On Focus: Progressive Schools and Montessori de San Juan

To our mom and parent readers, does the term 'Progressvie Schools' sound new to you? Generally, these type of schools do away with the rigid structure of traditional standardised education like most educational institutions here in Metro Manila.

Montessori de San Juan
Montessori de San Juan
There is also a recent trend in the past decade where an increasing number of schools are breaking free from this old model. The process instead promulgates creating learning sessions, doing away with homework, and letting children have more control over their own education  - this is the Montessori school system.

Surprisingly, this alternative education system is not a new development. In fact, at least one education system in the Philippines has been ahead of its time for forty years now - this is Montessori de San Juan.
Montessori de San Juan

2015 is a milestone year for Montessori de San Juan (MSJ) as they celebrate their 40th year in the country.

The celebration kicked off the year with a Math and Science fair. The kids made a grand showing of their Montessori-wrought creativity and innovation, with projects such as the following:
  • solar-powered oven
  • a light bulb that switches on when its cord is dipped into a glass of water
  • a cleaning spray made from vinegar
  • and other promising inventions
Montessori School System
Montessori School System where students are given a choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options, and learns from a “discovery” model
History of Montessori de San Juan

Back in 1975, Pomona Arellano established MSJ to honor her late husband Oscar, who had been credited for bringing the Montessori method to the Philippines.

The Montessori teaching method was conceived by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator in the late 1800s. She believed that children had an inherent desire to learn, and would in fact seek out knowledge for themselves, given the opportunities. Over time and long days of research, Montessori refined and created an educational method that placed a premium on a child’s independence, bestowed freedom within limits, and nourished a healthy respect for the child’s psychological, social, and intellectual development. All these while a Montessori teacher trained by the American or European Montessori Society supervise the process.

There are many school systems that have adopted the Montessori method, which traditionally includes a mixed age classroom, uninterrupted blocks of work time, specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her colleagues, and most importantly, independence. A child learning in the Montessori method is given a choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options, and learns from a “discovery” model, where he or she learns concepts from working with materials rather than by textbook spoon-feeding.
Any educator worth her salt understands that children all have their own strengths and different speeds of learning,” says Assistant Principal Sandy Arellano, granddaughter to the school founder, “We at Montessori San Juan are committed to exposing the students to a learning environment that will assist them in adapting and adjusting to a diverse and ever changing society.”
Moreover, Montessori San Juan uses a progressive version of the Montessori Method. MSJ teaches their children through worksheets, modules, and hands-on activity related to the subject matter, adding more homework mixed with modules as the kids grow older. This is designed to complement and enhance the normal progression of a child’s psychological and intellectual development.

There are different kinds of learners,” Arellano adds. “We have the visual, tactile, and auditory. Regular classrooms have many students, but it’s easier to spot what kind of learner a student is when you only have a few students.” Each class is populated with 12-15 students per class, with only one section per level.

Montessori de San Juan
On Focus: Progressive Schools and Montessori de San Juan
Special Education

Furthermore, Montessori San Juan recognises that  every student is different. The school works closely with their therapists and doctors to ensure that they receive the best possible care and education.

To better equip their differently-abled students, MSJ is also opening a special SPED class to address their more pressing needs, such as practical applied academics, community living, and life skills. In other areas, these children usually are integrated with the regular classes, rather than segregated to a Special Education curriculum. This arrangement also provides the regular students a chance to learn how to get along with children with special needs.

Montessori de San Juan is located at #3 Montessori Lane St., San Juan City. Know more about their Montessori education system via their Facebook page or call them through their telephone numbers (+632) 239-1102 / 725-6306.

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