondents: Principal/manager
inculcate parental • Descriptive analysis
9 What are the best Interview (based on the findings of the survey data)
practices of parental • Respondents: Principal/manager
involvement at • Descriptive analysis
TASKA and TADIKA
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
This chapter reports the findings from the survey and interview to answer the research
4.1 Demography of the Respondents
There were a total of 169 parents who volunteered to participate in this study. Parents
came from the various childcare centres that represented the Malaysian childcare
industry (Table 4.1).
Table 4.1: Parents’ background
Centres Number of participants %
PERMATA 20 39.0
JKM (TASKA) 66 13.9
JPNIN (TADIKA) 47 100
Private TASKA 23
Private TADIKA 13
From the total number of parents, there were more mothers (68%) compared to fathers
(32.0%) who volunteered to respond to the questionnaire. Most of them aged between
20 –46 with the highest age group from age 31-34 (30.8%), followed by 25-30 years
old (24.9%), 35-40 years old(23.7%), 41-45 years old (9.5%), and the least age group
came from those who are 20-24 years old (5.3%). They are all working parents where
46.7% are employed, 27.2 % are self-employed, 23.7% hold permanent jobs, while
2.4% worked on part-time basis. In terms of education, all the parents had some form
of education with 41.4% at secondary school level, followed by 30.8% with a first
degree, 16.0% had diploma, 1.8% had primary education and 1.8% with master
degree. Generally, parents are educated. Due to parents’ educational level there are
only 3.6% of the parents with low income of less than RM500, 11.2% had salary
between RM501-1000, 23.7% had income between RM1001-1500 and a high
percentage of parents (61.5%) with a salary of more than RM1501 and above.
4.1.2 Childcare providers/teachers/childcare officers
There were 89 respondents representing the early childcare industry (Table 4.2). The
largest group were kindergarten teachers (55.1%) followed by the childcare provider
(30.3%) and a small group comprised childcare officers (14.6%).
Table 4.2: Childcare providers/teachers/childcare officers’ position
Position Number of respondents %
Childcare provider 27 30.3%
Kindergarten teacher 49 55.1%
Childcare officer 13 14.6%
Total 89 100%
In terms of years of experienceworking in childcare centres, the largest group are
between 1-5 years (31.5%) and more than 16 years (31.5%) of work experience
compared to those aged between 6-10 years (19.1%) and 11-15 years (18.0%).
Table 4.3: Years of experience
Years Number of respondents %
1 - 5 28 19.1%
6-10 17 31.5%
>16 years 28
The childcare provider/teacher/childcare office had undergone early childcare training
with 15 (16.9%) having a degree, 53 (59.6%) with a diploma, and 7 (7.9%) with a
certificate. Only 14 (15.7%) with high school qualification but they have already
applied to go for a diploma course as this is the minimum requirement for those who
intend to work in the early childcare industry.
4.2 Research question 1: What are teachers’ beliefs towards parental
involvement at their centres?
Overall, the findings revealed that teachers rated parental involvement at their centres
to be high (mean=4.06). This is because they make an effort to establish and maintain
good relationships with parents (mean=4.53) as they believed that it is parent’s
responsibility to volunteer at the centres (mean=4.35). They also believed that if there
is a problem they can talk about it immediately with parents (mean=4.36). According
to teachers the child’s parent is someone who knows about how to take care of the
child (mean=4.10) thus, they value parents’ opinion on most matters (mean=4.18). In
addition, teachers believed that they are supposed to work closely with parents in
order to gain a better understanding of the children (mean=4.37).
This high parental involvement is created due to the managers/principals positive
approach towards parents. This is expressed by them during the interview:
... kita menganggap semua sebagai satu keluarga...
<... we assumed that that all of us as one family...> (Principal 1)
...hubungan ini bermakna... sangat penting untuk memastikan keselesaan
untuk kita bekerja
<this relationship is meaningful... very important to ensure that we are
comfortable working ...> (Principal 2>
... kita tidak mahu ibu bapa meletakkan jurang dengan menganggap pihak di
TASKA ini sebagai pengasuh... mereka perlu menganggap pengasuh sebagai
ibu bapa kepada anak-anak mereka...
