Q and A: Will my child survive in a traditional school after studying in a progressive school?

This is a classic question. We usually hear this question from parents who are opting for a progressive preschool and are planning to bring their child to a “big” school for elementary.

There’s a rumor going around that children from progressive schools do not thrive in traditional schools.

Let me reiterate that this INDEED is a rumor and not a fact. First off, I’ve had students who passed Big School Entrance Tests and I’ve had students who didn’t. Unfortunately, it’s easier to blame the preschool when the latter happens.

When a child is not thriving in a traditional school, it’s very easy to blame the progressive preschool where the child came from. The list is endless: there were no worksheets, the children were too “free”, the classes were not divided into subjects, the teacher was too “nice” (as opposed to being more strict)… BUT PARENTS, weren’t these the same things you looked for in a preschool?! It’s just not developmentally appropriate to instill the opposite of all of these in a preschool class.

I observed the class of my daughter who graduated from a progressive elementary school. Background story: she was originally from UP-CDC when she was 5. UP-CDC is the epitome of progressive learning. Then she went to a private girl school (traditional) along the Katipunan Area where I also graduated. She got great grades and was even in the honor roll every year. But something in her eyes and demeanor told me that she wasn’t happy being in school. She felt anxious every Sunday with the idea that she had to go back to school the following day. Taking the advise of a good friend, I went to check out The Learning Tree which was just 5 minutes from my house. My daughter will be an incoming 4th grader. My husband was hesitant (as all husbands are when you say the name of a school that’s not “known”) but I perservered (as all wives do). My daughter then transferred to TLT for grade 4. The change was evident.

She looked forward to school. Enjoyed the company of her classmates (they were only 25 in class). She was eager to learn new things and her self-esteem reached higher heights.

Then came graduating year, Grade 6. We opted to look for a private high school since we thought our daughter needed this kind of education to prepare for college in four years. We enrolled her in a private girl school in the Pasig Area. She wasn’t happy at all. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good school. My daughter just didn’t thrive. I then decided to homeschool her until she graduated. I’m happy to report that she will be studying in the Ateneo de Manila University this June 🙂

It’s easy to say that she did not thrive in the private girl school in Pasig BECAUSE she came from a progressive school like The Learning Tree. I DISAGREE. She did not thrive in that school because she did not fit in that school. A lot of my daughter’s classmates from TLT went to big traditional schools and they thrived in them. I decided to homeschool her because she wanted to take up other things like guitar and Japanese. She was able to be more proficient in both with the time that homeschool provided for other life skills. So the decision to transfer her from a traditional school to being homeschooled, was a decision that was made entirely on how I know my daughter.

I’ve had students who came from us, a progressive school, who are thriving in big traditional schools. I also have students who came from big traditional schools and who are now thriving in our school. It is not the fault of the school they came from, most of the time. It just wasn’t a good fit.

The goal of progressive education is to educate in the present. I cringe when I see schools market themselves with taglines like “If you study here, your child will be sure to enter Big Traditional School A!” like it was the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to give developmental, interactive and experiential education. It is through this that the child will be fully prepared to face any and all experiences he will face in the future.

12 thoughts on “Q and A: Will my child survive in a traditional school after studying in a progressive school?

  1. i have graduates too in my center that excel in traditional schools…they did have some adjustments especially in the structured activities like writing and reading…and of course “behaving” in class (coz most of our students are free to move around but it’s the opposite in the traditional) but after the short adjustment phase they are more inclined to work seriously on tasks and get rewarded at the end of the school year with honors…

    one thing that i think parents ought to remember is that education is a partnership between school and home…we can’t do it alone…we need your support once your child gets home… follow up is crucial…but of course always make it fun! 🙂

  2. Hi Teacher Tina!

    I am very curious about homeschooling. Did you use the Living Heritage Academy (under School of Tomorrow) curriculum? I’ve heard from other parents that this homeschool provider is not yet accredited with Deped. If you used another homeschool curriculum, please please do let me know. I don’t want to encounter any difficulties with regards to report cards or other requirements…

    I see that your daughter will be studying in Ateneo. Congratulations! This means that there was no problem homeschooling her in high school.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Yes I use the Living Heritage Academy materials. It’s under School of Tomorrow here in the Philippines (LHA is an international group). They are accredited with DepEd. I made sure of this when we used it and so far, all the universities we’ve applied to have accepted my daughter’s records 🙂

  3. Wow! This is great! Am thinking of homeschooling my son. Although he is doing well in a Chinese traditional school, he would like more time to pursue his interests. We thought of enrolling him in a progressive school but I don’t know of any near our area (near SM MOA). Would be great if you can refer one to me. 😀

    If there’s none, then I guess my best bet would be homeschooling 😀 Hope it’s all right with you if I ask more questions about homeschooling. It’s not widely accepted yet here in the Philippines.

    Thanks again so much! You make me feel that I’m not alone in searching for a better education for my children.

  4. Hi Teacher Tina!

    Thanks for a great article! I too have been asked that question many times. I take pride is saying my kids also do well in the big school 🙂 I have to admit though, that much as I dislike it, I have to make some “preparations” for the kids who are moving up during the last two months of classes.

