Title page for ETD etd-10172009-122119

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Balton, Sadna
URN etd-10172009-122119
Document Title Family-based activity settings of typically developing three-to-five-year old children in a low-income African context
Degree PhD
Department Communication Pathology
Advisor Name Title
Prof E Alant Co-Supervisor
Dr K Uys Supervisor
  • natural environments
  • family-centered
  • activity settings
Date 2009-09-01
Availability unrestricted
The transition towards family-centered practice in early childhood intervention has shifted the focus from looking at the child in isolation towards understanding the child in context. The primary context for the child’s development is the family setting which is inextricably linked to the family’s culture, beliefs and values. The cultural context is transmitted through activity settings which make up the everyday experiences and events that involve the child’s interactions with various people and the environment. Activity settings are a part of daily life and include activities like eating dinner, bath time, listening to stories and getting ready for school. Furthermore, activity settings represent how families can and do structure their time, based on tradition, the orientations provided by culture and the socio-economic system within which they live. Intervention goals that fit easily into these settings are more likely to be adopted and practised, as they are less likely to disrupt the daily functioning and coherence of the family.

While there is a clear emphasis in the literature on developing intervention approaches that are applicable to families from diverse cultural contexts, little is known about the beliefs and practices of low-income urban families in South Africa. Children in Africa have frequently been judged against Euro-American norms and standards, where the aim has been to change instead of understand the context in which children live. This study therefore aims to identify everyday activities that provide children with varied opportunities for learning and development within the natural environment of the family context.

A descriptive design using structured interviews was utilised to obtain information about the activity settings that children aged 3-5 years engaged in. Face-to-face interviews with 90 caregivers were conducted, utilising a self-constructed interview schedule consisting of a written list of closed and open-ended questions. This approach was chosen as it holds no bias against respondents who have varied literacy levels. The interview schedule was developed through a process of consultation with parents/caregivers from the Soweto community, using focus group discussions. The results provide information on the types of activities that children participate in, the frequency of participation, the partners involved, as well as the purpose of the activities. Caregiver perceptions on the importance of activities were also obtained through closed and open-ended questions.

© 2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Balton, S 2009, Family-based activity settings of typically developing three-to-five-year old children in a low-income African context, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10172009-122119/ >


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