An Exploratory Investigation into Fathers' Perspectives of School Readiness.
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In recent years, the global focus on Early Child Development (ECD) has delivered mounting evidence of it being one of the most rewarding areas of investment a country can make. A central outcome of quality ECD is to provide sufficient support to enable a child to arrive at Grade 1 ready to learn. Environmental factors impacting on child development and school readiness have thus been under increasing scrutiny. Although studies have delivered evidence of fathers' unique contribution to ECD, fathers' impact on a child's school readiness is often overlooked. The overall aim of this thesis was to report on the findings of the exploratory investigation on fathers' perspectives of school readiness. All relevant ethics principles were observed in the study. The study received ethics clearance from the Senate Research Committee (HS/16/5/41). The study followed an explorative design incorporating qualitative methodologies for data collection and analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of nine fathers residing in Cape Town, who had full parental rights and responsibilities for their child in Grade R. Thematic analysis produced three themes with subthemes. The core findings suggested that first, fathers did not have a good fund of knowledge about school readiness and child development. Personal context and subjective experiences impacted or informed their views and beliefs about school readiness. Second, feedback from teachers and professionals was highly valued and was a primary source of information about their children's school readiness. Third, facilitating school readiness involved different systems and role players of which fathers are important role players. It emerged that in some ways the role of fathers remains undervalued and in others, fathers' ability to participate is diminished due to their fund of knowledge, gendered patterns to child rearing and engagement with school systems.