Pre-school education: parents' preferences, knowledge and expectations

Hugh Foot, Christine Howe, Bill Cheyne, Melody Terras, Catherine Rattray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Constructive partnerships between pre-school service providers and parents need to be established on the basis of a clear understanding of what parents want and expect for their children from pre-school provision. A questionnaire survey to 911 parents across Scotland, together with in-depth interviews with 91 parents in the Glasgow area, elicited information concerning preferences, beliefs, knowledge and expectations when choosing suitable provision. Results showed that parents prioritise the safety and care of their children above all else and that, beyond this, selection of type of provision (playgroup, local authority or private nursery) depends upon the relative value they attached to education, setting, convenience and meeting parents' needs. Results are consistent with the theory of planned behaviour that predicting actual choice of provision depends upon parents' knowledge, strength of desire to place their child, social support and perceived control over available options.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-204
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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