“Don’t send your child to a PROGRESSIVE SCHOOL because they won’t be able to cope in college” and other Progressive School Myths..

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.”

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— 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 10951996_10152770604873823_2065163248_owith 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.”

10930866_10153675626109097_1841952962956262955_n— 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 Leadershi10828043_10152526495538161_4146389197665424114_op 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.

Planning you child’s SPACE and TIME

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At my monthly guesting in Anthony Pangilinan’s Magbago Tayo, last Saturday, I invited Teacher Tanya Velasco of GuruFirm and author of the blog Chronicles of a Teacher Mom. She specializes in Infants and Toddlers and is also a Family Life and Child Development Specialist. We discussed how to plan a child’s environment (space and time) at home, based on how we do it in the classroom.

First the Physical Environment or SPACE. When mapping your child’s space, whether it be in his room, in the car, etc.. categorize the space by the following :

1. Map the space in specific and functional areas. We decentralize our classroom into different learning areas: a rest area, play area, activity area, reading area, etc. You can demarcate each space with furniture like a shelf or table, a mat with a distinct color or with a picture on what that area is.

Mapping your child’s space in areas will develop skills like: sorting, visual-spacing, and categorizing. He will also learn how to clean up independently because he knows where everything should go after using them.

2. Separate the quiet from the active space. Downtime is important in your child’s schedule so he needs a quiet place for activities like resting or reading. Current studies show that even adults are encouraged not to bring in work in the bedroom to improve sleep. In theP7020642 classroom, the rest area is far from the manipulatives or block area. The rest area can double as the reading area, though, because they are both quiet activities.

During the show last Saturday, one listener asked what if they live in a studio? You can still do it. Teacher Tanya had a great suggestion that an area can double as a play area by rolling out a mat to cue your child that it’s play time. Then when he needs to sleep already, the mat can be rolled back and tucked away for the same area to be the sleeping area.

Now let’s plan the temporal environment or your child’s TIME.

1. Plan the day into different routines. Like the physical space, you can map your child’s day into areas or routines. Sleeping, eating, playing, etc! When we plan our students’ class schedule , we have:

  • Free Play – a time when your child can explore anything he’s interested in. This is an important part of his schedule so you can observe what his favorite activities are. Do you want to totally eliminate the sentence “I’m bored!” from his vocabulary? Well, having free play strengthens his creativity in entertaining himself which sadly have been replaced by gadgets these days.
  • Circle Time – It’s a time for the members of the family to converse or bond! During circle time in the classroom, the teacher calls the students over to huddle and discuss what will happen in class. At home, you should carve time where you have intimate talks with your kids, regardless of age and preferably sans gadgets!
  • Activity Time – There are a lot of extra-curricular and curricular activities available for your child.. There’s sports, music, reading, writing, cooking, etc! Unfortunately, we tend to overschedule our child’s day but filling it with activities that your child may not be interested in. Observe his interests and talk to him on the activities that you will put on the schedule. If your child is too young, choose 1-2 activities from different domains like sports and cooking, art and ballet, etc. Try to see if she won’t be too tired for the classes and choose a time when she’s most awake like in the mornings. For older kids, zone in on their interests because the activities available for them can be pricey. If he’s enrolling in guitar class, purchase an inexpensive guitar first because he may switch instruments or drop his interest altogether.P6240428
  • Play Time – the most underrated block of time is play time. This is different from Rest Time because if you haven’t seen a child play, it is not restful!

2. Make use of Transitions. When moving from one routine to another, use transitions or prep them to move to the next routine. Teacher Tanya’s toddler Ellie knows when it’s time to pack away her toys and move to her rest time, because Teacher Tanya counts to 10 or sings a song that prompts Ellie. Young children find comfort in knowing what will happen next. The only reason a crying students stops crying from separation anxiety in school is because the routines and transitions are done consistently.

It’s interesting that while discussing this topic, we were able to also give tips to the parents as well! Planning your own SPACE and TIME as parents or teachers, is not so different from the points we talked about.

For more of Teacher Tina’s Parenting Tips, tune in to Magbago Tayo every Saturday at 8 am, Channel 59 and 92.3FM Radyo Singko.

 

MomSchool series by Mommy Mundo

Mommy Mundo, the go-to resource portal for active, modern moms in the Philippines, presents the first talk in its MomSchool series on March 21, 2015 (9:00 am – 12:00 nn) at The Forum, Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City.

