Scouting for a School Series (SSS): The School’s Philosophy

There are only 3 kinds of schools — Traditional, Montessori and Progressive. You first have to determine the kind of school that you feel can best benefit your child.

Every school should have one. If the school says they are eclectic, BEWARE. Why? Merriam-Webster defines the word eclectic as composed of elements drawn from various sources. In my language, that just means that the school isn’t sure what their philosophy is and is only catering to all philosophies for marketing purposes.

A school without a philosophy is like a ship without a rudder. It doesn’t know where it’s going.

So when you enter the school you’re checking out for your child, ask the director or the teacher what their school philosophy is. If you come out of the school still uncertain, then go back in and ask it AGAIN. I, personally, love it when parents ask a lot of questions. It means that they are very interested to learn how the school will educate their children. It also gives the school the opportunity to explain its philosophy and its curriculum.

Since progressive schools are the IN thing nowadays, most schools claim they are progressive even if their practices say something different. For example, a preschool that has a big class size cannot claim to be progressive or a preschool that is divided into subjects instead of routines cannot claim to be progressive. Just like a preschool cannot claim to be a Montessori if they do not have the Montessori learning materials.

What questions can you ask the director?

  • Is the curriculum child-centered (progressive, Montessori) or teacher-centered (traditional)?
  • Does the teacher interact much with the students (progressive) or lectures and stays in the one place in the room (traditional)
  • Does the school have a strong home-school connection (progressive) or do parents only meet teachers during parent-teacher meetings (traditional)

I know, I know.. my progressive leanings are obvious..hence the title of the blog!

Check out our post about the Progressive Philosophy and watch this video to help you to separate the real from the pirated 🙂


9 thoughts on “Scouting for a School Series (SSS): The School’s Philosophy

  1. Hello again Tina,

    Good to see you’re keeping the posts coming.

    I see the main similarities between montessori and progressive, but what are the major differences between the two philosophies? Please enlighten : )

  2. Hi Mommy Nikka! Thanks for your comment. Though Montessori and progressive similarly put the child in the center of its curriculum, there are major differences. The Montessori quotes are part of my thesis..

    1. “Montessori believes in a prepared environment. The prepared environment is separated into distinct areas, each containing materials unique to promoting the tasks to be mastered in that area (Essa, 1996). The furniture is child-sized and most learning materials are didactic, self-correcting and designed to teach a specific lesson. As you notice, all materials in different Montessori schools are almost the same.”

    Progressive schools, though sometime using Montessori materials, chooses materials revolving around the current curriculum. The learning environment is prepared by the teacher to reflect the interests of her students and theme of the curriculum. Therefore, it is flexible to the interests of the classrooms inhabitants.

    2. “Romantics view the child as a self-actualizing individual and liken the child’s mind to a plant that naturally develops as its environment nourishes it (Covar, 1987). Though the child is free to engage in any activity, the materials are used in a certain prescribed procedure. The Montessori programs are reality based and not fantasy based (Essa, 1996). Rarely can a dramatic play area, a creative art corner or areas that encourage the use of the imagination be seen. So though the Montessori child rates high in independence, they appear to rate lower on creativity (Elkind, 1983).”

    Progressive schools bank on so much child creativity! There is always a dramatic play area or creative corner to let out that inner spark from its students.

    I quoted my thesis on the information on Montessori so I can also include the sources of my information.

    I hope this helps!

  3. That is such a significant difference! Personally, I believe creativity is one of the most important things any child must harness.

    Thank you for the enlightenment : )

  4. Hi Tina!

    Thanks for this very informative blog. I myself am looking for a really good preschool for my nephew who will start school this year.

    Can you give me suggestions of things to ask and look for in a school?

    I am currently looking at two schools in our area and I would like to find out which one is the best for my little Mico.


  5. hi teacher tina, aside from The Bridge School, what other good progressive schools are there in the Paranaque/Alabang area? Are you familiar with The Learning Child School in AAV? There are many elements indicating a traditional set-up (eg. physical set-up), but just the same, I see elements of a progressive approach too. Would you have any idea how their approach to teaching/learning is? I don’t want to totally discount the usefulness of a rigid curriculum – after all it helped me manage those nasty college entrance tests – but I definitely see/know the value of progressive education

  6. Hi Teacher Tina.. my baby will turn 3 on Feb.. as a new parents, we are really serious in getting a right education for our child.. progressive school is very interesting and this blog helps mom like me to decide for my baby :-> we lived near in Don Alejandro Roces, Quezon City.. can you pls suggest progressive schools that are not too expensive? We we’re thinking of St. Mary’s & Piagetian but not yet final.. Thank you in advance for the assistance. GOD Bless!

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