<... we don’t want parents to place a distance by assuming that the nursery is
a childcare provider... they need to look at us as parents to their children...>
Principals also see the importance of partnership during this involvement. They
believed that parental involvement helps in solving problems:
... kita berkongsi tentang perkembangan anak-anak mereka... kanak-kanak
berubah perangai, guru akan bertanya kepada ibu bapa apa yang berlaku di
rumah dan bersama mencari jalan penyelesaian... dengan berkongsi
maklumat hubungan guru dan ibu bapa akan menjadi baik... jika hubungan ini
baik, segala yang dilakukan akan berjalan lancar dan baik juga... jika
hubungan tidak baik, perkara kecil yang timbul akan menjadi masalah kepada
<...we share with them on the children’s development...children change in
their behaviour, teachers will ask parents on what happens at home and
together we find the solution... by sharing information the relationship
between teachers and parents will be better...if this relationship is healthy,
then everything will run smoothly and well too...if this relationship is
unhealthy, when small matters arise it may turn into a problem for both
parties...> (Principal 1)
According to another Principal:
...perkongsian maklumat amat penting untuk perkembangan kanak-kanak
terutamanya dalam membincangkan tentang permasalahan kanak-kanak
seperti masalah emosi... perkongsian dari segi perkembangan anak-anak
adalah penting kerana kita hendak mengetahui keadaan sebenar kanak-
...sharing information is important for the development of children especially
in discussing the children’s problems such as emotional problems... sharing in
terms of children’s development is important as we would like to know their
actual condition ...> (Principal 2)
While another Manager believes that parental involvement helps strengthened the
relationship between educators and parents:
...hubungan yang erat dengan ibu bapa dapat menjalinkan rasa kasih sayang
antara ibu bapa, anak dan para pendidik
<...a strong relationship with parents will build a bonding between parents,
children and educators> (Manager 1)
It is also believed that parents need to cooperate to help monitor their children’s
learning at home:
... ibu bapa harus memberi kerjasama untuk memantau dan memberi
maklumat tentang kanak-kanak ketika di rumah samada pengajaran yang
berlaku di TASKA diteruskan oleh anak-anak mereka di rumah. Ibu bapa tidak
boleh sekadar lepas tangan dalam mendidik anak-anak mereka...
< ... parents are supposed to cooperate so as to monitor and provide
information on their children while they are at home, whether what is taught
at the nursery i )their children being done at home. Parents should not leave it
totally to us to educate> (Manager 2)
Thus, the findings reported that teachers rated parents’ involvement at their centres to
be high. This quantitative finding was supported by the interviews where principals
regarded parents as part of their family at the centre and thus, they should be regarded
as parents to the children and not merely adults taking care of the children. In
addition, the principals believed that it is important to involve the parents at the centre
so as to share information on the children’s development with their parents, example
the child’s behaviour and emotional problems so that childcare providers and teachers
will know the actual condition of the child. Finally, parents’ involvement will develop
into a strong relationship and this in turn will create a link between the centre and the
home where both parents and childcare provider/teacher will ensure a transfer of
knowledge from the centre to the home and vice versa.
4.3 Research question 2: What are parents’ beliefs towards teachers
managing their children at the centres?
The findings revealed that parents’ perception towards their children’s childcare
providers/teachers are high (mean= 4.05). This is evident when the findings reported
parents truly value childcare providers/teachers opinions on most matter (mean=4.18)
because parents believed that the childcare providers/teachers are caring (mean=4.36)
and genuinely care for their children (mean=4.53). In addition, parents believed that
the childcare provider/teacher is someone who knows how to take care of their
children (mean=4.10) and if there is a problem parents can always talk about it
immediately with the childcare providers/teachers (mean=4.36). In addition, parents
know that their children truly enjoys being with his/her childcare providers/teachers
(mean=4.43). Therefore, parents are willing to establish and maintain good
relationships with their children’s childcare providers/teachers (mean=4.53).
Thus, the findings revealed that generally parents do believed that teachers are
capable of managing their children as they rated high on this aspect. This was seen on
how parents value the childcare providers/teachers opinions on most matters that
concerned their children. In addition, parents were found to trust them as parents
revealed that these childcare providers/teachers are approachable and they feel at ease
to discuss any problem should it arise. Finally, parents know that their children enjoy
being at the centres.
4.4 Research question 3: Do parents believedthey are good at raising their
The findings revealed that parents generally believed that they are only average in
terms of parenting skills (mean=3.90). This is because parents believed they do not
have the ability to influence their children’s educational outcome (mean=3.93),
neither do they perceived themselves as the motivating factor to influence their
children to do well in school (mean=3.23), and in addition, parents believed they do
not meet their own personal expectations in caring for their own child (mean=3.85).
