In an article written by Scott states the earliest years of a childs life are key to predicting eventual success in school and life. Recent research findings pointing to the importance of the first three years in brain development have serious implications for education. The children’s early learning experiences are important determining reasons for emotional and intellectual development and will affect how well a child will perform in their studies. Scientists believed that the neural connections in the brain are stimulated during the early window of opportunity, the stronger they become. It is so important that everyone who has contact with infants – including parents, grandparents, and caregivers – provide these children with lots of touching, loving, talking, and singing to help them develop to their full potential. Without that stimulation, certain types of learning will not be possible when the child enters school. With the proper stimulation, neural pathways are developed that can strengthen a child’s emotional, social, and intellectual abilities.
Appropriate early childhood programs not only help your child’s brain develop in a timely fashion, they also contribute to physical, emotional and social development. Along with school readiness, it is also important to look for key developmental milestones in your children.
Hurlock (1982) characterized early childhood years as ” teachable moment” in acquiring skills. During this period children are enjoying the repetition of skill which is essential to learning skills until there is a mastery of the said skill. Also, during this time a child become “adventuresome” because they like to try new things even it will cause them harm. At this stage, they learn easily and quickly because their bodies are still pliable with the acquisition of new skills.
Avelino and Sanchez (1996) states that, there is a rapid development of the child’s mental abilities between 3 to 6 years of their life. In fact, it is asserted to be the period of the fastest rate of I.Q development. Furthermore, by age of 4, the child has attained half of his final intellectual Abilities.
Since learning started from the earliest of ages, a lot of countries have started to go on curriculum reforms in early childhood education. They started to reshape their curriculum towards cultivating those types of people for their countries. Turkey, went on curriculum change on early childhood education in 2006 for the children between the 36-72 months -olds. (Erden, 2010).Singapore launched the Preschool Curriculum Framework in 2003. The resulting new curriculum focuses on developing the child holistically, on learning through play and experimentation, and on interacting with the teacher. (Ng, n.d) In 2001, China launched a large-scale curriculum reform in basic education (K-9) at the turn of the millennium to overcome perceived shortcomings in educational provision and to produce a globally competitive workforce. ( Li, Wang and Wong, 2011) In the Philippines, a reform of the kindergarten curriculum was implemented last School Year 2011-2012, wherein all five-year-old children shall avail of the free and compulsory kindergarten education program.
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In one of the Educational Assessment on the Philippines education, EDCOM report in 1991 indicated that high dropout rates especially in the rural areas were significantly marked. The learning outcomes as shown by achievement levels show mastery of the students with important competencies. There were high levels of simple literacy among both 15-24 year olds and 15+ year olds. Repetition in Grade 1 was the highest among the six grades of primary education which reflects the inadequacy of preparation among the young children. The children with which the formal education system had to work with at the beginning of Education For All were generally handicapped by serious deficiencies in their personal constitution and in the skills they needed to successfully go through the absorption of learning. (Magno, 2010)
While there is no doubt that education in the early years is crucial, providing public education to young children is only the first step. Something is not necessarily better than nothing. Quality in early childhood education is a must. The program should have prepared the young learners to the rigors of regular schooling. Prior to the implementation of National Kindergarten, there are basic concerns and problems that have been addressed by the Alliance of Concerned teacher to ensure a premium kindergarten education program. These include:
Class size should be limited to 25 students per class.
Adequate number of classrooms and sanitary facilities like drinking facilities and toilets.
Provision of a meaningful curriculum that will truly benefit our learners. This should help the early learner in his or her preparation for her future – well-rounded citizens that should help in the development of our country.
Based on these premises, this study was conducted to find out if the problem on the Kindergarten education was resolved since the 2011 implementation of the Universal kindergarten curriculum in 2011 by assessing the Kindergarten Curriuculum in National CapitalRegion. The researcher wants to find out if the reform of the Kindergarten Curriculum has really an effect on the Philippine Education.
A wide range of early childhood curriculum models exists, but little is known about the number of early childhood curriculum models presently in use or the number of early childhood programs that use them. Early childhood curriculum models most often are used in center-based settings providing half-day and full-day programs. They are used in public schools, Head Start, and community-based programs. Consistent with their origin, curriculum models are most often used in programs serving low-income children.
