Expanding Spring Break: Extending benefits across the country and to older grades

We’re always looking to expand the meaning of spring break and increase coverage. Today (Feb. 5), President Yun attended the “Folk Life Discussion – Jilbom School” at Shinwoo Elementary School in Hanam-si, Gyeonggi-do, where he announced the nationwide expansion of Jilbom School in the second half of this year and the extension of benefits to upper elementary grades by 2026. The event was held under the theme of ‘Nulbom School with warm care and education’, emphasizing communication with the public. The policy aims to provide a stable educational environment for students by offering a variety of after-school and care programs from early morning to evening.

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always spring school meaning

Currently, the meaning of spring school is limited. The plan was to provide all first graders with two hours of free play-based arts and crafts, psychological and emotional programs to help them adjust to school, every day for a year. It’s a combination of primary afterschool and nursery school. Again, this is an experiment and not yet fully implemented.

It was a combination of an existing elementary after-school program and a nursery school, and it was still being piloted to see if it would work.

Elementary afterschool is an educational system that has been operating various types of programs outside of the regular curriculum since 2006. Introduced in 2004, the Primary Care Classroom is a system where children are cared for after school by caregivers in a separate classroom within an elementary school. However, there has been an ongoing demand for an extension as primary care classes are often only open until 5pm.

The school was scheduled to be introduced nationwide from the second semester of 2024, and its work was to be separated from teachers in principle. In the first semester of 2024, the first 2,000 schools will be operated nationwide, and from the second semester, the program will be expanded to all elementary schools nationwide.

However, with Yoon’s announcement, it seems that the program will not only be limited to first graders, but will also be expanded in meaning and practice.

Our Goals and Plans for Expansion

President Yoon emphasized the importance of public care and noted that the role of nursery schools should be expanded as a national care policy. By providing students with a variety of programs that are available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., we reduce the caregiving burden on parents and support the development of students’ academic and social skills. The president said that schools should be the center of education in a democratic society, and to that end, he plans to expand the AlwaysSchool program to all schools from the current 2,000.

Conflicts with the whole school day are inevitable

The announcement is expected to spark further backlash from the National Teachers’ Union, which has criticized even the implementation of spring school, which has been limited to first graders, as slow. On January 16, officials from the National Teachers’ Union held a press conference in front of the government’s Seoul headquarters, calling for the “total withdrawal of Nulbom School without consideration for students’ lives.

In a statement, the Korean Teachers’ Union called for a “total cancellation” of the program, pointing to conflicts over work since its implementation, excessive administrative work for the program that has been transferred to teachers, safety issues due to differences in dismissal times for care students, an increase in combined care classrooms due to a lack of space, and problems with the quality of care programs.

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Emphasize community engagement

President Yoon has always emphasized that the cooperation of not only schools, but also the local community, including universities, local governments, and organizations, is essential to the success of spring schools. They promised to make it easier for parents by offering programs tailored to neighborhoods and conditions, increasing hours of operation, and offering free programs and dinners. He also called on experts in various fields of society to donate their talents to make the program more rewarding and beneficial. Through collaborations like this, he emphasized that building a country where children are happy is a top priority.

Participants in spring school site visits and discussions

President Yoon visited the Jilbom School classrooms at Shinwoo Elementary School and observed broadcast dance, jujutsan, and arithmetic classes to see firsthand the program’s progress and students’ participation. The discussion was attended by parents, teachers, principals, dedicated Nulbom staff, private experts, and representatives from program participation and development organizations to discuss the development and improvement of Nulbom schools. From the government side, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Lee Ju-ho and Deputy Minister of Education Oh Seok-hwan attended, and from the President’s Office, Chief of Staff Lee Kwan-seop, Chief of Policy Sung Tae-yoon, and Chief of Social Affairs Jang Sang-yoon pledged their continued support and interest in the policy.

Government promises of continued support

President Yoon’s remarks highlighted that the Nursery School Program is an important national policy that goes beyond simple childcare services to improve the quality of education and provide customized programs for students at different stages of development. These policies reduce the caregiving burden on parents, while providing students with more learning opportunities and social interaction to promote inclusive growth. The government plans to actively encourage and support collaboration with the community and the participation of experts from various fields to ensure the successful operation and expansion of the program.

The nationwide expansion of Always Spring School and the extension of benefits to higher grades heralds positive social change for future generations through the provision of comprehensive care and learning opportunities in the classroom. The government’s efforts are expected to have a positive impact on students, parents, and education officials alike.

These presentations and discussions provide important information for those interested in education policy and care, and demonstrate the future direction of the organization and the government’s continued investment and interest in education.

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