The findings reported that parents rated themselves as being just average when it
comes to raising their own children. Parents believed that they are not able to
influence their children’s educational outcome and neither do they see themselves as a
person who is capable to motivate or influence their child to do well in school. Thus,
they feel they do not meet their own expectations when it comes to caring for their
4.5 Research question 4: Do teachers believed they are good at managing
The findings revealed that teachers do believed that they are good at managing
children (mean=4.00) because they reported that they have the passion for working
with children (mean=4.53), they are compassionate and sympathetic towards children
(mean=4.60), they have the qualities of integrity and fairness in dealing with children
(mean=4.38), and they value and respect children’s opinion (mean=4.27). In terms of
teaching, they believed that they give clear instructions to their children (mean=4.34),
incorporate ICT in their teaching (mean=4.42), well prepared and plans ahead
(mean=4.29), and are well informed of the syllabus and resource materials
(mean=4.03). According to them these are the qualities of a good early childcare
Teachers rated themselves as high on terms of good at managing children. They were
found to be passionate in their job as they felt they werecompassionate and
sympathetic towards children. They even rated themselves as a person who has
integrity and is fair in their treatment on the children and will respect children’s
opinion. Finally, they are well informed of the syllabus and the teaching resource.
4.6 Research question 5: What do teachers expect from parents?
Based on the findings teachers were found to have high expectations of parents
(mean=4.23). Teachers believed parents should be caring (mean=4.76) and should
have the knowledge and skills needed to be a good parent (mean=4.48). In addition,
teachers expect parentsas someone teachers can rely on (mean=4.01), and parents
need to set aside time everyday for their children to practice homework (mean=4.04).
According to Managers childcare providers’ expectations towards parents are:
... peranan ibu bapa di TASKA ialah memberi kerjasama dalam program
anjuran di pusat
<... parent’s role at the nursery is to work together in programs organised by
the centre> (Manager 4)
...ibu bapa seharusnya bekerjasama serta melibatkan diri bersama-sama
dalam setiap program
<... parents should work together and be involved with every
In addition, childcare providers expect parents to continue at home what is being
taught at the nursery:
... perlu mempraktikkan apa yang dipelajari di rumah...
<need to practice at home what is being learned...> (Manager 5).
Similarly, Principals believed that teachers’ too have expectations towards parents:
... ibu bapa harus memberi kerjasama untuk memantau dan memberi
maklumat tentang kanak-kanak ketika di rumah... samada pengajaran yang
berlaku di TADIKA diteruskan oleh mereka di rumah
<parents must cooperate by monitoring and providing information on
children when they are at home...whether what they learned at the
kindergarten is being followed up at home...>(Principal 3)
Teachers also expect parents to help instil certain behaviour in their children:
...sesi toilet training memang memerlukan kerjasama daripada ibu bapa...guru
akan beritahu ibu bapa supaya mencuba di rumah dan mereka akan saling
bertukar maklumat... ini berterusan sehinggalah kanak-kanak tersebut tidak
lagi perlu memakai lampin pakai buang...
<toilet training requires parents’ cooperation... teachers will inform parents
to try at home and will exchange feedback... this will continue until the child
does not need to wear diapers anymore...>(Principal 4)
The findings revealed that teachers reported that they were high in their expectations
towards parents. They believed that parents should have knowledge and skill to be a
good parent and they also looked upon parents as someone they can rely on. The
principals and managers see that parents play a role at their centres where parents can
work together in programs and activities. They also believed that parents must
collaborate with childcare providers/teachers so that parents can monitor and provide
information on their children at home and inform the centre.
4.7 Research question 6: What are the factors that influence parents to be
involved in the activities at TASKA and TADIKA?
Based on the transcript from the interview with parents these are the reasons for their
involvement at the centres:
Parents believed that the 4 hours set by the PERMATA program is not enough so they
get involved more than the required hours:
... masa 4 jam tidak cukup di TASKA... tidak cukup kerana anak-anak di
peringkat TASKA masih memerlukan perhatian yang lebih dari ibu bapa...
<... the 4 hours at the nursery is not enough... not enough because children at
the nursery level still need more attention from parents...> (Manager 3)
Teachers too found that there are parents who are at the centres more than 4 hours.
... kebanyakan memenuhi 4 jam ... dan ada yang lebih dari 4 jam
<... most fulfil 4 hours... and there are those with more the 4 hours...>(Manager 3)
One of the factors that influence parents to be at the nursery is that the PERMATA
program requires them to be involved 4 hours with the children at the center:
...menjadi syarat di PERMATA, sekiranya ibu bapa ingin menghantar anak ke
sini, mereka wajib melibatkan diri selama 4 jam...
<... it is a requirement by PERMATA that parents who wished to enrol their
children here must fulfil the 4 hours of involvement...> (Manager 6)
There are parents who are willing to be involved for the sake of their children:
... ibu bapa melibatkan diri kerana tidak mahu anak mereka dibuang dari
<... parents get involved because they don’t want their child out of the
PERMATA centre...>(Manager 4)
Some parents do it because they feel they should contribute something in return for
the low fee charged by PERMATA:
...ada setengah ibu bapa berasa seronok untuk melibatkan diri kerana bagi
mereka kos yang mereka keluarkan untuk anak mereka di sini (PERMATA)
murah ... tidak salah jika mereka menyumbang pada pusat ini...
