Teacher Corner | Strengthening the Kindergarten program

by Gina Q. Betito
Teacher III

Through Universal Kindergarten, every Filipino child now has access to early childhood education. However, there are still many steps to take to strengthen the program and make learning inclusive and relevant for pupils.

DepEd emphasizes the results of research that show that children who underwent Kindergarten have better completion rates than those who did not.

This means they are more likely to continue and complete their studies as compared to those who did not undergo kindergarten education.

Apart from this, children who complete a Kindergarten program are better prepared for primary education.

This is because Kindergarten education introduces relevant and vital learning experiences to children, laying the foundation for more advanced learning in the primary/elementary levels.

Scientifically speaking, the age from 0 to 6 years, are the most critical period for learning, as this is when the brain grows to at least 60-70 percent of adult size.

Without a standards-based Kindergarten program, children do not receive the optimal training and motivation that they need to not only proceed with more advanced learning, but also lifelong learning.

I believe many of our problems in education may be traced back to the Kindergarten program. As the foundation of literacy, numeracy, scientific learning, and even creative endeavors, Kindergarten should be seen not just as a stepping stone for higher level, but as the base for all kinds of learning.

It is, after all, in the Kindergarten program, that children are introduced to the most basic study skills, learning habits, and the rudimentary concepts in Language, Math, Science, and Art. It is also at this stage when children are most likely to model their behavior after the people they see around them, particularly those who are older and show authority over them.

Some people, sadly, see Kindergarten only as a kind of requirement that just needs to be complied with so the children may start with real learning.

I argue the opposite, however, and stress that real learning starts not at grade one, but at these earlier periods.

If we are serious about a strong educational program, we must pour more effort into the Kindergarten level.

Not only will be be strengthening the potential of the children in later life, but we will also be increasing our chances at a brighter future for our nation.