by: Maria Cristina Santos-Silamor
(The author is a special consultant of the Municipal Government of Baliwag. She is presently the School Directress of the Monessori de Sagrada Familia. Keeping a work-life balance is one of her strengths, juggling in between demanding attention at work and her mommy duties. When she was requested by Mayor Ferdie to help reform the ECCD Program, she took it with a big yes, believing that somehow, this will be her little contribution to payback a town, so generously nurtured her.)
Changing the Culture for a Better FutureThe proper development of a child in his or her most crucial, formative years (specifically from birth to age 6) is the responsibility of not only the immediate family, but of the entire community. The Philippine government has taken legislative action to emphasize this point, such as through Republic Act no. 6972, also known as the Barangay-level Total Protection of Children Act, under which day care centers are required to be established in every barangay equipped with an effective early childhood learning curriculum and program.
The Municipality of Baliwag, Bulacan, headed by its newly elected Mayor, Hon. Ferdinand Viceo Estrella, has spearheaded the initiative to improve and enrich the system of delivering day care services to the 34 baranggays of Baliwag. As a solid advocate of education, Mayor Ferdie’s dream for each Baliwaguenyo child is to have a strong foundation in early childhood development which is an essential ingredient for lifelong success. Right after assuming his post, Mayor Ferdie ordered the appointment of the Early Childhood Care and Development Council (ECCD) that will be in-charge of the creation and implementation of the standardization of the early childhood day care program.
During the initial stages of assessing the needs of the Baliwag Day Care system, it was observed that there is a significant gap between the skills that are being expected and honed upon the day care learners and the developmentally appropriate skills prescribed by research and theories. Interviews and surveys also showed that day care teachers have been implementing excessive classroom activities that are not aligned with early learning principles and theories. This prompted the ECCD council to plan an intensive series of professional development that will enable the day care teachers of Baliwag to shift their perspectives and practices to deeper understanding of authentic early childhood learning.
Part of the human resource trainings will also focus on character formation sessions that will aim to inculcate the five core values of the town’s new governance: “magiliw, mabilis, magkakatuwang, maaasahan, mahusay. These core values are anchored on the idealism of excellence and service (Serbisyong may Malasakit) that are set to change the present culture towards professionalism and sense of mission.
In keeping with the LGU’s plan to standardize the day care system, the ECCD council also looked into the physical conditions present in the 34 baranggay day care centers of Baliwag. The ECCD council has been meeting with a group of architects and engineers who will design the physical layout of proposed new day care centers following a set of standards for planning and constructing preschool buildings.
The ECCD council envisions the standardization of the day care system of Baliwag as a communal pursuit in which all stakeholders (families, private sectors and fellow Baliwaguenyos) are partners in setting higher measures of delivering quality early learning services to the next generation of Baliwag. Together with the leadership of Hon. Mayor Ferdie Estrella, the members of the ECCD council are gladly opening its doors to the Baliwag community for any support and participation towards the realization of enriching the education sector of Baliwag, Bulacan.