Readiness of Kindergarten Teachers along K-12 Curriculum
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One of the major reforms in our country’s educational system is Republic Act 10157, otherwise known as “The Kindergarten Education Law” or the K to12 (K+12). This Law made the Kindergarten compulsory and mandatory entry to basic education. This Law was initiated by the Aquino administration in order to address the perceived decreasing quality of education in the country, and to meet the international standard regarding the number of years in basic education. This program will require all incoming students to enroll into two more years of basic education. The K+12 System will include the Universal kindergarten, 6 years of elementary, 4 years of junior high school with an additional 2 years for senior high school. The program is implemented and formulated along with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The current k-12 model that had been implemented in the country is an educational landscape for basic and secondary system patterned after the United States, Canada and some parts of Australia had done it. According to Patricia Velasco’s article, the K- 12 Curriculum envisions “holistically developed learners with 21st century skills” (DepEd Primer, 2011).
This further means that every student would have an understanding of the world around him and a passion for life-long learning while addressing every student’s basic learning needs: “learning to learn, the acquisition of numeracy, literacy, and scientific and technological knowledge applied to daily life” (p.6). The main objective of the K to 12 curriculum is to achieve the DepEd’s goal of eradicating illiteracy rate in the country. “No child is left behind.” (source). Every Filipino has the right to receive quality education in order to become an asset in all dimensions, competent, efficient, effective and productive citizen leading to a decent and comfortable living. The most interesting part concerning the K to 12 program is on its practical assistance for the poor but skillful students. For instance, the student cannot afford to go to college; he is given an option or privilege to be employed not as a professional but on technical job because his skills acquired and developed during his Senior High School can be a guarantee for his qualification for a vocational employment.
Moreover, the program aims to uplift the quality of education in the Philippines in order for graduates to be easily employed. Our country is the only country in Asia and among the countries in the world that has a 10 year pre- university program. The program also aims to meet the standards required for professionals who would want to work abroad. The system aims to fully enhance and develop the students in order for them to be well-prepared especially in emotional and cognitive aspects. Through this, graduates will be able to face the pressures of their future workplace. The K-12 aims the students to have a relevance or importance in the social and economic reality of life. The realm of their role as members of the country. Thus, this vision will be complete through an enhanced curriculum. (K-12 Kindergarten Curriculum Guide 2013) DepEd said that this is the right time to do something better for the field of education, having poor quality education. The DepEd released their stand along the reform. In stressing the need for the new system of basic education, President Benigno S. Aquino III said, “We need to add two years of our basic education.
Those who can afford pay up to fourteen years of schooling before university. Thus, their children are getting to the best universities and the best jobs after graduation. I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.” (source) With the K-12 program, different arguments were formulated. Not all are in favor of the K+12 Education program. There are students complaining of the additional years and there are parents who are not in favor of the additional expenses. But it is an undeniable fact that additional years in the education system will really require more budgets not just from the government but from the parents as well. Aside from this, students will need additional classrooms, school supplies and facilities. The program would need more qualified teachers as well. Teachers plays an important role in the K-12 program because they are the ones who will teach the kindergarten pupils, especially the Pre – school teachers. Markovac & Rogulja, 2009, stated that the, early care main goal is to fulfill the Delors principles: “Learning to be, learning to do, learning to know and learning to live together and to live with others.” The early childhood is a time of rapid growth in all aspects of children’s development fostered by their natural curiosity and adult support.
Therefore, Preschool education is the foundation for a child’s education. The skills and knowledge that a child develops in the preschool years will have a dramatic impact on a child’s success when formal schooling begins as well as life success. Preschool education is important because it can give your child the edge in a competitive world and education climate. The first year of a child’s life is globally acknowledged to be the critical year for lifelong development because the pace of development during these years is extremely rapid (National Council of Educational Research and Training, 2006 as cited in the K to 12 Curriculum Guide – Kindergarten). While children who do not receive the fundamentals during their preschool years will be taught the alphabet, counting, shapes and colors when they begin their formal education they will be behind the children who already possess that knowledge and skill set. The Pre – school teachers are supposed to have the courage and knowledge to teach the little ones. They will serve as the guide and the second mother at school. Children’s learning will greatly depend on the teachers strategies.