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I’m so excited to be part of it as I give tips on How to Find a School, Comparing Traditional and Progressive Schools and How to be a Partner to your Child’s Teacher. With me will be Ryce Calunsag of Learning Libraries who will be discussing How to Raise a Bilingual Child.

Participation is FREE! Please text 0908-865-7245 to register.

Hope to see all the followers of this blog so I can answer all your questions in person!

How a progressive curriculum is implemented OR Why playing Minecraft is a good example of the learning process

Okay, so I caught you on the clickbait. Bear with me. Minecraft will eventually appear on this post. In number 4 to be exact.

The scope of any progressive school is the same as any traditional school because we are all under the Department of Education. The department hands down a curriculum that guides schools on content. Then what differentiates the progressive school from all others when they need to follow the same scope? Actually , even progressive schools may have different APPROACHES on being progressive but the following are the general definitives on a progressive approach:

1. They maintain small class sizes. Even if there is a set scope provided by the Department of Education, the small class size allows the teacher to check out the individual strength and weakness of each child and can check if the class in general can assimilate the curriculum.

2. The teachers are given freedom to implement the curriculum based on class skill level. If they find a child that has difficulty even with a developmentally appropriate curriculum, the teachers recommend for a developmental-pediatric consult to rule out any learning disability. On the other hand, if they find that their students are ready for concepts in the next level, they are exposed to such concepts in class.

3. Activities are planned to make the curriculum more experiential for the students. Learning through experience is the Dewey mantra. If I ask you what you remember most in school, it is usually wrapped around a story.. “I remember the story of The Little Prince because  I had so much fun drawing the snake eating an elephant which everyone thought was a hat” or “I remember the order of the presidents because a teacher sang a rap song in class! Hilarious! ” I hardly hear anyone say, “I remember the poem that Jose Rizal wrote because of a Social Studies exam I studied for”!

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To learn road safety and traffic rules, these students went to a Child Safety simulation place for their Social Studies lesson on Community.

 

4. The teachers use creative ways to pique the interest of the students. So much so that the students themselves are interested enough to research on their own and deepen or advance the concept. This is crucial. Finland’s excellent education system is based on internal motivation. They create lesson plans that makes the learner more curious of the topic to willingly research about it on his own. Check out the kids who play the computer game , Minecraft. They know every detail of the game! This is because it piqued their interest, they researched on their own and they have a community of other learners to bounce off ideas with! Now if every school concept can be creatively planned like this game, more kids can enjoy the learning process more.

5. There is peer-to-peer learning or group work. As described, playing Minecraft is a perfect example in today’s children’s learning process. An important part of the process is peer-to-peer learning. Children playing any computer game, starting a hobby or reading a book, usually consults the internet for other children doing the same thing and they learn from each other! The student then becomes a teacher. And that is crucial in a progressive classroom — the opportunity for students to bounce off ideas with one another with effective mediation from the teacher. This is why progressive classrooms are set up with the opportunity to group chairs and tables together and group work is a major part of the lesson plan. This not only encourages peer-to-peer learning, it also strengthens the student’s socio-emotional skill of working well with others.

6. Their developmental checklists (specially at the preschool level) is revisited annually to check if the skills are still applicable to the current age level. For samples of developmental checklists, check out the National Association for the Education of Young Children. For the elementary and secondary levels, most schools follow a prescribed curriculum by the state. All have the same goals, the difference is in the method of achieving the goals.

Ultimately, the question is, do children who have undergone progressive programs reach their full potential? They do! I have witnessed all of our students go on to different secondary schools and one thing is common for all of them. Because we have encouraged their strengths and helped them with their weaknesses, because we molded the curriculum around them so they can better understand it, because there is a sense of trust between teacher and student, they have gone on and conquered whatever curriculum they are faced with, whether traditional or progressive.

Teacher Tina’s Parenting Tips

After a year and a half in DZMM‘s Kapamilya Konek, I was invited by inspirational speaker Anthony Pangilinan to be a monthly guest and weekly contributor to his weekly Radyo5 show, “Magbago Tayo!”, a show that inspires change in all aspects of life.

As for my weekly contribution, the show has a short segment to present Teacher Tina’s Parenting Tips. As Family Life and Child Development specialists, teachers are not only experts in school but are advocates of the forging of parent-child relationships at home.

