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DepEd strengthens kindergarten education


Reschool age is the perfect time for discoveries and new knowledge.

It is the foundation for developmental learning, for it is the period when a young mind's absorptive capacity for learning is at its sharpest.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said kindergarten shall be made mandatory and compulsory for entrance to grade one because it is vital to the academic and physical development of the Filipino child.

DepEd's implementing rules and regulations (IRR) under the Republic Act No. 10157, otherwise known as the Kindergarten Education Act, institutionalizes the kindergarten education into the basic education system and appropriating funds therefor.

The education department said having a pre-school education is very important to start one's educational path, not only because its pre-requisite but because its where the basic learning starts.

Kindergarten system is a 10-month program provided to children who are at least five years old in regular elementary schools.

Pre-school class uses thematic and integrative curriculum to prepare child for grade one.

Beginning school year 2011-2012, DepEd intensified efforts to attain universal Kindergarten coverage through different modalities and in coordination with concerned agencies on health, welfare and education of five-year-old children.

"As the year 2011-2012 approaches all children aged five years old must undergo kindergarten," said Oldy Onaz, an education program specialist under DepEd's pre-school department.

DepEd aims to promote inclusive education in reaching five-year-old children particularly those in poorest household, vulnerable, disadvantaged and underserved areas and to improve their readiness and foundation skills to be ready for primary grades.

The department added that Kindergarten class will focus on child's total development according to his/her individual needs and socio-cultural background.

It will also promote the delivery of complementary, integrative services for cognitive development, health and safety, care, nutrition, sanitation, psycho-socio-emotional, cultural and values formation activities.

Yet, reasons such as financial disability and child's emotional and mental conditioning limits kindergarten enrollees but DepEd said that money may not be a big reason to stop the child from enrolling.

"We have public schools in here, there will be no increase because there's no tuition fee," Onaz said.

He added that parents are important in boosting their child's interest to study in kindergarten which will also prepare her/him for school.

To invite more enrollees, DepEd pledged for more story books to provide opportunities for an individual child to look at pictures, browse and read independently, which are the crucial steps in their journey to early and lifelong literacy.

Those who fail to enroll in a pre-school class must undergo the Kindergarten Summer Program (KSP), an eight-week curriculum on readiness and foundation skills in the company of 20 to 30 children for three hours daily using eight week curriculum before entering grade one proper.

The kind of pupil that comes out from a school reflects the kind of teacher that the institution has. Thus, having a good teacher is one of the pre-requisites in having a successful kindergarten system since it is the first step to dealing with formal education.

Based on the Research and Statistics Division (RSD) there are only 3,236 pre-school teachers for about 1,671,254 pre-school pupils from 38,501 schools all over the Philippines as of April 2012.

According to DepEd, a kindergarten teacher shall have at least 18 units of Early Childhood Education (ECE) or its equivalent as determined by the education department.

Executed in a play based-manner, DepEd assured parents that their children can experience that learning could be enjoyable and meaningful at the same time.

On the other hand, since K-12 has been approved in Philippine education's constitution, DepEd said the program will not affect pre-school education.

Parents should push their little kids to love education in an early age. It will for sure help them a lot now and in the future.

By: Lovely Rodriguez

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