<... there are parents who are happy to get involved because the cost for
placing their child at PERMATA is cheap...so it is not wrong to contribute to
the centre...> (Manager 5)
There are parents who are forced into it:
... pada mulanya mereka tidak mahu terlibat...tetapi apabila melihat ibu
bapa lain boleh mereka merasa segan dan akhirnya turut melibatkan diri...
<... initially they were not involved ... but in the end they did after seeing other
parents’ involvement...> (Principal 5)
Centres are sensitive to the constraints faced by parents who would like to get
involved, therefore steps are taken to ensure parents’ convenience:
... selalunya pihak ibu bapa akan ditanya terlebih dahulu tentang masa lapang
mereka dan setelah mendapat kata persetujuan atas tarikh dan masa tertentu,
barulah program akan dijalankan...
<... normally parents are consulted on the days they are free and with their
consent on the date and time, a progam is then run... (Principal 6)
... sebolehnya aktiviti yang dirancang akan dijalankan di luar waktu kerja ibu
<... preferably activities are organised after working hours...> (Principal 7)
The findings from the interviews revealed that the factors that influenced parents to be
involved were they felt that the 4 hours of their involvement at the centre was not
enough as they felt that their presence there should be more as the children needed
them. There were parents who were willing to put in more hours for their children as
they don’t want their children to have to leave the PERMATA centres, while others
felt they should put in more hours in return for the low fee charged and finally parents
do it because other parents were doing it.
4.8 Research question 7: What are the challenges parents faced in getting
involved at TASKA and TADIKA centres?
According to the managers/principals time factor is the biggest challenge for parents
to get involved.
... ibu bapa tidak dapat memenuhi 4 jam tersebut... disebabkan faktor masa
<... parents are unable to fulfil the 4 hours... due to their working hours...>
... jadual kerja ibu bapa yang menjejaskan penglibatan mereka...
<... work schedule is a hindrance to parents’ involvement...>
The findings revealed that the main challenge faced by parents to be involved at the
TASKA and TADIKA was time factor as most of them worked during the operating
hours at the centre and this posed a problem to get away from work.
4.9 Research question 8: How do TASKA and TADIKA centres inculcate
The findings revealed that TASKA/TADIKA centres encouraged parents’
participation and involvement in their centres (mean=4.46), organized orientation
session for children and parents (mean=4.27) and communicate with parents
efficiently in exchanging information about the centre.
During the interview, managers/principals informed that centres organised courses on
parenting to emphasise on the importance of parental involvement:
... adakan kursus kepada ibu bapa tentang pendidikan awal kanak-kanak...
penceramah menerangkan tentang kepentingan penglibatan supaya ibu bapa
sedar akan peranan mereka...
<... we have a course on early childcare education for parents... the speaker
explained the importance of involvement so that parents are aware of their
roles...> (Manager 10)
Centres also include family members in their definition of parental involvement. This
is to ensure that everyone in the family can get involved at the centre:
... anak yang lebih dewasa hadir untuk bersama-sama melakukan aktiviti
bersama adik mereka... mengganti ibu bapa bagi sesi penglibatan...
<... elder siblings attend so as to be involved with the activities of their
younger sibling... to represent their parents during the
Centres encouraged parents to participate by making it convenient especially for
mothers with babies:
... bagi ibu yang masih ada bayi kecil, mereka juga akan membawa bersama
semasa datang ke pusat...
<... as for mothers with babies, they may bring them along to the centre...>
Centres ensure that parents feel they are important stakeholders by taking into
consideration parents’ opinions and views:
... pendapat ibu bapa sentiasa diambil kira... dan keputusan yang diambil
adalah berdasarkan suara majority...
<... parents’ opinions are taken into account... and decisions are made based
on majority’s ...> (Principal 8)
... pendapat ibu bapa akan diambil kira dan akan dibincang dalam kalangan
pendidik terlebih dahulu sebelum diputuskan dalam mesyuarat...
<... parents’ opinions are taken into account and discussed among the
teachers first before the final say in the meeting...> (Manager 3)
Parents are required to attend program on children’s progress:
... program Hari Perkembangan... pendidik akan menceritakan dan
menunjukkan segala hasil kerja anak-anak dalam jangka masa 6 bulan...
wajib dihadiri oleh ibu bapa...
<... Progress Day program... educators will inform and display the children’s
work for the past 6 months... its compulsory for parents to attend...>
In addition, procedures such as:
... ibu bapa perlu tulis tentang keadaan anak pada waktu pagi sebelum mereka
tinggalkan anak di pusat...