Since it was the week of the Chinese New Year, my tips were based on quotes from the movie Mulan (a favorite of my kids!) :

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These tips can be seen by watching “Magbago Tayo!” at TV5 Channel 59, can be heard in FM 92.3 every Saturday at 8:00 am and can be read on this blog :)

Looking for a progressive high school?

Raya High is the answer! One of the country’s premier progressive schools, The Raya School, led by power educators Ani Almario and CP David has finally decided to open a high school. Most progressive schools in Manila offer preschool and elementary levels only but they took the plunge and moved forward.. paving the way for all of us to follow suit in the future! That’s great news for most parents and progressive elementary schools whose graduates are looking for a similar learning environment. Teacher Ani spoke to the parents of our graduating class to share their philosophy and goals for Raya High and presented this diagram: The-Raya-Child-copyrightThey will start their high school in their current location at 109 Scout Fernandez, Quezon City and will eventually move to their new campus in Fairview, QC by 2017. For inquiries regarding Raya High, you can call the Raya School at 922.9254.

How the progressive approach can make you a better teacher..even if you teach in a traditional school!

Last week, we had another Progressive Early Childhood Education seminar up North. Before we speak with teachers, we get information on the school and how our approach can complement and not go against their existing curriculum. The approach and basic concepts of progressive education can help any teacher, regardless if their school is progressive or not. So teachers, listen up!

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1. Know your students. Progressive education is child-centered. However, most traditional schools usually have packaged curricula that need to be unpacked regardless of the developmental skills of the students. One size should fit all. In reality, not all the students can follow the same pace.

During the first weeks of class, try to make a short observation log for each student that not only contains basic information but also interests, strengths, and weaknesses that you observed. If you notice a student having hard time with your Math lesson plan, for example, suggest websites that offer free Math activities. They can do this when they get home.

I understand that most school teachers have more than 25 students in a class and this may be difficult to do. But trust me when I say that your teaching can actually become easier if you try to get to know your students more and prescribe ways to work on their weaknesses and highlight their strengths.

2. Make activities more experiential. “Think of your most vivid school memory, whether good or bad.” I asked this from our recently concluded teacher seminar and their replies confirmed John Dewey’s belief of experiential learning or learning through experiences. One teacher said, “I remember a poetry reading contest that I joined and I was supposed to read ‘O Captain, My Captain’. Since the role needed me to look poor, my parents made me dress up in a dirty dress and they washed coffee all over me to make me look dirty. I cried when I saw the other participants who were spankingly clean!! I turned to my parents and said ‘How can you dress me up this way?!’ I had no choice but to read my poem in dirty clothes. Lo and behold, I won the contest!”

I asked that teacher, “Who wrote ‘O Captain, My Captain’?” She answered, “Walt Whitman”. The poetry reading contest happened 10 years ago and not only did she remember the author, I can bet she can recite the whole poem still. Why? Because it was wrapped around the experience of joining that poetry contest.

Children learn through experience and they remember things that they are involved in. I then told that group of teachers, that they are now the memory-makers of their students. I hardly hear children say they remembered something because they studied for it in school. They remember things that they have experienced rather than things they’ve memorized.

3. Use themes close to the interest of the students. In our school, our teacher are keen observers and listeners. They usually know what their students are currently watching, reading, playing , eating, etc. because they engage in a lot of conversations with them. I had to watch through PowerPuff Girls, Barney all the way to today’s Sofia the First and Dora the Explorer; read The Hunger Games Trilogy and other young adult literature and listen to Taylor Swift‘s whole RED album, just to learn what they’re interested in! Once you know this, you can use these to deliver your lesson plan and voila, you will get their much coveted attention.

4. Unleash your creativity! Believe me when I say that all of us are creative. Check out your strength and use that to jumpstart your creativity in your teaching. If you are a teacher who can sing, find songs that you can change the lyrics to suit your lesson plan and sing to your students. If you can draw, why not have illustrations in your powerpoint that you yourself drew? Find new ways to deliver an otherwise boring lesson plan and , again, you will get your students’ much coveted attention.

5. Work with parents. Your students are members of basic family units that influence their beliefs, behavior and values. You will only meet the goals you set for your students if you partner up with the people they spend most of their time with.  Apart from the scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences, try to have small chats with parents during drop-off and pick-up times.

**We would like to thank the preschool teachers and Bachelor of Elementary Education  students of First City Providential College for last week’s PRESCHOOL EDUCATION seminar! If you want us to talk to your teachers or parents, you can contact us at teachertinazamora(at)gmail(dot)com.