I received a message in our other site Ask Teacher from a mom that voiced out what a friend told her. “A friend of mine told me not to enroll my child in a progressive school because college here in the Philippines is traditional and might not be able to cope up with the system”, said her friend. She asked my opinion about it. I got some back-up for this myth (yup, it’s a myth) from reliable and established educators and here are their answers:
“I think it’s a misnomer for parents to think that having their child establish their educational foundations in a progressive school means that they will have a hard time adjusting in college.”
“There are many students who have graduated from progressive elementary schools who have thrived in traditional high schools; and still others who have graduated from progressive high schools who have succeeded in traditional colleges and universities. What a progressive school teaches you is to be creative, open-minded, resourceful and excited about learning and new ideas. All of these attributes spell success in any educational (or working!) environment–whether you consider they traditional or progressive. I know of many progressive school alumni who have continued on to traditional high schools/colleges who know how to get along with people from all walks of life, and who still exhibit that zeal for learning new things that was imbued in them by progressive schools :) There will always be a period of adjustment during that jump from progressive to traditional, but that period of adjustment is to be expected and will definitely be overcome.”
— Teacher Ani Almario, is the directress of The Raya School and the Product Development Officer of Adarna House, Inc.. She also has a Master of Arts in Education, Learning, Design and Technology from Stanford University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Curriculum Studies in the University of the Philippines.
“I have observed that college students who come from progressive schools, are more relaxed, calm, and they are Survivors ! They are very independent , but at the same time can work with peers with collaboration and cooperation. Contrary to what others are saying, I find these students coping well in college life. In fact their coping skills are better than their classmates who come from traditional schools .”– Teacher Claudette Tandoc, a family life and child development specialist. She is a professor in De La Salle University Manila College of Education. She has led several trainings about various family and child issues and have served as a consultant to a number of schools in the country.
“American philosopher and educational reformist John Dewey said that “Education is not a preparation for life, but is life itself”. It is not really college that we are preparing our grade school and high school kids for. Rather, they are already expected to be applying now whatever they are learning in school, to their own families and homes, their community, and eventually to the society. The outside world is not structured, rather, it is where individuals are “tested” on how to cope and survive using the values, knowledge, skills, talents and experiences that they have learned and imbibed.”
“There are more progressive early childhood centers compared with grade schools and highs schools in the Philippines. Some graduates of these preschools have “moved up” to traditional schools. Dr. Miriam Covar, retired Professor of the UP College of Home Economics, Dept of Family Life and Child Development conducted a study on this, and found no negative effects nor difficulties among students who transferred from a progressive school to a traditional setting.”
“On a personal note, for thirty years as an educator, I have observed that most graduates of progressive schools are happier, confident and well-adjusted individuals, who have smoothly adapted and complemented accordingly to any given situation and environment.”
— Teacher Carolyn Ronquillo, family life and child development specialist for thirty years. She spent most of these as a professor the University of the Philippines. She is currently an Associate Professor, Dept of ECE, Woosong University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea; former Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, MarylandUSA and former Assoc Prof, UP Diliman. Founding President, Asia Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (Philippine Chapter).
“Yes, it is true that most colleges if not all follow a traditional system but I really think that most parents miss this point- about being more concerned whether their child has this sustained interest and love for learning, has a good foundation in basic life skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, etc) and has developed a set of principles and values.”
“This where progressive schools come in. John Dewey (the best known proponent of Progressive Philosophy) explains that education is a “means for growth, activity, community building, reciprocity in teaching and learning, moral development and democracy).
Simply put, progressive education prepares a child for life because it enables a child to process information, rather than just memorise them; teaches a child to ask questions rather than to just say yes or no immediately; and it draws out the uniqueness of each child, rather than just letting him conform. It allows a child to understand his world by letting him experience things first-hand. It exposes a child to a community outside his family.”
“How can a child not be able to cope with a system if he has experienced learning in a meaningful way? All the more, parents should be confident that their child is ready to face a new environment (that is college) because he has been prepared to live more fully, to be proactive, to think outside the box, and to be sociable.”
— Teacher Tanya Velasco, an early childhood educator. She graduated with a degree in Family Life and Child Development from UP Diliman and received her M.A. in Leadership in Education from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. She has been in the field of preschool teaching for almost a decade now, and for the past 2 years, has found her love in teaching college students. She heads GURUFIRM, a training and consultancy firm on early childhood education, family life education and life-long learning.