<... parents are required to write on their children’s wellbeing in the morning
before leaving their children at the centre...>(Manager 9)
pada waktu pagi, ibu bapa akan tulis keadaan anak mereka sebelum ke
TADIKA...kemudian pendidik akan tulis keadaan anak tersebut semasa di
pusat dan akan dibaca oleh ibu bapa semasa mereka di rumah
<... in the morning, parents will write the condition of their child before going
to the centre... then teachers will write the condition of the child while she is at
the centre and parents will read it when they are at home...> (Principal 5)
Centres ensure that parents feel at ease when they come to the centre:
... cara berkomunikasi sesama ibu bapa dan juga dengan guru tidak terlalu
formal... supaya wujud hubungan baik...
<... the way parents communicate among themselves and also with teachers
are not too formal... so that there exists good relationship...>(Principal 4)
... hubungan ibu bapa dan pengasuh adalah baik... tidak pernah berlaku apa-
apa insiden yang tidak baik...
<... relationship between parents and childcare providers are good... there
has never been any unpleasant incident...> (Principal 5)
Programs at the centre are held during weekends so as to ensure parents can be
involved at the centre:
... mengadakan program pada hujung minggu di mana ibu bapa semua
<... programs are held during weekends so all parents can attend together...>
Centres prepare a schedule for parents to come to the centres:
... menetapkan tarikh-tarikh tertentu untuk ibu bapa hadir ke aktiviti yang
<... certain dates are fixed for parents to attend the activities that will be
carried out...>(Principal 2)
Centres prepare a daily log book to ensure parents know what happens with their
children at the centre:
...perkongsian maklumat adalah melalui buku log harian yang perlu dibawa
dan diisi oleh guru dan ibu bapa setiap hari. Pada waktu pagi, ibu bapa akan
tulis keadaan anak mereka sebelum menghantar ke TADIKA. Kemudian
guruakan tulis keadaan anak mereka semasa diberada dalam TADIKA dan ini
dibaca oleh ibu bapa semasa mereka di rumah...
<... information sharing is done through the log book which needs to be
carried and done daily by parents and teachers. In the morning parents will
write down the condition of their child before sending her/him to the
kindergarten. Later the teacher will write the happenings of the child while at
the kindergarten and parents will read it at home...> (Principal 1)
The findings revealed that TASKA and TADIKA inculcate parental involvement by
encouraging parents to participate in activities and programs at the centre and also
organized orientation sessions for children and parents. All these were done through
communicating with parents efficiently by exchanging information about the centre.
In addition, centres organized parenting courses, include family members to be
involved at the centre, take into consideration parents’ views and opinions, make
parents’ involvement a requirement at the centre, make parents feel at ease when they
are at the centre, set schedule for parents’ visits to the centre, and finally, create a log
book at the centre so that parents know what is happening in the centre.
4.10 Research question 9: What are the best practices of parental involvement
at TASKA and TADIKA centres?
Managers/principals believed that these are the best practices of parental involvement:
Centres need to encourage parents to communicate:
... ibu bapa perlu berkomunikasi bukan sahaja bersama anak mereka malah
dengan anak-anak orang lain untuk mengetahui perkembangan anak masing-
<... parents need to communicate not only with their own child but with other
children too so that they will know the progress of these children...>
... apabila ibu bapa berbual dengan anak yang lain, mereka dapat mengetahui
bagaimana anak-anak yang lain dapat bersikap sedemikian dan cara tersebut
dapat diterapkan pula kepada anak mereka... maka kami sentiasa
menyarankan agar ibu bapa sentiasa bergaul sesama mereka untuk
<... when parents talk to other children they will learn to know how these
children behave in certain manner and they can use it to instil in their own
children... therefore we always inform parents that they should always mingle
among themselves so as to enhanced closer relationship...> (Manager 1)
... ibu bapa juga dapat memahami anak-anak mereka boleh menguasai tahap
,..parents too can understand that their children can master certain level...>
... pengasuh juga akan merasa selesa untuk berkomunikasi dengan ibu bapa
jika mereka sering menghadiri diri dalam penglibatan di sekolah...
<... childcare providers too feel at ease to communicate with parents if they
are consistently present involved in the school...> (Principal 3)
...selalunya diakhir perjumpaan dengan ibu bapa, kami akan meminta ibu
bapa memberi kerjasama demi perkembangan kanak-kanak di Permata ini...
