Maria Melita Rahardjo

PG-PAUD, Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana


Penelitian kualitatif dalam artikel ini bertujuan untuk memeriksa peran kebijakan pemerintah, khususnya kurikulum pendidikan anak usia dini, dalam menjaga sustainabilitas warisan pengetahuan lokal. Ada tiga lembaga PAUD yang berpartisipasi dalam studi ini. Data diperolah dari hasil wawancara, observasi, dan dokumen pendukung. Hasil studi menunjukkan bahwa pada hakikatnya dokumen kurikulum PAUD telah memberi ruang bagi keberlangsungan pengetahuan lokal daerah. Konsep ini dikenal dengan istilah “Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan (KTSP)”. Meskipun demikian, lembaga-lembaga PAUD yang berpartisipasi dalam studi ini tidak berhasil mengintegrasikan kekayaan pengetahuan lokal daerahnya dalam kurikulum di sekolahnya. Kebanyakan guru memperlakukan kurikulum sebagai urusan administrasi belaka. Guru-guru tersebut jarang mempersiapkan rancangan pembelajaran harian mereka secara mendalam, sehingga akhirnya pengetahuan lokal daerah jarang terintegrasikan dalam pembelajaran mereka.

Keywords: Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan (KTSP), kurikulum 2013, kurikulum pendidikan anak usia dini, pengetahuan lokal daerahm kebijakan publik



There was an increased global awareness that investing in Early Childhood Education (ECE) could gain long-term benefit for the nation (Mustard, 2007; National Scientific Council on the Developing Child 2007; SDSN Thematic Group on Early Childhood Development, Education and the Transition to Work 2014). As a result, many governments issued public policy regarding their ECE provisions nationally, even though in some nations, the state / federal governments responsible for the policy development.

In Indonesia, the first ECE curriculum named ‘Kurikulum 2013’ was released by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) in 2014. Even though this curriculum was developed nationally, it was not a didactic curriculum. Indonesian ECE curriculum acknowledges that Indonesia contains various culture, ethnic, and geographical differences. Therefore, the national documents stated “curriculum should be developed and implemented contextually”. In other word, the curriculum development should be developed in unit basis so that the local knowledge and characteristics can still be addressed. In Indonesia, this curriculum development concept is known as “Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan (KTSP)” or “school based curriculum” (Kementrian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan 2014; Kementrian Pendidikan dan Kebudaaan 2015a).

Based on the concept, KTSP can act as a preservative tool for local knowledge. Cited by Kudngaongarm in Marcial (2011), “local knowledge generally refers to the long-standing traditions and practices of certain regional, indigenous, or local communities”. Common forms of local knowledge are languages, performances, histories, songs, stories, rituals, legends, games, folklore, laws, and cultural traditions (Holmes and Crossley, 2004; Marcial, 2011).

Children, as the hair of the local knowledge wisdom often fail to embrace this knowledge because of the global influences, mass media, and western, market-oriented lifestyle (Barter, 2014; Holmes and Crossley, 2004). Besides family, schools are supposed to hold strategic position in transmitting the local knowledge to the children. However, school systems are often built by mainstream cultural class and thus often fail to acknowledge some cultures (Demps et al., 2015; Rogoff et al., 2003; Watson – Veran and White, 1993).

The failure of the education settings to embrace local knowledge will cause meaningless children’s learning experiences. For the most of the children in the classroom, local knowledge might related to their everyday life. Providing other learning experiences that are taken from ‘typical’ or global sources might cause unfamiliar situation to the children. Various studies from around the world reveal that the integration of local knowledge within the classroom curriculum can benefit the children’s learning (Avery, 2013; Coles-Rithcie, Monson, and Moses, 2015; Mwaura, Slyva, and Mlamberg, 2008). Therefore, this qualitative study aims to answer this question “how is the implementation of KTSP in supporting the sustainability of the local knowledge in Indonesian early childhood service?”


This study was a descriptive qualitative study as the aim of the study is to gain a deep knowledge about the implementation of national ECE curriculum within ECE services, specifically the implementation of KTSP to support the sustainability of the local knowledge. The nature of the qualitative study allows the researcher to deeply examine a topic (Cresswell, 2014).

