Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Parent Play Beliefs, Play as a Teaching Technique, and Teachers’ Pedagogical Knowledge, and Children’s Early Numeracy and Literacy Skills: Evidence from Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Zekarias, E.Z., Zhao, W. (2023) Parent Play Beliefs, Play as a Teaching Technique, and Teachers’ Pedagogical Knowledge, and Children’s Early Numeracy and Literacy Skills: Evidence from Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 11(1), 270-292.,

Access: FREE/Open Access

Publication year


study description


core topic(s)

Early Literacy , Early Relational Health

Population Characteristics

International , Kindergarten , Toddler/Preschool

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Language and Literacy Development , Parent Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs , Parent-Child Relationships/Interactions , Play


This study examined the associations between parent play beliefs, play as a teaching technique, teachers’ pedagogical knowledge, and early numeracy and literacy skills in six-year-old children who attend preschool education.


Preschool education

outcomes evaluated

Parent play beliefs, play as a teaching technique, pedagogical knowledge, and early numeracy/literacy skills


Preschool programs in the Wolaita zone of Southern Ethiopia (organized into 16 rural Woredas and 6 reform towns; schools are geographically dispersed to different corners) in the academic year 2020/21.


A correlation study design, under a quantitative approach, was used. Participants included 216 children (106 male and 110 female), 215 teachers (99 male and 116 female), and 210 parents (135 male and 75 female). The Parent Play Beliefs Scale, preschool teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge scale, and literacy and numeracy test were used.

sample size

n=216 (children); n=215 (teachers); n=210 (parents)


  • Measure of Play Beliefs: Parent Play Beliefs Scale (PPBS) manual and scoring guide
  • Measure of Early Numeracy and Literacy Skills: The Tanzania Literacy and Numeracy Test (Uwezo Tanzania, 2013), the EGRA and EGMA Assessments in Ethiopia, and other assessments on early literacy and numeracy skills were modified by the researcher.
  • Measures of Pedagogical Knowledge: questionnaire including background information (ie current teaching experience) and 5-point likert scale questions about knowledge based on literature.


Hierarchical linear modeling results showed that the parent play beliefs, play as a teaching technique, and teachers’ pedagogical knowledge of ΔR2 value of 0.020 revealed a 0.2% change in the variance of models 1, 2 and 3 with ΔF (1, 213) = 17.679, p < 0.001. Analyses revealed that the combined effects of the independent variables explained a 76.4% variance in children’s early literacy and numeracy.


These findings indicate that the variables significantly and positively predicted children’s literacy and numeracy skills. Eventually, in conclusion, areas of further research and implications for policy and practice were forwarded based on the major findings.


Future research would paint a more complete picture of how parents see the Ethiopian educational system and its relationship to kids’ academic and social results. Additionally, parents indicated that while exposing their preschoolers to play is fine, doing so is not appropriate once they enter kindergarten. To have a fuller understanding of the relationships between parents’ views, cultural orientations, and children’s social outcomes, future work will need to include parents whose kids are transitioning to kindergarten and elementary school as well as expand the study longitudinally. Future research that includes more participants from various backgrounds, as well as larger and more diverse samples in terms of socioeconomic status, gender, disability, culture, and parental education, is necessary. Correlational and regression analysis cannot be used to infer any causal relationships in this study. Experimental research should be the main emphasis of future studies