This is Sophie's school calendar for the SY 2011 to 2012. Sophie goes to a progressive school and honestly, when I first received this I was a bit overwhelmed by how busy their calendar looks but after a while I realized it's still manageable. Just needs a lot of constant follow through and make sure everything is prepared for prior to the activity especially since both my husband and I are working (I placed this calendar on our ref door so I can see it all the time).
Like a couple of months ago we had a PTC (parent-teacher orientation) which basically was a get together of the students' parents and their teachers so we won't be a stranger to each other in the succeeding school activities and meets. Then a week after that came the PTC (Parent-teacher conference) where parent and teacher discussed the kid's strength and weakness observed during the 1st few months of school as well as expectations by the end of the school year. It was rather an enlightening experience for me because prior to our talk, I was asked to answer a questionnaire which will provide them a background of the family at home. From there, teacher will better understand the behavior and personality of the kid in school. Although Sophie's teacher said that a kid may portray dual personalities; she may act differently in school than at home so it will always be on a case to case basis.
Here are other points that I like about progressive schools:
1. student centered - the ratio of progressive class is usually 10 (or less) students per 1 teacher (plus a teacher aid). This gives the teacher (and teacher aid) a chance to focus on each student and guide them better. Sophie spent her Reading Readiness summer class in the same school so her teacher now was able to see her progress from the 1st time she came to the school until now. We are both very happy with how she progressed in reading, writing and the arts. I could say that my kid's school was able to bring out the best in her :)
2. One on One Assessments Instead of Standard Exams - kindergartens now are only as young as 3 or 4 years unlike in my time when kids need to be at least 6 yrs. old to get into that level. Although I recognize the fact that kids now are more advanced thinking, it all boils down to them being just toddlers and does not deserve the high level of stress that quarterly and numerous pages of exams given to kids in a traditional setting. I know one parent who's kid just walked out of an exam out of exasperation. Some teachers shared that other kids hid under their chairs :( For progressive schools, they conduct a one on one assessment with teacher and student. The school said the students need not study for kids will have to answer based on what knowledge is stored in their brains. No memorization. Come to think of it, which memorized subjects in school were you able to remember until now?
3. Social Engaged Intelligence - experience is the best teacher and progressive schools uphold this wisdom in their curriculum. Instead of classroom discussion on the works of a fireman, a dentist or a carpenter, kids are exposed to the 'people in our neighborhood' (remember the Sesame St. song?) to know more about these professions. For this weekend, to celebrate Linggo ng Wika, students and their families will join the Palarong Pinoy activity and I'm all geared up to teach Sophie all forgotten street games like piko, tumbang preso and patentero :)
Although the big question for students coming from a progressive teaching environment is if they will be able to cope when it's time to move to a traditional big school? My view on this is, I believe that as long as kids were properly taught the fundamentals while in kinder and prep, they will be as ready as any student when they get to Trad schools. It is also the parents' role to make sure that kids learn what they should be learning from progressive schools or if they might be behind. The internet has a lot of insights and studies to help parents.