At the beginning of the study, the researcher explains the purpose of the study and the procedures from all the services. The permission was gained from the head of schools and the teachers to conduct interview and class observation, as well as to retrieve lesson plan documents. The data was collected from February to April.

This study involved three early childhood education services (preschools) in Salatiga which are MS, BP, and DW. For each preschool, we picked and observed several classrooms. The curriculum documents were also retrieved from each focus class. Moreover, interview was conducted involving the teachers and the headmasters.

The use of multiple source of evidence is to increase the accuracy of the data. Furthermore, the data triangulation, member checking, and prolonged time were used to establish the validity of this study (Cresswell, 2014; Yin, 1994).In relation to the reliability, the researcher use a qualitative procedures such as transcription, coding, and cross checking during the data collection and analysis (Cresswell, 2014; Yin, 1994).


The Implementation of KTSP in MS

MS has implemented Kurikulum 2013 in their EC services. The semester, weekly, and daily lesson plan documents has been developed by all the teachers and the principal at the beginning of the Kurikulum 2013 implementation (around 2013). According to the interview notes, those documents are still being used until recently and are renewed each year.

“We developed RKM, RKH, monthly, semester according to the theme and we used them from long time ago” (P1)

“I think the implementation of daily lesson plan has not been optimum yet because we still use the same lesson plans from the year before.” (P1)

At the end of the academic year, all the teachers together with the principal will design the lesson plan for the next academic year. The lesson plan design will be documented as a curriculum book, which the hard copy and the soft copy are kept by the administrative staff. The curriculum book contains themes for the whole semester, the weekly lesson plan, and the daily lesson plan. A classroom teacher then can plan their weekly theme and lesson plan, then she can print the weekly and daily lesson plan from the curriculum book file in the computer.

“We choose theme, but we try to choose different theme from other class. For example, I choose ‘transportation’, Miss A will choose ‘plant’ “ (Y1)

The weekly plan document shows the complete development of each week lesson plan. For example, the lesson plan for semester II week 5 was about “transportation”. On Monday they took “car” as sub-theme of the day, Tuesday was about “truck”, Wednesday was about “pedicab”, Thursday they discuss the “traffic regulation” and then they picked “bicycle” on Friday.

The daily theme then will be used to connect all day lesson plan. For example, on Monday where the sub theme was about car, the lesson plan schedule was to talk about car at the beginning, folding paper to make car origami, and then drawing a car. Another example, on Wednesday when the sub theme was about pedicab, the lesson plan schedule was to sing “pedicab song”, making patterns of car – bicycle – pedicab, cutting a circle shape, and making 3D car from milk bottle.

However, the lesson plan development was still “superficial” – borrowing Brewer’s term (Brewer 2007). Superficial means that the teacher used the theme for the lesson accessories. For example, when the “car” was picked up as a theme, the teacher used car pictures for counting activity, colouring activity, gluing activity, and even reading/ writing the words “C A R”. The car then, only serve as accessory function while the lesson plan is only involving large amount of worksheet activity such as counting, writing number, writing alphabets, or drawing.

The problem with the superficial lesson plan is that this kind of curriculum development approach does not support the preservation of local knowledge as we discussed above. On Wednesday, when they discussed about pedicab, the pedicab was used as accessories for learning pattern and song. Unlike car which is known globally, pedicab is a kind of traditional transportation that is owned only by some region. Therefore, pedicab is a local heritage and should be preserved. One of the strategies is to bring that topic into the classroom curriculum.

However, the teacher should explore the topic deeper instead of using pedicab as accessories of the lesson. The teacher can integrate history and social justice around the topic. They can explore how the modern public transportation such as “gojek” (online taxibike) or “grab car” (online taxi) can cause pedicab extinction. They can explore how the pedicab drivers support their family needs such as their children tuition fee in current situation.

Unfortunately, the class observation revealed that sometimes the lesson plan documents was not implemented well. On Monday, the lesson plan document showed that the children would do car paper folding and then drawing a car. However, besides drawing a car, other activities were writing, colouring, and letter arranging which was not connected to the theme.

