Many moms were not happy when the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that kids who turned 6 years old by August 31 are the only ones who can enroll in Grade 1. While the policy was released two years ago, the complaints became increasingly louder last year. SmartParenting.com.ph listed down the concerns of many parents in this article published in February.  

DepEd has been listening, and it has amended the policy. Kids who turned 5 years old in school year 2017-2018 can enroll in Grade 1 for the school year 2018-2019 as long as they have completed Kindergarten. 

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The change in policy also affects kids enrolling in Kindergarten this school year. They need to turn 5 this school year 2018-2019 and have passed the Philippine Early Childhood Development (ECD) checklist before the start of classes to be able to enroll in Kindergarten.

The new rules were clarified in DepEd’s Department Order (DO) 20 series of 2018, which was issued to amend DO 47 series of 2016 or the “Omnibus Policy on Kindergarten Education.”

DepEd released a statement published on their website. Starting school year 2020-2021, the policies below will be strictly implemented. Here's a quick guide on the rules: 

For kids starting Kindergarten

  • If the school opens classes in July, children must be 5 years old by July 1 (with an extension period until September 30) to enroll in Kindergarten
  • If the school opens classes in August, children must be 5 years old by August 1 (with an extension period until October 31) to enroll in Kindergarten

    For kids entering Grade 1

    • Children who completed Kindergarten in school year 2018-2019 are allowed to enroll in Grade 1 for school year 2019-2020 as long as they turned 5 years old within the school year 2018-2019. 

    Comparing with the previous policy, the bulk of the age cut-off now relies on the age of the child during Kindergarten enrollment. This is to ensure that “Kindergarten learners are holistically prepared to face the expectations of the grade level,” said Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones.

    The Kindergarten curriculum is designed for 5-year-old learners, according to DepEd. Specifically, it's made to respond to the kids' holistic development in areas including: socio-emotional, values, physical health, creativity, mathematics, understanding of the physical and natural environment, language, literacy, and communication. 

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    Meanwhile, a bill has been proposed to move the start of the school year from June to August. House Bill No. 7350 (or the proposed Academic Calendar Shift Act of 2018) will make it mandatory for all public and private schools to start the school year as early as the second Monday of August, but not later than the second Monday of September starting this year.

    The bill states that the shift of the start of the school year would help attain that goal by having the lessons and curriculum of our educational institutions aligned with that of foreign countries.

    In addition, “By moving the calendar away from June to August, it will result in less cancellation of classes due to heavy rains that occur during this period, protecting students from unnecessary harm that may occur from the typhoon season,” said Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzalez, Jr. who proposed the bill. 

    If the bill is passed into law, all schools will roughly have the same month of opening classes again. Thoughts, parents?

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    This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.

    * Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.

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