Figure 1: The Research Paradigm
The research paradigm is composed of three divisions namely: Input, Process and Output. The input includes the Learning
Statement of the Problem:
This project aims to assess the current Kindergarten Curriculum and sought to answer the following questions
What is the status of the New Kindergarten Curriculum as assessed by preschool teachers with respect of the following components;
Teaching methodologies or strategies
Instructional materials used
What is the level of pupil’s performance in terms of:
Physical health and motor development,
Social and emotional development,
Creative/aesthetic development, and
Language literacy and communication
3. What aspect(s) of the Kindergarten curriculum needs to be improved?
Significance of the Study:
This study is hoped to benefit the curriculum planners of the Department of Education since it can provide information on the success or what needs to be improved on the kindergarten curriculum. Another benefit of this study is for the teachers. They might know whether the activities provided to the learners will work to achieve the objectives of the program. The data can be used as a guide by the teachers to check the output of the program.
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This study will deal with the 17 Public School Teachers in the National Capital Region. The public pre-schools covered in this study are the following:
Manila: P. Burgos Elementary School- Buenos Aires – Altura, Sta. Mesa
Quezon City: Holy Spirit Elementary School-6 Artillery Road, Garcia Heights
Pasay City: Apelo Cruz Elementary School -E. Rodriguez St., Malibay
Caloocan City: Bagong Barrio Elementary School- Malolos Ave. cor. G. De Jesus, B. Barrio
Mandaluyong: Renato R. Lopez Elementary School- J.P Rizal Mandaluyong
Marikina: Malanday Elementary School-Malaya St. Marikina
Makati: Guadalupe Viejo Elementary School- Guadalupe Viejo Makati
Pasig City: Manggahan Elementary School- Manggahan Pasig City
San Juan City: San Juan Elementary School- San Juan Metro Manila
Paranaque: Baclaran Elementary School-Pinaglabanan St. Baclaran Paranaque
Las Pinas: Zapote Elementary School-F. Santos Avenue Las Pinas
Valenzuela : Maysan Elementary School- Maysan Road Valenzuela City
Malabon: Potrero Elementary School- Pinagtipunan Circle
Navotas: Tanza Elementary School- TanzaMalabon
Taguig: C.P Sta.Teresea Elementary School- Manuel L. Quezon St.
Pateros: Sta. Ana Elementary School-P. Rosales St.
Alabang Elementary School- Purok1 Mendiola St.
Definition of Terms:
Character and Values Development. This refers to the experiences that help children develop a love for God, self, others and community. It also helps children develop awareness of their feelings and sense of right and wrong.
Cognitive/Intellectual Development. Ability to represent real objects, people and events mentally or symbolically ( Andaya, et.al 2007) it includes development in the areas of communication skills, sensory-perceptual and numeracy concepts and skills
Creative and Aesthetic Development. This refers to activities that includes arts, music and physical education taught as one.
Curriculum.This is the sum total of all learning content, experiences and resources that are purposely selected, organized and implemented by the school in pursuit of its peculiar mandate as a distinct institution of learning and human development (Aquino-Naval, 1997).
Kindergarten.A program or class for four-year-old to six-year-old children that serves as an introduction to school (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009)
Instructional materials.This refers to objects that served as a tool for assisting in the instruction of a subject .
Motor Development.This is an area of development which includes gross and fine motor coordination through play and manipulative activities like games, simple work and those that develop physical fitness.
Physical Health Refers to what the children can do to compete on equal term with their peers in games and sports.
Physical Environment.This refers to the minimum requirement for the school site, the physical facilities and the learning equipment for a preschool.
Preschool Education. This refers to the education of children prior to first grade of elementary schools.
Social-Emotional Development.This refers to the development of a child’s ability in relating to teachers, peers and other people through group play and / or interaction.
Teaching methodologies/strategies.Ways of presenting instructional materials or conducting instructional activities. (http://www.education.com/definition/teaching-methods/)
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
This chapter presents the literature and studies which have bearing on this study. The review is focused on the curriculum, the basis of early childhood education, the foreign and local studies, and vision, perspectives and policies of early childhood.
Early Childhood Education
According to Fuerst and Petty as cited by Howard (2011), Early education programs also known as early childhood education programs or early developmental education programs refer to the early learning programs that focus on children from birth until kindergarten. These programs emphasize the importance of cognitive development, nutritional diet, parental interactions, and emotional growth early on, as a means to support healthy learning and strong development. However, by school terms, early childhood education incorporates the group settings for infants through elementary school grade three. In other words, early childhood education is a special branch of education servingwith children from infancy to elementary grade level of three (Gonzalez-Mena,
2008). As definitions imply, early childhood education brings the children (birth to
eight) into the arena. Significance of the early childhood education increased tremendously all over the world within the last twenty years. This situation is complementary with research results based on long term effects of early education to later life (Groark, et, al., 2007).