Furthermore, on Wednesday, according to the lesson plan schedule, the children were going to sing “pedicab song”, making patterns of car – bicycle – pedicab, cutting a circle shape, and making 3D car from milk bottle. However, the activities were duplicating the transportation sound, colouring, spelling words, and writing letters. Even though curriculum documents are not a fixed lesson plan document and might leave space for some incidental learning triggered by the children (Brewer, 2007), the change of the lesson plan were not happened because of the children’s interests but because of the teacher. The observation reveals that teachers still had difficulties in implementing active learning for the children. They still relied heavily on paper and pencils activities. This kind of learning will threat the children’s critical thinking abilities.

The Implementation of KTSP in BP

The curriculum development in BP is similar to MS. Each year, at the end of the academic year, the teachers and the principal gather and design the curriculum for the following academic year. However, BP did not design the daily lesson plan for the whole year like MS. They designed the theme for one year (for two semesters), then the teachers develop the daily lesson plan a week before.

“For each day lesson plan, we take from the annual and semester program then we develop daily lesson plan” (D1)

This kind of daily curriculum development will be more contextual than the daily lesson plan that was developed at the beginning of the year. If the daily lesson plan was designed at the beginning of the academic year (before the teachers know their students), the plan might ignore the students’ characteristics, interests, and previous knowledge.

The constructivist believe that children’s daily life lay the foundations for learning various concepts (Fleer, Jane, and Hardy, 2007; Van Hoorn et al, 2011). That believe is in line with Piaget’s theory of scheme, assimilation, and accommodation: learning is modifying the existing patterns/ scheme to incorporate new information (Berk, 2009). The existing patterns are the children’s previous knowledge and they helps children to make sense of their world. Therefore, cultural knowledge that are taught without considering the students’ context will be meaningless and does not make sense for them.

Furthermore, the teachers in BP have already connected the theme to the local environment. For example, when they picked ‘job’ as a theme, they chose to learn about ‘fisherman’ because their school is located near a swamp and most of the people work as a fisherman.

“we live near swamp, so we choose a job that is familiar to the children….a job around the swamp…as a fisherman, we will talk about fisherman’s tools (G2)”

However, the teacher’s statement in the interview was not supported in the documents and classroom implementation. We examined the weekly and daily lesson plan of week five and six and conducted classroom observation. On week five, the weekly lesson plan showed that the class would learn about various kinds of job. Their weekly lesson plan covered farmer, carpenter, ship captain, astronaut, and ‘jamu’ seller (jamu is traditional medicines made from various local herbs). The documents were not consistent with the teachers’ statement before about the fisherman. The lesson plan document showed that they would learn about ship captain and pirates just like the western culture did. The teacher chose a story about ‘the cruel pirate’ but the students might not have a concept about pirates. Instead of a pirate story, the teacher could tell a story about water hyacinth which became threatening weeds for the local fishermen.

Furthermore, the inconsistent pattern was found during the class observation. Instead of doing what had been written in the daily lesson plan, the teacher arranged other learning experiences, which were not related to the theme. For example, the daily lesson plan showed that the class would learn about carpenter. The teacher asked for students’ opinion, then the students would mimicking the carpenter’s movements, tracing a carpenter picture, sorting things, and doing finger painting. However, the written lesson plan was not implemented. On that day, the teacher arranged three table for the children’s learning experiences. There were fruits and various transportation pictures on the first table. The students were asked for grouping the pictures. Next, there were colouring paper on the second table. The last table was writing number activity for the children.

According to the teachers, the reason why sometimes they do not stick to the daily lesson plan documents was because of the resources. They planned the daily lesson plan at the beginning of the week, and if they felt that they do not have time to prepare the pictures or the props for tomorrow lesson plan, they would just simply change it.

The daily lesson plan implementation in BP is mostly using rolling system just as we discussed above. The teacher will arrange three different activities on three tables. Then, they will divide the students into three groups, and those three groups will move from one table to another table until each group visits the entire three table. The teachers call it a rolling system.

The daily arrangement sometimes traps the teacher’s creativity. The table arrangement makes the teachers tend to prepare pencil and paper activities. Another Friday, the theme was about fish seller at traditional market. The first table activity was writing activity. The teacher asked the students to write down “P A S A R” (MARKET). Once they finished, the group would move to another table to count fish pictures and did some colouring. The space of the table mostly dragged the teacher to prepare paper and pencil activities. Even though sometimes the teacher arranged blocks on the table so that the students could make building or other structures related to the theme, that kind of activities were rarely provided.

