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Your Child's First School: Will It Be Play School, Nursery, Or Preschool?
PHOTO BY @Sladic/iStock
  • “What school is the best for my child?”

    This is one of the biggest questions Teacher Tina Zamora often gets from concerned parents of young children. Zamora is the Directress of Nest School and Master of Family and Child Development from the University of the Philippines.  

    According to her, there are many Domains of A Child that need to be considered to assess his readiness to go to school:

    • Cognitive domain (information intelligence) 
    • Physical domain (physical development, like climbing, running) 
    • Verbal domain (verbal cues, number of words used by the child). It is important to note that before the age of 3, a child should be able to speak 50 words. 
    • Creative domain (creativity) 
    • Socio-emotional domain (how well does your child relate with others?)  

    When must a child start schooling?  

    Kindergarten is the required level to enter the K-12 System (any level prior to Kindergarten is not required, and is at the discretion of the child’s parents). This is the grade or year level before the child goes to Grade 1. The Philippines follows the Kindergarten Law where the age requirement for Kindergarten is 5 years old. Upon enrollment in Kindergarten, your child will be assigned a Learner’s Reference Number by the Department of Education. 

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    Teacher Tina enumerated the following things to consider when looking for a school for your child:

    1. Philosophy

    Is it Montessori? Traditional? Progressive? Progressive is the developmentally-appropriate kind of school for children 3-5 years old.

    2. Location

    Is it accessible from our home? How far is it from your place?  

    3. Budget

    Can our finances handle the budget for the school we wish to take our child to?

    4. Environment

    The preschool classroom is divided into learning centers: a meeting area, a reading area, manipulatives area.  Also look at the Temporal aspect:  What is their schedule for classes?  A schedule that consists of two-and-a-half to three-hour sessions every other day is good for a three-year old. 

    5. Home – School Connection

    Are the teachers easy to access for open communication?

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    School readiness  

    Teacher Tina points out that anxiety and stress are some of the tell-tale signs of that a child is getting too overwhelmed in school.  “Just allow your child to develop slowly but surely. Avoid toxic parenting. Don’t force your children to read too early at 3 years old,” she advises. Doing your own research and asking the necessary questions will help you discern and narrow down your choices for a school suitable for your child’s needs. 

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    In such a time when toxic parenting and pressure from everyone can make parents very anxious to make their children start reading early or taking too many advanced classes, it is wise to take a step back and assess whether your child is prepared to take on such tasks. Get to know your child, and search for important information about the schools you are considering. Most importantly, she advises parents to “Be the person you want your child to be.”

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