    By the way, many of my friends are teachers in your school 🙂 I’d love to add your link to my reading list in my site. Hope you can drop by and check it out 🙂

    1. Hi Teacher Ria! Thanks for visiting our site 🙂 Yes, I admit, we do have to make accommodations for our children to be prepared for big school. However, this is not our ultimate goal and I’m sure neither is it yours. You have a great site! Keep it up! And of course, it would be an honor to be part of your reading list. See you soon!

  5. Greetings!

    Hi Teacher Tina. I found your blog upon searching for information about home schooling here in the Philippines. I am Fran and I will be finishing my high school studies (4th year HS by next year but I planned to do it under the home school scheme because of some circumstances that hinder me to go to traditional school. Considering my dream to study in college at UP, I call the UP Office of Admissions and inquire if they’re accepting students that graduated under the home school education scheme. They say that the school, particularly the principal or the director. needs to produce certification that their school and their home school curriculum is recognized by the DepEd plus the UP will sent staffs of theirs to check the curriculum and the whole process might take a year,according to them. Albeit that the student can take the UPCAT, the results will be under the “Pending” category unless the eligibility of the curriculum is proved by the UP. This step is necessary as to check whether the student is not cheating in a way that the school work is not being done by other people.

    But according to you, your child didn’t encounter any problems on applying to college entrance exams and even made it to the prestigious Ateneo.

    With all due respect, please I need clarification on this matter. I don’t want my dream to be compromised just because of the condition I have.


    My email address is franciumix@yahoo.com (in case, this is needed)

    1. Hi Fran!

      What homeschool program are you using? They do need to show their DepEd certification in order for UP to even give you a chance to get in. However, I don’t know why they did not consider School of Tomorrow (my daughter’s program). My daughter was able to take the UPCAT only because I insisted that she can take it since UP Admissions couldn’t give me a straight answer at that time. I already doubted if they’ll allow her to get in. But when she passed Ateneo, it only meant that School of Tomorrow DID have the necessary permit, right? So instead of fighting it out with UP, we decided to go to Ateneo. I still have to check with UP if my daughter did have an UPCAT score or if, as you say, her status was pending, or if she can transfer if she wants to.

      My suggestion is apply to all the colleges you want to apply in. I think most colleges and universities already acknowledge homeschool programs now. Hope this helps!

      1. Hi there again Teacher Tina!

        May I know if you homeschooled your daughter only until Level 10 of School of Tomorrow’s curriculum when she applied for college? Or did you finish also the last two levels (until level 12) before she applied for college?

        Thanks again!

  6. Good Afternoon!
    I’m still searching for a good home school. School of Tomorrow, according to what I’ve read from your blog posts, originated from abroad so it’s curriculum is in a progressive scheme plus that Ateneo is respecting its legality. Yeah, UP said that the student can still take the UPCAT but the results will be in a Pending condition.

    So you mean the result is now still in pending? That’s really long, that’s currently in its 7th month (February to September) if I’m not wrong.

    Have you heard or know any hom schooled student who was accepted in UP? That could serve as a reference.

    With all due respect, please let me know the result when you check your daughter’s result, if she’s accepted or what. I’m starting to get anxious about this UP thing.


  7. Hi teacher tina! I’ve been literally based abroad since i was 21, and now im 42, which explains clearly why i don’t have much knowledge about “progressive school method”. My daughter is now 5 1/2 and she’s been attending school since she was 2. I’m not sure if you’re implementing same philosophy but preschool here dont have exams, homeworks and report card. They focus on letting tthem express their thoughts in drawings/designings , and they’re more on educating by playing scheme. We’ll be going home (finally) for good nxt year so she’ll be 6yrs old by then, and honestly i’ve been having sleepless nights wondering if my little girl could cope up with the stressful gradeschool life in traditional schools. Then in the midst of my research…i came across your very useful and informative site…just like a gift sent from above.!!!

    Could you please kindly help me out discover more about progressive teaching method? With my child’s preschool background description, do you think this would be the best school for her? Will she be accepted in gradeschool though honestly she cant speak tagalog and understands very little and have minimal knowledge and speaking abilities in english? We’re scheduled to go home in april nxt yr so she can atleast adjust a little bit before school starts, meaning she cant finish her preschool here because school ends in june but i can ask for a certificate and child’s evaluation if necessary. We’re also willing to let her take summer class if needed. Lastly, could please help me find a progressive school…we’ll be staying in silang, cavite…but we’re close to tagaytay and sta rosa laguna so maybe we could compromise a bit, but silang area would be the most perfect location. Thank you very much in advance…i would really appreciate every single information that you could willingly provide me…really thank you with all my heart!!!


    Always thanking you in prayers,
    Mommy ging♥♥♥

    1. HI Mommy Ging! Thanks for leaving a message and visiting this blog. What a great experience for your child to go to a progressive school that allows for her creativity and development! Are you familiar with the Waldorf method? There is a Waldorf school in Sta. Elena that is situated near your future home. It may have the most similar learning environment that your family is accustomed to. There is also Brent International school near Ayala Westgrove if you would like an international school. Hope this helps!

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