As the new year marks a new beginning for everyone, it is also a signal to parents of preschool-aged children that it is time to search for an answer to that big question on their minds: where do I enroll my child?
With the increasing changes in our society, family dynamics have been placed under pressure. Some children have both parents investing their time in economic responsibilities that merit stability for their own families. This results to young children being left under the supervision of their immediate families, a caregiver, or childcare institutions. In relation to the latter, De los Angeles-Bautista, as cited in Franco’s 2009 thesis entitled A Model of Home and School Partnership of Progressive Preschools in the Philippines, mentions that Filipinos place great emphasis on completion of higher education, and therefore, a major parental concern is sending their children to good schools.
In De los Angeles-Bautista’s article on Early Childhood Care and Education in the Philippines (2004), she explained that preschool education was expected to put children ahead, which assures parents that their children are capable of facing the first challenges in their school life.
A study on the state of preschool education in the Philippines by Natividad Santos in 1990 revealed that education is a Filipino family concern as it is highly connected to one’s status. Santos explains further that families are willing to contribute and to sacrifice in order that they can invest in one’s education. The Philippine society’s emphasis on education is exemplified by the continued proliferation of schools in the country. Therefore, there is also an increase in preschool enrollment.
At present, the numbers continue to grow. This supports an emerging trend for education to begin during the earliest years. Dr. Evalyn Hizon, a professor from the University of the Philippines-Diliman’s Department of Family Life and Child Development, explains that there are three educational ideologies or streams of thought according to Kohlberg and Mayer (1972). “There are different approaches to education, and these are: Progressivism, Cultural transmission (traditional) and Romanticism,” Hizon says.
"Traditional" is the typical preschool classroom in the Philippines. Dr. Hizon explains that we are all familiar with the traditional approach because of our direct experience with it during our schooling. She says that, “this is characterized by teacher-directed lessons especially in grade school and high school levels of both public and private schools except for some”. According to Dr. Hizon, students are encouraged to learn more in a short period of time where there is more memorization and less interaction. She adds that, “lessons come from the interests of the teacher where the emphasis is on the academics-writing, reading and arithmetic.
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Angela Dee, 28, opted to send her only son to a traditional preschool. She says that she considered a variety of factors when she chose this particular school such as the school environment, student–to-teacher ratio, and the tuition fee. She explains further that what she liked about her son’s school was that, “ … hindi stressed ang bata kasi yung subject nila exact lang for toddlers. Math, Language, Reading and Writing lang. And may playtime pa din na very educational.” She adds that the teachers were hands-on and they allowed enough pacing for every lesson. Angela identifies the many benefits that Luis gained from the preschool such as being “more interactive, friendly, sociable, and he learned how to take care of himself whenever I’m not with him”.