“The first years of life are important because what happens in early childhood can matter in a lifetime.”
The Department of Education (DepEd) having been a strong advocate of early childhood education has implemented various programs for preschoolers for decades now. The Department further strengthens this through the inclusion of kindergarten in the K to 12 basic education curriculum in the country.
DepEd believes Kindergarten is a transition stage between informal literacy and formal literacy (grade 1-12). This is the period of greatest growth and development, when the brain develops most rapidly, almost at its fullest. It is a period when walking, talking, self- esteem, vision of the world and moral foundations are established. Children at this stage should be immersed with activities, games, and plays to naturally acquire the skills/competencies appropriate for their holistic development as emergent literates and be ready for formal school.
According to National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) kindergarten is a critical year where children’s experiences nurture positive approaches to learning and prepare children for the more rigorous academic expectations of the primary grades (NAEYC, 2009). Therefore, kindergarten teachers should guide the learners using an engaging and creative curriculum that is developmentally appropriate.
Republic ACT 10157 also known as the Kindergarten Education Act which was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on Jan. 20 makes kindergarten “the first stage of compulsory and mandatory formal education.” For public schools, the kindergarten education program will be free of tuition and other school fees. With the Kindergarten Education Act, the kindergarten education program will be comprised of one year of preschool education for children aged five and above. The act also pushes for the conceptualization and development of a regular training program for kindergarten teachers to ensure that teaching styles, methodologies and approaches are always in line with modern trends in and issues on education.