Over the weekend of March 30-April 3, ICM Jumpstart graduations were held across seven ICM bases. Dressed in caps and gowns, 2, 275 children marched across the stage, shook their teacher’s hand and received their diplomas. It was a happy and memorable way to close the children’s chapter of Kindergarten studies and move ahead to the learning that awaits at primary school.
As the 2016-17 students formed the final Jumpstart classes, a bigger celebration was ICM’s graduation from operating Jumpstart Kindergartens.
Jackie Banasing, ICM’s Director of Education, started ICM’s Jumpstart program in 2005-06 with three kindergartens in Koronadal. At that time, only 46% of poor Filipino children were able to attend kindergarten. In the 12 years Jumpstart has been in operation, 19,629 children living in ultrapoverty have been given the necessary academic foundation to thrive in primary school. While exact numbers are not available, reports indicate that almost 93% of Jumpstart graduates are still attending school.
At the Jumpstart graduations, the base leaders spoke to the audience, ‘Our goal from 12 years ago has been largely accomplished. Today, 92% of poor Filipino Children are attending kindergarten. Together, we have met a need that was dear to all of our hearts: providing a great educational foundation for poor children who might not have had the chance to attend kindergarten. But today, as the Department of Education continues to expand and excel at their universal kindergarten roll out, ICM has seen that the need in this area is not as great as it once was. We are overjoyed today to be able to pass the baton to those who can carry on this great work.’
As the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) fully takes over the care and nurturing of kindergarten children, ICM has taken the decision to redirect our resources to the next area of greatest need. The education mission remains the same: to provide a great academic foundation that gives children a lifelong love of learning. ICM’s new strategy, Family Academy, will support and work alongside DepEd, by focusing on early childhood education at the family level, to prepare children to enter school.
Family Academy takes a two-generational approach to early education over an eight-month program. A personal coach, educational supplies and training empower parents to become their child’s first teachers through a math and phonics curriculum.
Through home teaching visits twice a week, along with a Values, Health and Livelihood curriculum for parents, Family Academy gives children aged 3-5 a great start to their academic life by preparing them to enter the public school system. Invested and engaged from the very beginning of their child’s learning, parents encourage their children to start and remain in school.
The trial results are positive, revealing that 83% of parents feel better equipped as parents, and after completing Family Academy, children show a 635% improvement in math skills*.
Tomorrow we will introduce a Family Academy participant, Charmy Angel, and her mother!
*based on a 2016 study by Chinese University of Hong Kong