After several years of moving from one classroom to another, the preschoolers of Sibug, in the Philippines, have settled into their new home. The new preschool building, which was inaugurated on October 18, was made possible through the support of Outreach International donors. The inauguration was attended by the pre-schoolers, the Parents, Teachers and Community Association (PTCA), several local government officials led by the town’s Vice- Mayor, staff of Outreach Philippines (OPI) and leaders and members of BIKKAS, the community group that is being assisted by OPI.
Bigger, Safer Space to Learn
When asked, “Why is the new pre-school better than the one that they used to have?” kids and adults answered, “Because it’s bigger, brighter and safer”. Compared to their previous classroom, the preschoolers have a bigger space to learn. The building offers a brighter ambiance that will encourage the children to go to school. Most of all, it has a safer environment for the kids where they are free from drizzles and roof leaks during rainy seasons.
Teacher Analiza recalls, “I wanted to cry when I first stepped here to teach pre-school. I asked myself, why were the little ones assigned to a small and cramped space? We can’t do anything about it because we are a poor school and classrooms are very limited. Priority was given to students who were in the higher grade levels with higher population.”
Pre-school classes used to be held in different areas in the school ground. There was a time when it was held in a nipa hut and just recently, it was held in a chapel’s extended space. There were no windows and the space was very narrow. It only allows for kids to sit around tables placed in a straight line.
Previous Classroom Causes Poor Ranking
Teacher Analiza further explained the problems that they encountered with the previous classroom:
“Pre-school education should include activities like singing, dancing and play that encourages movement. That requires a larger space which we didn’t have before. Seating arrangements should allow kids to work face-to-face with different classmates to build social interactions. We were not able to do that before. We had to do away with the ideal set-up due to limited space. There were also times when the learners’ personal kits and my educational materials got lost or were torn because some people can easily get inside the room when we’re not around. When the sun is shining brightly, the heat is unbearable and the kids turn cranky. They refuse to follow instructions. On the administrative level, our pre-school was evaluated last school year and among sixteen pre-schools in this town, we ranked 3rd from the last. The status of the classroom was one of their criteria for ranking.”
Fortunately, these woes that dampen the learners’ interest to study will be over soon.
New Preschool Provides Secure Learning Environment
Today, the new Sibug Pre-school stands tall and welcoming to all who dream of a better life by having a stronger educational foundation. With the new Kinder to Twelve (K-12) Educational Curriculum in the Philippines, studying in pre-schools has become a prerequisite for all young Filipinos. Children won’t be allowed to enroll in the first grade if they don’t enter pre-school first. With the new Sibug Pre-school, more kids will have the opportunity to read, write, do math and perform in a more comfortable and secure learning environment.
As a message to all those who have supported them, Teacher Analiza says,
“On behalf of the parents and learners, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has made this happen. From those who approved the proposal, to our community organization, BIKKAS and everyone who have contributed their assistance in the construction, painting and inauguration. This preschool is indeed a big encouragement for children to study and teachers to teach well. Last year, we only have more than twenty-enrollees in pre-school. When the parents heard that a new and bigger one will be built, they enrolled their children and we increased by almost a 100%. Even kids who live in farther communities strive to come here and study. By having a building that’s more conducive and comfortable to learning, all their sacrifices will be rewarded.”
The Inauguration of the school
Story by Ami Dasig Salazar – Research & Documentation Officer – Outreach Philippines Inc.