Kindergarten now a must in public school, law says
MANILA, Philippines—The government is moving to strengthen a kindergarten system to comply with a law making preschool a requisite for entry to Grade 1.
President Benigno Aquino III signed the law on Jan. 20 and will formally announce its enactment in a ceremony attended by education officials and lawmakers in Malacañang on Feb. 27.
The Department of Education (DepEd) this week disseminated to school officials copies of Republic Act No. 10157, or the Kindergarten Education Act, which makes kindergarten “the first stage of compulsory and mandatory formal education.”
“Kindergarten education is vital to the academic and technical development of the Filipino child for it is the period when the young mind’s absorptive capacity for learning is at its sharpest,” according to the law.
Under the law, 5-year-olds will be required to take up a year in kindergarten in preparation for entry to Grade 1.
Preschool is known to improve a child’s performance in grade school and arrest the incidence of early dropout.
DepEd views the institutionalization of kindergarten as a key move in implementing the administration’s flagship K-12 (Kindergarten to 12) program, which extends the basic education cycle from 10 years to 12. The program aims to produce more competent Filipino high school graduates.
The law mandates DepEd to “regulate the organization, operation and/or implementation of the kindergarten education program of both public and private schools.”
It requires the use of the student’s mother tongue or first language (depending on location) as the official medium of instruction. For instance, kindergarten classes in Cebu will be taught in Cebuano while those in Bicol will be taught in Bicolano.
In case students in one class have different mother tongues or the teacher does not speak her student’s first language, DepEd will determine the appropriate medium of instruction to be used.
The law also lays down teaching methods for kindergarten, including story-telling, manipulative games and small group discussions.
The law also instructs DepEd to establish a new division under the Bureau of Elementary Education to oversee the implementation of the kindergarten program and ensure that its requirements are fulfilled.
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