mportance of Early Childhood Education
According to The Texas State of Education (1999), children who attend preschool or other early education programs:
Have cognitive, verbal, and social development which is maintained into the first few years of school
Have significantly IQs
Enter school better prepared to learn
Are less likely to have to repeat a grade or be placed in special education classes
Are less likely to exhibit later delinquency and antisocial behavior
Are more likely to graduate from high school
Early education cultivates children in terms of socialization rather than a purely academic enhancement such as math and reading. Webb (2003) elaborated that children learn cooperation through education in child care centers and such skills help them to obey rules and stay safe in a society. Regarding socialization, parents also share the same perspective. In terms of children, in addition to social emotional and academic benefits,
Early education provides them a better future in the long term such as preparing them
for school and increase in high school graduation rates. Inevitably, knowing the benefits of early education for the individuals in the short and long term brings the discussion of early childhood necessity in society as a whole.
Governments start to put early childhood education into their agendas, especially, after it was proved that good quality of early education has long lasting effects on the children’s later life productivity of the society. To illustrate, Oppenheim and MacGregor (2002) distinguished that children received early education are less likely to involve crime and more likely to complete their high school education and get into a college education. In other studies such as Chicago Longitudinal study and the Cost, Quality and Child outcome study indicated that getting high quality early childhood education make children become successful students and citizens in their later lives (Reynolds & Ou, 2004).
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History of Early Childhood Curriculum
To be able to understand the foundations of early childhood curriculum, looking at the historical process gives us opportunity to see how young children and their way of learning is perceived by the past generations based on religious, ethnic,political and economic pressures of the times (Jackman, 2005). For example,Rousseau, who is famous with his book “Emile”, believed in the idea of unfolding.For him “unfolding” can occur as a result of development according to children’s innate timetables (Morrison, 2008, p.58). In fact, such an approach is used now as teachers choose their activities according to children’s developmental levels.Moreover, Pestalozzi believed in that children learn through their senses and through this they can achieve their natural potential. “Whole person”, observation and sympathetic approach of teachers were among the significant principles that he contributed to early childhood education (Clough, Nutbrown & Selbie, 2008, p.28).
Owen, on the other hand, believed in the importance of the environment which has effects on children’s development. This idea is still valid today and early childhood Classroom environment helps children to develop their beliefs, behavior and Achievement (Morgan, 2006).
Froebel, known as the father of kindergarten, is another influential figure in
early childhood curriculum (Gordon & Browne, 2004). Froebel used planned curriculum which included gifts and occupations to educate children. Today, it is the same with the toys we use when we educate children. The concepts of unfolding and learning through play are among the biggest contributions of Froebel to early childhood curriculum models (Morrison, 2008).
Curriculum Models Used in Early Childhood Education
Throughout the history of early childhood education, diversity in early childhood curriculum can be seen. For example, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Head Start, High/Scope can be given among the well-known early childhood curriculum models. Today, principals of those models are appreciated in many early childhood education settings (Clough, Nutbrown & Selbie, 2008). In many parts of the world, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Head Start and High scope schools applying the principals of those models can be found.
The name itself comes from Maria Montessori, an Italian medical doctor whom was affected from Pestalozzi. Pestalozzi thinks that a teacher must have a special training combining both intellectuality and the ability of touching the hearts by feeling respect and sympathy for the children (Montessori, 1972). Montessori followed the ideas of Pestalozzi and she focused on the process of normal development to discover how human beings could reach their potential more fully than they did in traditional schools. Dr. Montessori worked with younger children before elementary schools. Dr. Montessori began her experiment in January 1907. She viewed her schools as laboratories in which to study how children learn best (Lillard, 2005).
According to Dr. Montessori’s philosophy, child-sized environment offering beauty and order is the best for children’s learning because it is cultivating and stimulating. In such an environment, children may choose her own work- activities that have meaning and purpose for her. In addition, there are times when carefully sequenced and structured materials (sensory materials) are introduced by the teacher to the child (Wortham, 2006). The Montessori curriculum is divided into motor education, sensory education, and language and intellectual education (Wortham, 2006).
Motor education: Montessori classroom is designed in order to provide children’s free movement during the day. Children’s fine motor skills are enhanced by the sensory materials as well as the work in the area of practical life. In addition, as children learn pouring materials, sweeping, polishing shoes, they have opportunity to foster both large and fine motor skills.
Sensory education: Manipulative and didactic materials are used for sensory education. The sensorial curriculum includes a large number of sets of materials that promote seriation, classification and conservation activities in a variety of media. The materials are sequenced according to difficulty with control of error being a primary objective.