From the discussion above, the teachers hold a strategic position for preserving and transmitting the local knowledge heritage to the next generation. Theoretically, the teachers know that their lesson plan should integrate things from the surrounding environment. However, their lesson plan documents indicated the lack of local knowledge integration. Furthermore, the implementation of the document or their plan also indicated that they still do common lesson activities for young children such as colouring, writing, tracing, and drawing. It is in accordance with the review presented by Rahardjo (2016) that Indonesian teachers had difficulties embracing active learning pedagogy.

The Implementation of KTSP in DW

DW preschool only has two educators – one teacher and one principal. Unlike the two previous preschools, they do not hold meeting for designing semester programs. They still use old lesson plan documents, even from two years before. Some time ago, they designed their semester, weekly, and daily programs. However, those old program documents are still used until recently. They used the same daily lesson plan documents every year, but they change the date to the recent date for the administrative purposes (such as annual report to education authorities/ supervisors).

During the interview, the teachers aware about early childhood – ‘Kurikulum 2013’ characteristics such as using thematic and student-centred approach. However, they do not carefully design their semester, weekly and daily lesson plan. One of the teachers who has been teaching for 35 years said that she rarely make any daily lesson plan because she had memorized the theme and activities in the old documents.

“I have been teaching for years. I sometimes do not make daily lesson plan because I have been memorized all the documents. I switch the theme based on my judgement. If there are theme that have not been brought up for sometimes, I will pick that theme” (G1)

Another teacher also said that she used the old program documents and stuck to what has been written in the document.

“For example, this week is the eighth week so the theme is water, air, and fire. There are 17 theme for each semester and each theme can be discussed for 2, 3, or 4 weeks.” (G2)

The same problem was also occured in DW. The daily learning experiences were mostly dominated by colouring, cutting, drawing, tracing, and gluing activity. The teachers also used the daily theme as activity accessories. One day when the theme was about carpenter, the teacher set up colouring, counting, and gluing activity. The children were asked to colour various carpenter’s tools. Another day when the theme was about water, the teacher set up writing, drawing and colouring. The children were asked to write “B A S A H K U Y U P” (soaking wet), to colour various water storage tools and also to draw various bottles.

The local knowledge was hardly integrated to the school curriculum in DW. Since DW adopt Kurikulum 2013 (around the end of 2014), they had produced a school curriculum book that has been used until recently. As we discussed above, this kind of lesson plan will not integrate students’ characteristics and interests, thus the lesson will be superficial and meaningless.




Even though the curriculum document was developed nationally, it is stated that the curriculum development should be done in unit basis or commonly known as KTSP (Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan). This curriculum development approach is similar to the school based curriculum development. We can say that the Indonesian curriculum leave space for the development of local cultural heritage. However, this study shows that the curriculum development in the classroom (lesson plans and the learning experiences) was often poorly developed.

The implementation of KTSP in supporting the sustainability of the local knowledge in early childhood service has not met the optimum level and thus, it can still be improved. Some important findings from this study regarding schools as the potential agents in supporting the sustainability of the local knowledge are:

  1. Weekly and daily lesson plans which are developed at the beginning of the academic year can hinder meaningful learning experiences because the teachers have not known their children yet.

We suggest that weekly and daily lesson plan should be developed, evaluated, and planned carefully by taking account on children’s interests, characteristics, and backgrounds. The teachers should change their perspectives that curriculum documents merely serve as administrative function.

  1. The teachers should move beyond regular theme so that the local knowledge heritage can be integrated to the lesson plan.

The three preschools have similar theme for their whole semester programs. The themes are similar to the thematic guidance book published by Kementrian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan (2015b). Common theme such as water, occupation, and family are often delivered typically. The teachers tend to use the theme as accessories of their learning activities and rarely discuss social justice, history, or local culture around those themes.

  1. Teachers hold powerful role to integrate local knowledge within their lesson plan. However, they should have time to think, plan, and evaluate their daily teaching practices.

Overall, KTSP is a potential tool to support the local knowledge transmition if the teachers think and plan the lesson plan carefully. Therefore, next studies or research can investigate or develop models that can improve teachers’ skills, specifically the curriculum development skills.


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