The implementation of Pre-School Readiness Enhancement Project (PREP) with RD Foundation as co-implementer of Save the Children in establishing Kapit-Bahay Aralan (KBA) was a success. The foundation’s effort in fulfilling the project certainly aligned based on the logical framework collaboratively developed by RD Foundation and Save the Children. It was challenging responsibility that both partners and partner beneficiaries learned and highlighted, creating access to quality early-childhood education for the children.

To bring the project to its intended beneficiaries, key stakeholders were consulted on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), allowing a serious, in-depth look at what they believe are serious issues with regard to ECCD in their respective areas in North Cotabato, Sarangani Province and General Santos City that need to be addressed.

The consultations were participated by the Municipal Local Government Unit, Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU), Child Development Workers, ECCD coordinators and parents. Acknowledging the importance of the project, the BLGU of identified KBA areas passed a barangay resolution indicating their support to establish KBA site and identify KBA facilitator with monthly honorarium. Feeding activity for children in KBA sites were also conducted by some of the partner barangays. Monitoring of the KBA sessions and meeting of the parents were also included as the responsibilities of the BLGU together with the implementing partners.

Further, to enhance children’s school readiness, a series of trainings and material development workshops were spearheaded as part of the capacity building of the KBA facilitators, child development workers and kindergarten teachers. The facilitating factors that made the series of trainings successful,

KBA Facilitator with her pupils during their KBA Session at Sitio Kiapat, Ganatan, Arakan, North Cotabato

were the availability of the modules, materials and the expertise of the resource persons provided by Save the Children. There were seven trainings plotted and conducted during the six months – the KBA 1st cycle, Early Literacy, Early Numeracy, Active Learning Methodology with Application on MTB-MLE, Training on Positive Discipline, Follow Through RRR (Risk, Resilient, Reduction) Capacity Training and Establishing CPP (Child Protection Policy).

Indeed, the capacity building conducted to the participants helped them ensure their effectiveness in teaching the children. Pre and post-test in every training were done to evaluate and measure the development of the participants as well as the quality of the trainings workshops conducted. Generally, participants from different areas expressed their fulfillment with what they experienced during trainings.

PREP have twenty (20) KBA sites, in North Cotabato (Magpet, Arakan) five (5) sites, Sarangani (Alabel, Maitum) ten (10) sites and General Santos City five (5) sites. This is a daunting task, but the shared responsibility manifested in communal values and local practices like “Bayanihan or Dagyaw” certainly makes a difference to continue building on the four-month gains of the project.

(Karl Xander C. Cubilo, RSW)