A New Kind of Classroom
The growth of progressive schools in the country is a reflection of our shifting ideas on ways of learning.
THINK BIG TAGUIG STAFF // 7 MIN READ
Published November 23, 2018
The philosophy behind progressive education is that a child’s experience is valued over learning facts. Experiential learning – or learning by doing – enables a child to develop a stronger understanding of the task. By allowing them to discover answers to problems or questions on their own, we are teaching children how to think. By giving more time for group work, we teach children about collaboration and teamwork. All of these skills are useful in the real world.
Kristine Canon, an educator with 20 years of teaching experience and an advocate for the progressive movement, strongly believes that progressive education has the potential to bring out the best in each child. “We follow the lead of the child, their interests and talents. This way, we are able to address their particular needs,” she said.
The small student-to-teacher ratio compared to that of conventional schools ensures that sufficient focus is given to each individual student. But it also presents other benefits. “Students tend to have more confidence. Since the ratio is smaller, students are given more chances to shine. They have more opportunities to share, lead, and mentor,” Canon added.
In a progressive classroom, teachers act more like facilitators rather than transmitters of knowledge. Children become active participants in the discussions, as they are given opportunities to speak their minds. “They become good communicators,” Canon pointed out.
She also believes that progressive education helps children develop a genuine love for learning, one she hopes they will carry with them as they grow into adults. When students are active learners who can problem solve and work independently, they are equipped to face challenges.
Here are some progressive schools in the City of Taguig that are worth checking out.
Integrow Children’s Activity Center
Integrow has been in the industry for over 20 years. They cater to children from one year and six months to four years and ten months. Classes are small: for toddlers, there is a 10:2 student-to-teacher ratio, while older children have a 15:2 student-to-teacher ratio. Integrow uses the “project approach” where students are guided into in-depth studies of real world topics, leading them to discover the answers and lessons by themselves. Integrow also employs “thematic learning” where classrooms are divided into learning centers based on themes. These centers include Math & Blocks, Reading & Storytelling, Art, and Pretend Play.
“We want the children to have fun while learning. We engage them with games and activities without them even knowing it, ” said Christine Grace Villarama, overseeing directress. Because their students come from different nationalities with varied cultural and religious backgrounds, the school also promotes cultural diversity and harmony.
Address: Units 203-204, Building 2, Bonifacio High Street, Lane O, BGC, Taguig City. Telephone: (02) 856-2281. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Playworks, everything is child-centered. “We believe in following the child’s lead,” said Gabbie Limjoco, school directress. “We follow the consensus of the class on what they want to learn. Then the next activities will be designed to help them answer the questions in their minds.” Playworks tries to integrate the competencies that the students need to learn with their chosen subject, while employing a “play-based” philosophy in their programs. They have a tight student-to-teacher ratio: for one year olds, there are eight students to one teacher and one teacher aide, and for three year olds they have fifteen students to three teachers and one teacher aide.
Students are evaluated not by the usual “pen and paper”, but rather based on their strengths and weaknesses, on what they are good at and what they need to work on. “Playworks students develop a good ability to communicate, to discuss their feelings, thoughts, and ideas. They are that way because we show them respect. We show them that they are capable of doing things,” Limjoco shared.
Address: 6/F SM Aura Office Tower, McKinley Parkway, Taguig City. Telephone: (02) 772-3471 or (0920) 950-0078. Email: email@example.com.
“We want to make education meaningful for children,” said Danmaire Consing, the program consultant of Summit School. In contrast to the cognitive development focus of traditional teaching methods, their “Bank Street Developmental-Interaction Approach” to teaching ensures that they provide students with a holistic education – intellectual, emotional, social, and physical. The key is to observe how young learners develop. “We do not have pre-conceived adult notions on how a child ought to learn,” said Consing. “Each stage of a child’s growth is different, so we have varied our relation and techniques, as well as the environment and learning opportunities we provide for them.” In today’s “selfie” and “me” world, learners are taught how to be collaborative. “They are taught how to be part of a community,” shared Consing.
Address: 38th Drive North corner University Parkway, BGC, Taguig City. Telephone: (02) 881-9032. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tridium’s curriculum starts by identifying the questions that each student has in their minds. “We assess what they know and what they ought to know,” said Dr. Lourdes Ferrer, school principal. “Teachers give the students questions, and then they evaluate the answers they receive.” From there, the school guides the students on how to come up with the answers themselves. They are never told how to solve a problem.
The teachers are constantly challenged to find ways to connect and integrate different subjects in their program activities. In one activity, students were given water bottles and they were asked to fill them up with water, based on their fractioned value (math). Then the students discovered that each bottle, now with varied amounts of water, created different sounds (science and music). Dr. Ferrer hopes that every graduate of Tridium will be someone who CARES: can Collaboratively work with others, has a positive Attitude, is Responsible in doing their tasks, is Environmentally responsive, and is destined to be Successful in achieving his or her goals.
Address: 91 Diego Silang St. AFPOVAI Phase 2, Taguig City. Telephone: (02) 692-1901. Email: email@example.com.
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