Language and intellectual education: The sensorial materials are part of intellectual education. The teacher involves in careful pronunciation of words as he or she talks to the children and during teaching a concept, it is common to use physical dimensions of the objects such as big, thin, large and small. On the other hand, there is a three part lesson and when learning, for example, concepts of large and small, the teacher would first say, “This is the small ball”. Second the teacher wants the child to show the small ball and finally, the teacher wants the child to name the object.Writing and reading activities are also crucial in Montessori curriculum. Firstchildren’s fine motor skills are enhanced by active hands-on activities with the sensory materials. At the same time, the visual-motor understanding of alphabet letters and how to form them introduced. Exercises to write letters, words and how to read them are done. Once a child does those independently, reading and writing are expanded to writing sentences and reading simple books.
Reggio Emilia, a small city in industrial northern Italy, established what is now called “The Reggio Emilia approach” shortly after Second World War, when working parents helped to build new schools for their young children (New, 2000).
Founded by Loris Malaguzzi, the early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, have captured the attention of educators from all over the world. Inspired by John Dewey’s progressive education movement, Lev Vygotsky’s belief in the connection between culture and development, and Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Malaguzzi (Thorton & Brunton, 2009) developed his theory and philosophy of early childhood education from direct practice in schools for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The teachers in Reggio Emilia are partners and collaborators in learning with the children and parents. The teachers become skilled observers of children in order to plan in response to the children. Each group of children is assigned co-teachers. There is no lead teacher or director of the school. A pedigogista, a person trained in early childhood education, meets with the teachers weekly. Every school has an atelierista, who is trained in visual arts, working closely with teachers and children. The hundred of languages of children is the term teachers use in referring to the process of children depicting their understanding through one of many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play and writing. Teachers and children work together to solve any problems that arise (Goffin & Wilson, 2001)
The hundred of languages of children is the term teachers use in referring to the process of children depicting their understanding through one of many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play and writing. Teachers and children work together to solve any problems that arise (Goffin & Wilson, 2001)
Head Start is a publicly funded program. Developed in the 1960s for intervention with at-risk minority and low-income children, it is a comprehensive program that addresses the educational, nutritional and social needs of such children. It can be associated with public school districts or conducted as a separate program through a community agency.
These programs are the largest publicly funded educational programs for infants and toddlers (Early Head Start) and preschool children. They include health and medical screening and treatment, required parent participation and involvement, and comprehensive services to families. “Today there are Head Start programs in every state and territory, in rural and urban sectors, on American Indian reservations, and in migrant areas” (Essa, 2003, p. 24). From its inception in 1965, Head Start has sought to provide classroom-based and, most recently, home based comprehensive developmental services for children from low-income families.
High scope is a cognitively oriented curriculum (Wortham, 2006) when it is first developed in order to serve 3 and 4 years-old children from poor neighbors in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1962 so it helps children to become independent thinkers and problem solvers (Peyton, 2005). However through the four decades of working, the curriculum has evolved to the model that is used today. There are principles of the curriculum (Morrison, 2008, pp.101-102):
Active learning: Active learning is the most crucial way for children to make sense of their world because as they interact with the real world, as they have immediate first hand experience, they are able to build their own understanding.
Key experiences: Interacting with people, materials and ideas through a creative and ongoing way helps children to enhance mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.
Plan-do-review process: Children have right and time to plan their own activities, perform them and at the end, reflect on what they had done.
Parent component: By offering ideas about child development and learning, teachers make home visits.
Among those principles, active learning and key experiences form the core of the High Scope Model. In fact the four elements, child-adult interaction, learning environment, daily routines and assessment are the ones support active learning.
Child-adult interaction: Adult is the supporter in High-Scope Preschool program. Positive interaction strategies such as focusing on children’s strengths, sharing control with children, forming an authentic relationship with children are highly valued in High- Scope classrooms. In other words, when dealing with the every situation in the classroom, the teacher is the guider and supporter which creates a harmony in the classroom.
Learning environment: Environment is significant in this model and it is arranged into different areas to foster children’s different developmental levels. Many kinds of activities can be carried out in High-Scope classroom by the wide variety of materials.
Daily routines: Active learning is also supported by daily routines. Consistent routine is important. Plan- do- review session, small group and large group times when teachers also engages in, are crucial part of a typical High-Scope preschool classroom.
Assessment: There is a special observation record used for assessing the children’s progress, The High/Scope Child Observation Record (COR) because observation is the major tool to understand children’s development and learning. While observing and interacting with children, teachers also keep daily anecdotal records and planning sessions.