<... normally at the end of each gathering with parents, we will request that
parents cooperate for the sake of the children’s development at this
PERMATA...> (Manager 2)
...pendapat dan cadangan daripada pihak ibu bapa juga masih boleh diambil
kira untuk sebarang penambahbaikan kepada TASKA PERMATA sama ada
dari segi pentadbiran, program dan perhubungan dengan ibu bapa...
<...parents’ views and suggestions in terms of administration, program and
relationships with parents may also be taken into consideration for the
betterment of the TASKA PERMATA...> (Manager 4)
Centres need to organise programs that are parent-centred:
... program yang melibatkan bapa sahaja juga diadakan untuk mewujudkan
kemesraan antara mereka...
<... there are also programs for fathers alone to create friendliness among
them...> (Manager 5)
... yang paling berkesan adalah ketika ibu bapa bersama anak-anak
melakukan aktiviti kerana pada masa itu anak-anak akan rasa ibu bapa
mengambil berat tentangnya...
<... the most effective is when parents are together with their children doing
an activity because it is at that moment that children will feel that their
parents are concerned about them...>(Principal 5)
...mengadakan program yang ringan seperti hari keluarga dan BBQ yang
dapat mewujudkan kemesraan serta merapatkan jurang antara ibu bapa dan
<... set programs that are “light” such as family day and BBQ that can create
friendliness as well as close the gap between parents and educators (Manager
...mengadakan aktiviti bersama anak-anak di mana ibu bapa perlu duduk dan
membacakan buku cerita kepada anak-anak...
<... set activity with the children where parents need to sit and read story book
to their children...>(Manager 6)
... 3 hari mulai hari pendaftaran adalah hari orientasi untuk kanak-kanak dan
pada hari pertama pendaftaran semua ibu bapa akan di gabungkan termasuk
yang lama dan juga bagi yang baru daftar. Program orientasi ini bertujuan
merapatkan hubungan antara kaum ibu bapa dan juga untuk pendidik menilai
peribadi ibu bapa masing-masing.
<... 3 days from the day of registration are orientation days for children and
parents...the first day is registration where parents who just registered gather
including existing ones.... The objective of the orientation program is to bring
closer the relationship between parents and also to allow the educators to
gauge each parent’s personality...>(Manager 10)
Centres need to be sensitive to parents’ needs:
... ibu bapa lebih suka melakukan aktiviti di luar berbanding aktiviti di
<... parents prefer to participate in activities that are outdoor rather than
indoor...> (Principal 2)
...perjumpaan tidak formal diadakan hari-hari... perjumpaan formal yang
menurut prosedur, 6 kali setahun... diadakan pada hari Khamis, 3.30 petang
dimana ibu bapa tamat waktu kerja. Ibu bapa yang tidak boleh hadir boleh
diwakilkan oleh orang lain...
<... informal meetings with parents are held everyday... formal meetings 6
times a year according to procedure... held on Thursdays, 3.30 p.m. where
parents would have finished working. Parents who can’t be present can be
represented...> (Principal 9)
Sharing of information between centres and parents
... ibu bapa, anak dan pendidik dianggap sebagai sebuah keluarga. Sebagai
contoh, sekiranya anak berada di luar kawalan, ibu bapa akan berkongsi
masalah tersebut dengan kami dan kami akan memberi nasihat dan membantu
ibu bapa untuk mencari jalan penyelesaiannya...
<... parents, children and educators are seen as a family. For example, if a
child is out of control then parents can share this problem with us and we can
advise and help parents to find a solution...> (Principal 5)
...berkongsi tentang perkembangan anak-anak mereka...
<... share on the development of their children...>(Principal 5)
...melalui pemberitahuan dan perbincangan yang akan dijalankan bersama-
sama ibu bapa sebelum sebarang program dijalankan...
<... before any program is launch there will be a briefing and discussion
between parents and us...> (Manager 3)
... pada masa aktiviti dijalankan, pendidik dan ibu bapa akan mengambil
kesempatan untuk berbincang tentang anak-anak mereka. Melalui aktiviti ini,
ianya mengeratkan lagi hubungan antara pendidik dan ibu bapa...
<... while the activity is on parents and educators will take this opportunity to
discuss about their children...> (Manager 6)
...kami sediakan takwim dan turut tampalkannya di papan tanda...Sebarang
pemberitahuan, memo atau notis juga turut ditampalkan di papan tanda dari
masa ke semasa...
<... we set the yearly planner and placed it on the notice board... any
announcement, memo or from time to time notice should also be pinned on the
notice board...> (Manager 6>
... program yang tertera di takwim akan diterangkan dalam mesyuarat di
mana ia merangkumi program harian, mingguan, bulanan dan juga tahunan...
