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      Pre-primary education is the education given to younger learners before the age of entering primary education (6 years). Early childhood education or pre-primary education is defined by the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2012) as education given educational settings for children aged 3 through 5 years in preparing their entry into primary school. It includes “ota akara’’ popularly named in some parts of the country, the crèche, the nursery and the kindergarten. These types of education settings are currently provided by private entrepreneurs. Early childhood education can be traced to the efforts of prominent European education experts like: John Amos Comenius (1590-1690), J. J. Rousseau (1782 – 1788), Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1748-1827) and Friedrich Froebel (1782-1751). These experts championed the right of children to early education. Many educationist and scholars including Maduewesi (1992) and Fafunwa (1967) support and advocate for the views held by these earlier educators that there is need for good early childhood education to help students’ develop their full potentials.

      The first pre-primary education was founded in 1816 by Robert Owen. The early experts in childhood education were anxious to see the children of the rich and the poor have the opportunity and privilege to be educated. With the phasing out of infant classes, some parents began to feel the need for nursery schools; the demand for nursery education was however very low in Nigeria until recently. A study for the provision of nursery education in Lagos conducted by Makinwa–Adebusoye (1981) showed that only 7.7% out of 948 parents send their children to nursery education or a group care center. In a similar study conducted by Orebanjo (1981) showed that working mothers in Ile-Ife which is a semi-urban area, prefer keeping their children with members of the extended family for childcare rather than sending them to day care centers or nursery schools. This invariably showed that parents at that time did not value pre-primary education. Consequently the need arose for educational administrators, educational planners, policy makers, as the then military governments of Nigeria realized the need for pre-primary education in the country and gave official recognition to it in the National Policy on Education (1977) and revised 1981, 1998; subsequently revised again under elected civilian governments in 2004, 2007, and 2012. The operational objectives of pre-primary education as stated in the National Policy of Education (FRN 2012) include:

      Effecting a smooth transmission from the home to the school;

      Preparing the child for the primary level of education;

      Providing adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at work;

      Inculcating in the child the spirit of enquiry and creativity through the exploration of nature and environment, art, music and playing with toys, etc;

      Develop a sense of co-operation and team spirit;

      Inculcating social norms;

      Learn good habits, especially good health habits; and

      Teaching rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes, forms etc. through play.

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