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Daycare Assist Program in the Phillipines

Richard Alcasas

What is your definition of values? How important is it to pass on the values that you were taught? How are values essential to a child’s successful future? And who is responsible to teach values?

“To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society”– President Theodore Roosevelt

There is not enough being said about how to nurture a child’s moral compass and even less being done about it. At Steps for Success Foundation, we are addressing this issue through our newly launched Daycare Assist Program. The Daycare Assist Program brings values to life in the classrooms of prep-school students, ages three to five years old. The DAP (Daycare Assist Program) package includes highly illustrated story books and upbeat audio CDs andDVDs, all including reinforcement of those ever important positive character skills and promoting the building of good habits. TV and DVD systems are also being provided. We strongly believe that through beginning this project today we will ensure the potential of the future generation. Our grassroots Daycare Assist Program is set up to offer free training sessions and counseling to daycare teachers and parents. Through this we are also building a network of individuals working to become better examples to our children.

Daycare Assist Program model:

Support Teachers > Impact Students > Strengthen Families

On January 8,2010 we officially began the Daycare Assist Program in Calapan City, located on the island of Oriental Mindoro, an island two hours south of Manila. Thanks to the sponsorship of the materials by Activated Ministries, we were able to deliver full packages of our-highly rated products free of charge to ten daycare centers. The initial contacts made with the local DSWD (Social Welfare Department). Visits to the prospective day cares and interviewing of teachers was done by Richard Alcasas and Andy Connolly. A training day was held at the Calapan City Hall for the teachers by Daycare Assist Program trainers Richard and Katrina Alcasas. A power point presentation was given, introducing the Steps for Success Foundation and its goals along with a show and tell giving tips and ideas on how to incorporate our products into their existing curriculums.

With the training successfully completed, we personally began delivering the packages to the ten daycare centers on January 13th through the 15th. Our products have already been widely accepted in various schools, churches and home schooling groups in the Philippines. Now we are training social workers in the use of the materials with hopes of encouraging the local government to get behind our focus on values. It is our deepest wish that this program will bring about the following results:

- Young students able to respond positively when faced with negative peer pressure
- Teachers trained to encourage and foster positive character development in students through using the fun interactive learning presented in our materials
- Parents becoming actively involved in the moral training of their children
Thanks again to Activated Ministries for their help in turning this values vision into reality

Daycare Centers and the Daycare Assist Program

Philippine daycare centers are preschools usually operated by one teacher caring for about 40 students in a barangay (village). The numbers easily increase closer to the city to an average of 80 students. A school day is divided into a morning and afternoon session with half the students in attendance at a time. An observation during our three years as missionaries in the Philippines has shown us a growing need for teacher support. A silent assumption is that if the parents are both working, the responsibility of character development in children falls to the school. Though this may be plausible in a Christian school or church-based school, it is flawed in a public school environment which generally does not incorporate moral values into the curriculum.

We have developed a values package including materials and teaching aids that have been tried and proven with excellent results. These adaptable multi-media aids address a wide range of character issues; from anger management to being friendly, having a positive attitude, the importance of honesty, sharing and dozens more, while at the same time providing essential foundation in the English language at this young age. Traditionally English is taught at the elementary grade level, but with school instruction and TV being spoken in “Taglish”(Tagalog mixed English) the quality of spoken English has declined over the last generation.

Activated Ministries has made an incredibly valuable contribution to jump start our Daycare Assist Program in sponsoring these tools which illustrate and enable students to visualize positive character skills and thus giving them a better start at future success in life.

Daycare Teachers

Most of these teachers have been single-handedly running the daycare centers in their villages for over ten years. The daycare facility is usually a one room, rectangular cinder block design. Each year these dedicated teachers appeal to the local families to perhaps paint the facility, provide a TV and DVD set up for theclassroom, or maybe install a ceiling. The daycare teachers that we have interacted with in Calapan City are some of the most resourceful that we have met in the Philippines. The teachers here are experts of recycling and reusing.Wander around any of their classrooms and you feel like you have stepped into a small museum of homemade teaching aids and wall posters, mostly created by transforming garbage. Two empty soda bottles are transformed into a Christmas star after being cut in three, unfolded and glued together. Small glass bottles with varying amounts of colored water in them create a set of chimes for teaching musical pitch. The walls display a meticulous hand painted alphabet including a cartoon picture to go with the each letter. We foresee great results by investing our time and products in these creative individuals.

For many of the daycare centers, the materials that Activated Ministries has sponsored are the first new products these classrooms have ever received. Feedback has already confirmed the enthusiasm and encouragement the teachers feel at having received these treasured items. These hardworking teachers receive a basic salary from the local government of no more than $150 dollars per month. A student will pay an average tuition of $1 dollar per month that covers school materials and pays the utilities of the daycare facility.


It is our desire to see children raised with a defined moral compass, able to discern and influence this world with good. Our objective is to use repetition in varied and interesting ways to create reinforcement of those positive traits. We feel that introducing values at an early age will achieve the best long term results. Richard Alcasas spent a few months teaching High School students in order to assess their knowledge of values. We are currently applying through the mayor’s office to host forums at local colleges as a reminder of the importance of values in achieving success in life. The importance of having a program that teaches children values and how to apply them in real to life situations is a need that should be reinforced at every level of the learning journey. We are beginning with the Daycare Assist Program and project that it is just the starting point at making a great impact on the future.

The Future

We are currently monitoring ten daycare centers, with a combined count of 524 students. There are another 59 daycares (impacting 2,100 students) on the waiting list for this local area. In Metro Manila we have 23 daycares awaiting local funding approval and the Rotary Club in a neighboring province is organizing the sponsorship for another 60 daycares. We are researching and applying for further sponsorship in order to expand the Daycare Assist Program to about 200 daycare centers (impacting roughly 15,500 students) before the end of 2010.

The Social Welfare Department (DSWD) is the government body which monitors and approves the curriculum for daycare centers in the Philippines. The Steps for Success Foundation is working closely with the DSWD, providing training with our package materials in order to encourage the local government to invest in purchasing our locally translated daycare packages in the future. We envision these and other newly developed materials being applied to the national curriculums of daycare centers through to high school.

It has been two years since the conceptualization of the Daycare Assist Program. Activated Ministries is credited with being the first large sponsor for the Daycare Assist Program and getting the Steps to Success Foundation off to a momentous start. We thank you!

Project Outline

The Daycare Assist Program (DAP) is a grassroots project of the Steps for Success Foundation.

The aim is to reinforce moral values and teach charac­ter skills to young students in daycare and prep school environments. Our Values Assist Program addresses similar focuses in Elementary and High Schools

Projections for 2010

Expand DAP to 200 daycare centers
Introduce DAP add-ons, such as multimedia appliances
Ongoing teacher training and assessments
Research Tagalog translation and local printing