<... programs that are placed on the notice board will be explained in the
meeting where this consists of daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly
programs...> (Principal 7)
... takwim akan diedarkan pada awal tahun. Sebarang aktiviti selalunya akan
diberitahu semasa mesyuarat PIBG...
<... the planner will be distributed at the beginning of the year. Any activity
will normally be informed during the PTA meeting...> (Principal 7)
... program yang tertera di takwim akan diterangkan dalam mesyuarat di
mana ia merangkumi program harian, mingguan, bulanan dan juga tahunan...
<... program that are placed in the planner will be briefed during the meeting
where it covers the daily, weekly, monthly and also yearly
... ibu bapa dan pihak pengasuh akan bertukar maklumat tentang anak di
TASKA dan juga di rumah. Dari situ ibu bapa dan pengasuh dapat menilai
tahap perkembangan anak tersebut...
<... parents and childcare providers will exchange information concerning the
children at the TASKA and also at home. It is from here that parents and
childcare providers get to assess the child’s level of progress...> (Manager 8)
... pihakpengasuh akan bertanya tentang kelakuan anak di rumah. Kemudian
pengasuh pula akan menceritakan sebarang perubahan yang berlaku pada
anak sepanjang berada di TASKA dan ibu bapa akan memberi respon atas
<... childcare provider will ask about the child’s behaviour at home. Then
they will relate the changes that happened while the child was at the TASKA
and parents will give the feedback on these changes...> (Manager 8)
... pendidik memainkan peranan menjelaskan kepada ibu bapa peranan
mereka sebagai pendidik dan konsep belajar di Permata supaya ibu bapa
tidak celaru dan akan faham....
<... educators play an important role in explaining to parents their role as
educators and the learning concept at PERMATA so that parentswill not get
confused and will understand...> (Manager 9)
... kami akan mendapatkan maklum balas daripada ibu bapa tentang apa
yang diingini oleh anak-anak mereka...
<... we will get feedback from parents on the needs of their children...>
... semasa Hari Perkembangan Kanak-kanak, mereka akan berbincang dan
berkongsi maklumat tentang emosi kanak-kanak tersebut dan kemahiran-
kemahiran yang dikuasai selama tempoh tertentu...
<... during the “Hari Perkembangan Kanak-kanak” they will share and discuss
information on children’s emotions and skills children acquire during certain
duration...> (Manager 10)
... pihakTASKA akan menerangkan tentang cara pembelajaran yang sebenar di
TASKA yang mengetengahkan cara didikan awal kanak-kanak yang betul di mana
mereka lebih kepada bermain sambil belajar...
<... the TASKA management will give a briefing on the correct ways of learning at
the TASKA level which highlights the correct way of educating children where it is
more towards learning through play...> (Manager 11)
The interviews revealed that the best practices reported by the principals and
managers were: centres need to encourage parents to communicate with the childcare
providers/teachers when they are in the centres, centres need to organize programs
that are parent-centred, be more sensitive to parents’ needs, and share information
between centres and parents on children’s development.
DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The objective of this study is to investigate the best practices of parent’s involvement
in the childcare centres (TASKA & TADIKA) in Malaysia. In order to discover what
the best practices are, the data was collected through in-depth interviews with
Principals/Managers and survey questionnaire were given to teachers, childcare
providers and parents to illicit their views on the matter. Nine research questions were
constructed to help in this investigation.
5.1.1 Parental Involvement
The results showed that teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers rated parental
involvement at their centres to be high, rated themselves as high in managing
children, have high expectations of parents, and also reported that they encouraged
parents’ participation and involvement in their centres. Similarly, parents reported that
their beliefs towards teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers in managing their
children to be high, however, they perceived themselves as just average in terms of
raising their own children.
5.1.2 Parental Involvement Practices: communication
The foremost important practice that centres agreed as the best parental involvement
practice is the communication between the centre, parents and children. Parents need
to be encouraged to communicate with other children and other parents while they are
at the centre. When parents talk to other childrenthey will learn to know how these
children behave in certain manner and they can use it to instil in their own children.
When parents talk to other parents they will develop closer relationship. Therefore,
centres need to always inform parents that they should mingle among themselves so
as to enhance closer relationship.
Communication is identified by Atkin and Bastiani (1999) as the key component of a
good parent/school relationship. It is also seen as a means of linking the child’s
experience in the home to the centre where mothers and childcare provider share
information about the child’s behaviour and development. Therefore, centres should
always remind parents of their involvement at the centre.
5.1.3 Parental Involvement Practices: beliefs
The findings from the survey revealed that teachers/childcare providers/childcare
officers believed that parental involvement at their centres is high. This is because
they believed that parents should visit and be involved with their children’s activities
as parents’ consistent presences do make a lot of difference to their children’s
learning. This belief is similar to those found in Plowden Report (1967) and
Wolfendale and Topping (1996) and such beliefs seemed to be consistent till today.
Thus, belief is an important indicator to successful parental involvement. Once
teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers believed that parental involvement is
the key to children’s learning and development then, they are more likely to welcome
parents to their centres. Teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers in this study
believed that it is parent’s responsibility to volunteer at their centres, if there is a
problem they can immediately discuss with parents; they also believed that the child’s
parent is someone who knows about how to take care of her/his child, and the most
important belief is that teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers value parents’
opinion on most matters concerning their children. Thus, this element of belief needs
to be instilled in teachers/childcare providers because they are the key player in a
successful parental involvement activities and programs.
This belief is further supported through the interviews with Principals and Managers
who reported that the high parental involvements in their centres are due to their
positive approaches towards parents. They see parents not only as stakeholders but as
part of one family, and parents on their part see the adults at the centres as parents to
their children. Thus, the relationship becomes meaningful for both parties.
Such strong bonding is built on the beliefs that such relationships will help in
children’s learning. For example, when parents are in the centres there is sharing of
information with teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers; discussion on
children’s problems such as emotional unrest and ways to solve them. This also
presents an opportunity for teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers to enquire
about the children’s behaviours and learning at home. Whether what is being learned
at the centre is being continued at home with parent-child discussing it. Thus, this
involvement also helps parents to understand the learning and activities that are being
carried out in the centre (Robson & Smedley, 1996). In other words, parents can help
monitor their children’s learning at home and not totally leave it to the
teachers/childcare providers. This continuity involvement by parents from the centre
to the home will help build the parent-child relationship into a more sensitive,
stimulating and supportive interaction (Owen, Ware, & Barfoot, 2000) which in turn
is linked to a more positive socialization process and this is how it will benefit the
child’s development (Rentzou, 2011). Smith (1999) too reported that this type of
parents also believed that through this shared experiences, warm interactions and
meaningful conversation with teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers will help
improve their children’s learning and also meet the needs of their children. Similarly,
frequent and open communication between them helps build the “foundation for good
home-school relationships” (Katz, Aidman, Reese, & Clark, 1996).
5.1.4 Parental Involvement Practices: high regards
Such strong teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers-parents relationship is
unlikely to exist if parents don’t have high regards of the adults in the centres. Based
on the findings, parents reported that they believed that teachers/childcare
providers/childcare officers can manage their children well. Parents value
teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers’ opinions concerning their children,
believed that they cared for the children, believed that they are the best people to take
care of the children, and they are approachable. But the most important factor is
parents know that their children enjoy being at the centre. All these positive attitude
of parents towards the teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers may translate
into a positive effect on parents too. According to Elliot (2003) parents are more
likely to take this opportunity to ask questions at the centre so as to gain a better
understanding of their child’s progress which may lead to influencing parents to get
more involved at the centre (Kim & Rohner, 2002; Martini, 1995). Thus, when
parents have high regards for teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers they are
more likely to listen and learn rather than shy away.
5.1.5 Parental Involvement Practices: low self-efficacy
Parents’ high regards of the teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers could be
linked to parents’ feeling of less competent in raising their own children. The findings
showed that parents generally believed that they have only average knowledge and
skill in raising their children. Therefore, this could have encouraged them to seek the
teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers by involving themselves with the
activities and programs at the centre. In return teachers/childcare providers/childcare
officers are happy to help as the findings revealed that teachers/childcare
providers/childcare officers too have high expectations of parents. They believed that
parents should have knowledge and skills to be a good parent and this may have led
them to organise and prepare parent-centred activities to provide opportunities for
parents to learn at the centre. To ensure parents will understand their role and
responsibility as parents, centres need to organise parenting skill courses to educate
parents on the importance of parental involvement and early childcare education.
5.1.6 Parental Involvement Practices: participation
However, all these initiatives by teachers/childcare providers/childcare officers would
not translate into successful parental involvement if parents are unable to participate.
As mentioned by the principals and managers in the interview, their greatest challenge
is to bring the parents into the centre. Most of the parents are employed and this posed
as an obstacle to their involvement at the centres even though they are willing to be
involved. Therefore, centres need to plan strategies that could help overcome this
hindrance. Based on the interviews, several steps have been taken and were found to
help reduce parents’ attendance issues. Centres have included other members of the
family to represent parents at the centre. This step is seen as a positive approach to
getting all family members involved and not just parents. In addition, mothers with
babies are also allowed to bring them along so as not to use it as an excuse not to be
Centres also showed that they take parents’ involvement seriously. In terms of
organizing activities and programs, parents were consulted on the most convenient