06 August 2009

Lingap Bulilit's Noble Efforts

Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star
Miriam College's outreach program on early childhood education was aptly named Lingap Bulilit (care for young children). This project addresses the need to upgrade the quality of early childhood education in barangay day care centers by effectively responding to the needs of the marginalized sectors. Two of those needs include upgrading the competencies of teachers and building the capacities of parents as partners.

Through teacher-training, mentoring and capacity-building, the teachers and the parents are expected to help prepare their children for the 'big school.' Lingap Bulilit combine early childhood education, family life and values education with an active outreach program to train barangay day care workers who work with poor children.

Miriam College has mobilized its best teachers to serve as volunteer trainers and mentors who also reach out to their fellow teachers so that day care teachers with no background in early childhood education and development need not enroll in a formal school set-up. It usually takes a lot of time, effort and money to get into the formal process.

Day care workers are taught how to apply the Thematic Integrated Approach where subjects like Math, Reading, Social Studies are taught using unifying theme like family events to allow children to easily make the right connection. The project also builds the capacity of parents to help educate their children and mainstream the need for quality early childhood education in the municipal and barangay levels as an integral part of local governance.

The success of the project in Quezon City has demonstrated that it can be integrated into local government practice. Furthermore, the Comprehensive Early Childhood Education Law which mandates local governments to establish day care centers in their barangays assures that a project like the Lingap Bulilit can be mainstreamed and taken to the next level in a seamless transition. For instance, Lingap Bulilit was successfully replicated in Tanay, Rizal where a wildlife center project is being undertaken by Miriam College in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

For its contribution to education for poor communities, Lingap Bulilit was selected as one of the recipients of the Panibagong Paraan sa Puerto Prinsesa Award in 2007, a highly competitive project grant competition sponsored by the World Bank (WB). At the same competition, Lingap Bulilit got the attention of the Assisi Development Foundation, which funded its operation in Tanay.