Pre-school education is the learning program given to children ages three to five or six years in preparation for their formal primary education. It is also known as nursery, day care, or kindergarten schooling.
Pre-school, or early childhood, education (ECEd) operates on a certain framework that includes structural (administration, class size, teacher-child ratio, etc.), process (classroom environment, teacher-child interactions, etc.), and alignment (standards, curriculum) components that are connected to each child involved in the preschool educational system.
Age and Importance
Parents sometimes wonder whether their child is actually ready to enter preschool or not. Experts in the field of early child care and development conducted studies that showed an increased pressure to teach the toddler how to count and read, and enumerate and pronounce letters.
Preschool education is considered suitable for children between three and five (or six) years, because it is during this stage that the children learn and take in information at a very fast rate, and they also express great fascination and curiosity with almost everything around them.
In preschool, it is important for the child to learn basic but essential information and skills so that they will be better prepared to adjust and cope with life situations and the demands of formal schooling, and to maximize their potential.
Areas of development
The main themes or areas present in the majority of early childhood education systems essential to the holistic development of preschoolers are as follows:
- Personal, social, and emotional development
- Communication (includes talking and listening)
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
- Creative and aesthetic development
- Physical development
- Analytical (mathematical) development
Since preschool age is the perfect time for discoveries and new knowledge, allowing preschoolers to discover and explore freely, following the areas accordingly, is the foundation for developmental learning.
Preschool education status in the Philippines
In the Philippines, preschool education is optional before entering the elementary level since not everyone can afford it. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is in charge of general planning and policy-making, and promoting guidelines and standards to the local government units regarding ECEd.
However, recent events and activities show a high need for young children to undergo preschool education first before stepping into formal education.
- Republic Act 8980 (Early Childhood Care and Development Act) - Enacted in 2000, this law identifies the growing importance of providing preschool education and addressing young children's other needs. It also recognizes parents as the children’s primary caregivers and teachers.
- Republic Act 6972 (Barangay Level Total Protection of Children Act) – Enacted in 1990, this law requires all local government units to set up a day care center in every barangay. Day care centers are mandated not only to provides for the children’s learning needs but also to attend to their health and psychosocial needs.
- Senate Bill 3235 (An Act To Institutionalize Pre-school Education) – Stressing the importance of preschool education in the country, Senator Edgardo Angara has proposed the institutionalization of preschool education as part of compulsory basic education. The bill calls for the formulation of a standard preschool curriculum which will help ensure that those entering Grade 1 are well-equipped for formal schooling. If the bill is approved, children will have to attend at least one year of preschool education before they are admitted to Grade 1.
- McClure, Robin. Is a Preschool Education Important? Retrieved 06 July 2009.
- Press Release - Angara acts to institutionalize pre-school education.. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 07 July 2009.
- Britannica Online Encyclopedia Preschool Education. Retrieved 07 July 2009.
- UNESCO International Bureau of Education Philippines – Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programmes. 2006. Retrieved 07 July 2009.
- Department of Education of the Philippines Bureau of Elementary Education. Retrieved 07 July 2009.
- Senate Bill No. 3235