THERE is a tendency for families to overlook the importance of daycare centers in the development of their children.
Dr. Melody B. Paradillo, technical staff of the Davao City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) for Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), said daycare centers are important in helping nurture the six domains of early childhood development -- physical health, well-being, and motor skills; social-emotional; character and values; cognitive or intellectual development; creativity, and language.
"Kay kung mudiretso sila sa kinder, siguro muhilak pa sila ang ilahang social emotional wala pa na develop. Pero kung niagi sila daycare, I am sure nga ready na ang bata (If they enroll in kindergarten without going through daycare, there is a possibility they will cry. This means that the social and emotional aspect of the child may have not yet been developed. If they have gone through daycare, the child would be much ready)," she said.
Rossa Charissa O. Gavino, Center for Brighter Beginnings founder, said in the daycare centers, kids below the age of five years old are able to learn things they cannot learn at home.
"Daycare centers are one place where they will be able to learn instead of just staying at home and not be with other children," Gavino said.
She added that daycare centers provide children opportunities to play and socialize with other children their age.
However, despite the benefits a child can get from daycare centers, there are still some who fail to understand the importance of how early childhood education help in the development of their children.
One of the reasons why some parents would not send their kids to daycare centers is this is not a requirement for children before they can enter Grade 1.
Elena G. Gabaton, also a technical staff at the CSSDO-ECCD, said another reason why some may not send their children to daycare is because they think that the kids are only playing and not learning.
She said to the eyes of the parent, the child may be simply playing with clay at the daycare center but for the child, this is already developing his or her creativity and motor skills.
Gabaton added that in daycare centers one of the approaches in teaching kids is through play. She pointed how there is a need to give kids between ages three to four activities that will stimulate learning.
Despite not being a prerequisite for a child to enter grade school, Gabaton said they are conducting information and education campaigns to make parents aware of the importance of sending their kids to daycare centers.
She pointed out that the daycare centers, which are mandated by law to be present in all barangays, are not simply educational venues for the kids. Through these daycare centers and in partnership with barangay health workers, they deliver health services to the children at the barangay level.
Gabaton also said daycare centers will also allow them to prevent children from abuses. The centers can also play a role in detecting these abuses.
Teachers at daycare centers not only teach children below the age of five years old but they also teach the parents.
"We also provide parents' education. We give them inputs on child development and parenting," Gabaton said.
For her part, Gavino reiterates the importance of how daycare centers, whether private or public, can provide kids the initial skills they need before entering grade school.
"There is an awareness that we need to raise that before your child enters kindergarten there are prerequisite skills that children can be learn at the daycare," she said.
Capacitating daycare workers
In order for children to learn what needs to be learned from daycare centers, there is a need to ensure that daycare centers have the capacity to teach them.
"They are the frontliners in terms of the foundations our children would need," Gavino said.
Gabaton said at the CSSDO, they regularly hold trainings for daycare teachers to ensure that they do have the capacity to teach kids.
"From time to time we have to correct and train them (daycare teachers)," she said, adding that they also provide daycare teachers with new methodologies and strategies.
Last June 14 to 15, 2019, daycare teachers in Marilog and Binugao were given training on Early Childhood Education at the Montenawin Resort and Restaurant in Marilog District, Davao City. The training was organized by the Aboitiz Foundation and Therma South, Inc. (TSI), an AboitizPower subsidiary. It was held in partnership with the Center for Brighter Beginnings, Inc., City Government of Davao through the CSSDO, and the Office of Councilor Petite Principe.
Lou Jaso P. Deligencia, TSI reputation and stakeholder management specialist, said they are organizing the training to ensure that the daycare teachers’ quality of teaching is improved and will allow their children to understand them more easily.
The Center for Brighter Beginnings facilitated the training of the teachers.
Among the topics taught to the teachers included early literacy, four-pronged approach in reading instructions, subject areas in early childhood, and special education.
Gavino said while the teachers were taught on different methodologies and strategies, they are given the freedom to only select what is best for the community they are serving.
"Dako kaayo nakatabang ning training namo. Kani nakadugang sa mga pamaagi o technique sa pagtudlo sa mga bata sa daycare," Meriam Cabillion, a daycare teacher who participated in the training, said.
She said among the learning that she got from the training was on reading instruction, teaching arts and music, and methods on how to teach kids to write.
"The teachers from daycare centers, some are volunteers while others are high school graduates. Trainings like this will really equip them with the skills they need and the knowledge to know what to teach and how to teach it," Gavino said.