Brief History of Kindergarten in the Philippines
Kindergarten education in the Philippines started formally with private tutoring among children of well-to do-families. As recorded, the purpose of this type of pre-education at home was to prepare children right away for more advanced work and to save one or two years in school.
Formal education started during the Spanish era, with the Christian doctrine and prayers as the core. It is utilized with certain books like Cartilla which contains letters of the Spanish alphabet. Young Filipinos are coming mostly from the “bourgeois”(middle class) usually underwent some training in Cartilla that lasted for three to six months depending on the ability of the child to learn. The more educated adults in the community become the lawful teachers.
It was 1924, when Harris Memorial School in Manila pioneered preschool education under the directorship of Miss Mary A. Evans. A class was established by Mrs. Brigida Fernando after her training at Columbia University Teachers College. Interest in the Kindergarten movement was picked up by other private schools, both Catholic and Protestant. In 1935, The National Federation of Women’s Club (NFWC) became the forerunner of nursery education. In 1940 the Bureau of Private schools had authorized 129 kindergarten classes getting an enrollment of 6, 449.
Harris Memorial School obtained government recognition to confer degrees of Junior Teacher’s Certificate to graduates in kindergarten education in 1948. Through the leadership of Dr. Miguela Solis, then Superintendent of Teacher Education in the Bureau of Public Schools, preschool education was started in the government regional training schools.
Today, an interest in preschool education has grown not only in private schools but also in colleges and universities. In 1995-1996, Department Education implemented the eight-week curriculum known as Early Childhood Education in Grade 1. This is an integral part of the grade 1 curriculum and helps children especially those without the benefit of preschool experience to have a smooth transition from home to school.
In November 2011, the REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10157, known as Kindergarten Education Act was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate stating that
” In consonance with the Millennium Development Goals on achieving Education for All (EFA) by the year 2015, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to provide equal opportunities for all children to avail of accessible mandatory and compulsory kindergarten education that effectively promotes physical, social, intellectual, emotional and skills stimulation and values formation to sufficiently prepare them for formal elementary schooling. This Act shall apply to the elementary school system being the first stage of compulsory and mandatory formal education. Thus, the kindergarten will now be an integral part of the basic education system of the country.” (http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2012/ra_10157_2012.html)
Preschool Education in the Philippines
Legal Bases. President DiosdadoMacapagal showed his support for the preschool
Education program when he issued the ” Declaration of Filipino Children’s Rights and Responsibilities” which provides: 1.) Every Child has he right to receive an education to help him become an asset to society; 2.) Every child has the right to the care , assistance, and protection of the government for the purpose of a well-rounded development; 3.) Every child has the right to live in a community, and facilities for s wholesome growth and development. ( Aggasid, 1997)
Public elementary and secondary education is a public or state function supported by the national government. The Constitution (1987) stipulates that ” the State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps make education accessible to all.
The Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Law, enacted in 2000, recognizes the importance of early childhood and its special needs, affirms parents as primary caregivers and child’s first teachers , and establishes parent effectiveness, seminars and nutrition counseling for regnant and lactating mothers. The law requires the establishment of a National Coordinating council for the welfare of children which: (a) establishes guidelines, standards and culturally relevant practices for ECCD programs; (b) develop a national system for the recruitment, training and accrediting of caregivers; (c) monitors the delivery of ECCD services and the impact on beneficiaries; (d) provides additional resources to poor and disadvantaged communities in order to increase the supply ECCD programs; and (e) encourages the development of private sector initiatives.
The Universalization of early childhood education and standardization of preschool and daycare centers was established through Executive Order . 58 of 2008 ( Expanding the Preschool Coverage to Include Children Enrolled in Day Care Centers). (UNESCO, World Data on Education, 7th edition, 2010/11)
The REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10157, known as Kindergarten Education was implemented last School Year 2011-2012 to ensure access to and quality education for all the five (5) -year old children. Its implementation aims to:
Expand the coverage of Kindergarten education to reach 5-year old children in the poorest households; and
Improve their readiness and foundational skills to be ready for the primary grades. (DepED ORDER 37 s. 2011)
The Department of Education (DepEd) is the principal government agency responsible for education and manpower development. The mission of the department is to provide quality basic education that is equitably accessible to all and lays the foundation for lifelong learning and service for the common good. (http://www.lawphil.net/administ/deped/deped.html)
The framework of the Kindergarten Curriculum ( 2012) upholds the sixteen (16) general principles of the National Early Learning Framework (NELF) as guides on (1) child growth and development (2) learning progr
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