Monday, October 26, 2009

Pre- School Education in Korea

Pre-school education was largely provided by religious, social, and other private organizations, until the Education Act provided a legal basis for early education in 1949. In 2004, the government enacted an Early Childhood Education Act to develop pre-schools independently from primary schools and secondary schools.
National, public, and private pre-schools provide courses to children from the ages three to five. The goal of the current early education curriculum is to provide an appropriate environment for nurturing children and promoting their development through various, enjoyable activities, utilizing diverse contents and innovative methods of instruction.

The Kindergarten curriculum developed by the state is composed of five “life domains”: health, society, expression, language, and exploration. Pre-school education has the following objectives:

1. Cultivate the daily habits necessary for physical and mental health

2. Provide basic education for everyday life, nurture social skills, and introduce Korean history and culture

3. Provide experiences that stimulate creative thought and expression

4. Improve basic communication skills through unique experiences

5. Help students develop the ability to reflect upon the problems of everyday life and appreciate nature

As of April 1, 2007, 37 percent (56 percent, if based on five-year-old children) of pre-school age children attended 8,294 kindergartens and nursery schools nationwide. In order to provide pre-school educational opportunities to children of low-income families, the government began to adopt the following series of measures:

1. Financial aid for pre-school to low income families starting from September of 1999

2. Free tuition to five-year-old children from 2002

3. Differential tuition aid to three-and four-year-old children starting from 2004, and support to families with two or more children attending nursery school or pre-school starting from 2005.

In order to improve the quality of pre-school education, the government annually develops free teaching materials and distributes them to pre-schools nationwide. These materials are separated into three or four types: guidelines for teachers, books for children, guidelines for parents, and supplementary materials for the general public. In 2007, as part of an educational welfare policy, the government developed educational programs to bridge the gap in learning and development between those children who are beneficiaries of educational institutes and those who are not. In 2008, the government offered these programs at pre-schools nationwide.
In addition, annual evaluation of pre-schools will bee performed from 2008 to 2010 to understand and assist the operations of early-education schools.

No comments: