DepEd launches 'summer classes' for preschool children

March 5, 2010 12:58 pm 

MANILA, March 5 — The Department of Education will open a Six-week Summer Preschool Education Program (SumPSE) in all schools nationwide from April 12 to May 21, 2010 to better prepare children on the ways of school life and develop a positive attitude in schooling.

“This SumPSE program is part of the expanded preschool education to ensure that all Grade I entrants shall have the necessary preparations to make them ready for academic work,” Department of Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said.

The program will cater to prospective Grade 1 entrants without preschool experience by June 2010. These children could be aged five years and nine months on April 12, 2010 and those six years and above.

Studies have shown that attaining success in the first grade encourages school children to stay-on and complete elementary education. Further studies also found that the quality of preschool experiences determine the performance of children in the higher years.

”DepEd recognizes this, thus the need to continuously expand and intensify the early childhood care and development coverage among preschool children,” Lapus stressed.

The DepEd’s Bureau of Elementary Education has implemented preschool program since 1970s. However, as of 2008, only 42 percent of preschool children from public and private schools have been reached by the program. This, in turn, results to low readiness of Grade 1 children and high incidence of non-readers and drop outs prevailing until Grade 3.

Lapus also added that with preschool education, DepEd hopes to increase the completion rate in elementary.

SumPSE aims to increase the number of five-year old children with preschool experiences from 919,800 (42 percent) in 2008 to 1,659,800 (76 percent) by year 2012.

Based on DepEd guidelines, each class will have a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 students.

Permanent preschool teachers and Grade I teachers with Early Childhood Education training will handle the summer pre school classes. They will be paid an honorarium of P4,500 charged against the preschool funds.

Meanwhile, children who enrolled in Grade 1 but are not ready based on the School Readiness Assessment shall undergo the eight-week curriculum which runs from July to August.

Earlier, the DepEd provide funding for the wages and honorarium of teachers in preschools operated by Parent-Teacher-Community Associations, even as local government units will continue to sustain financial support to LGU-initiated preschools.

The move of DepEd is in recognition of the importance of preschool education in determining the readiness of children upon entry in grade 1. Quality preschool education sufficiently prepares children for higher education.

Lapus ordered division offices to release said funds to specific schools with PTCA-organized preschool classes.

"For these preschools to run effectively, funding should be secured – this is what we have been trying to achieve when the responsibility of DepEd in running preschools and day care centers was expanded," Lapus said.

Full-time preschool teachers who handle two classes of at least 25 pupils each shall receive P6,000 per month. In the absence of qualified preschool teachers, regular elementary school teachers may be allowed to handle PTCA preschool classes where they will be entitled to P2,500 per month.

Various preschool services are being made available to five year old pupils. Most common is the DepEd Preschool Program, which is free since teachers receive regular salary from the National Government. In 2007, 835 permanent teachers were deployed to meet the growing demand and provide more access to preschool education.

Meanwhile, private preschools and non-government organizations can enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with DepEd Division Offices to provide preschool services to five year old children who were not accommodated in any type of preschool due to financial constraints.

Government pays these private schools or non-government organizations P300 per child per month for six months. Most beneficiaries come from low-income municipalities, urban poor communities, and relocation areas.

DepEd reiterated that only five-year old children are allowed for admission in preschool classes. (PNA)

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