Hence, kindergarten teachers should provide them with an engaging and creative curriculum that is developmentally – appropriate, age – appropriate and socio – cul;turally appropriate (DepEd K to 12 Curriculum guide for Kindergaten, 2012). Many new parents start hearing about K-12 since before their kids are born. However, they are not very clear about what K12 means, and why is necessary for them to start inform themselves about it as it will impact their kids’ future. What Is K12 Education? This term was coined to describe primary and secondary education. This includes kindergarten (K) all the way to the 12 grade. This extremely popular type of education is very common among several countries around the world. “K to 12” stands for kindergarten plus 12 years of elementary and secondary education. This educational system for basic and secondary education is widely adopted around the world. Early childhood education is intended to support and complement family upbringing and the main goal is to create good opportunities and conditions for each child’s well-being, create a stimulating environment for the child’s comprehensive development and learning while taking into account their age, gender and individual features.
The role of early childhood care and education settings in improving children’s development has begun to be viewed with increasing importance. The recognition that centre-based childcare is associated with a host of positive developmental outcomes for children, such as increased cognitive abilities, language development, and emotional and social development (Kagan & Neuman, 1997; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Childcare Research Network [NICHD], 2000, 2002, 2008; NICHD & Duncan, 2003), has led to the introduction of a new policy in Ireland that provides every three-year-old child with access to a free preschool place for one year (Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs [OMCYA], 2009). The importance of preschool learning is that first, parents must remember that preschool education is the foundation for your child’s education. As Adams (2008) stressed that early childhood education is the key to building a strong foundation for a child’s educational success.
The skills and knowledge (not to mention aptitude and attitude) that your child develops in the preschool years will have a dramatic impact on your child’s success when formal schooling begins as well as life success, as supported by the House Bill 5367 (2009), aimed to incorporate preschool education to basic education with the DepEd at the frontier of its implementation all over the country. This bill was in consonance with the state’s policy to provide equal opportunities for all children to avail themselves of free and compulsory preschool education that effectively promotes physical, social, intellectual, emotional simulations, let alone values formation to adequately prepare them for formal elementary schooling, second is that by actively promoting and encouraging your child’s preschool learning you will promote his or her self esteem as well. Help your child gain confidence by making learning fun and easy at this age and you will help make your child an eager lifelong learner and the finally preschool education is important because it can give your child the edge in a competitive world and education climate.
While children who do not receive the fundamentals during their preschool years will be taught the alphabet, counting, shapes and colors when they begin their formal education they will be behind the children who already possess that knowledge and skill set. According to Anita Woolfolk Hoy and Megan Tschannen – Moran ,(2002), teachers’ sense of efficacy has been related to students outcomes such as achievement (Ross, 1992), motivation, (Midgley, Feldlaufer, & Eccles, 1998) and students’ own sense of efficacy ( Anderson, Greene, & Loewen, 1998). DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro stated that enhancing the competencies of pre-school teachers will have a great impact on the young learners. “We should ensure that teachers are ready for the challenge of making our young kids’ first school experience enjoyable and giving them a positive experience that will motivate them to remain in school and complete their education.”
This means that pre-school teachers are the implementers of the socially defined curriculum objectives. They help children to adapt to the society and to become its members, to develop interaction between children and different generations, and absorb the main behavioral habits and roles of the community. Also their task is to educate children to become unique subjects and persons as they truly are (Dewey, 1916; Ojakangas, 1998; Siljander, 2002) To become preschool teachers one must have the ability to deal with pupils ages 5. A preschool teacher needs to be proficient in helping children learn how to cooperate, providing fun learning activities suitable for preschoolers, keeping children safe, working as a team member with other teachers and interacting with parents. Preschool teachers need to be eager participants in children’s growth and development, as well as helping students understand how to use their natural curiosity to help make the appropriate developmental leaps in their skills and abilities. They are expected to create an atmosphere where risks can be taken and discoveries made while children remain safe.