From my previous topics about parenting and Philippine Education, I almost divert my blogs purely from those that are not connected with my personal journeys. Although I’ve written a bunch of stories about our child’s growing up years (you know well when a parent gets overjoyed with milestones they chronicle pieces of it) to the point I already get the hang of it and pacify any personal stories. Whilst once in while I received inquiries from parents to give feedback and reviews for The Seed Montessori School (TSMS), mostly came from emails and parenting forums.
To cut the story short, from way back 2013 I was in search for schools for my incoming first Grade child. The factors we considered are the following:
Method of teaching – previously we came from a progressive preschool and we wanted to get a grade school that offers the same philosophy, not tied up to traditional learning (esp. book-based, idle educators). We even yearn to screen teachers handling our child (of course we can’t do that 100%.) As parents (or is it just me) we have a certain right to evaluate their teaching abilities. I am particularly interested where they get their tutelage. I believe teachers or educators in general has to have the PASSION in teaching and genuine concern for the children, absence of these elements will only prove your into it because of your needs not because of your wants. I’m saying this because for an instance at home, we are the primary teachers of our children from the very beginning. I had taught my child to enjoy read/write/doodle on her toddler years, entering preschool for her was never a problem. We aspire this learning strategy to continue and progress, not hamper by inefficient teachers. I was a former IT staff at Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA Greenhills) and saw how these kids transform into confident young adult. At that time the school’s curriculum was so advanced and how progressive they were, I assessed the teachers (and the system) could be that competent they were able produce intelligent/compassionate kids. To conclude the method of teaching and right kind of teacher should go hand in hand to make learning gradual, clever, fun and interactive. “Maria Montessori’s book (1870–1952), The The Montessori Method (1909), she advocated a child-centered approach to education. A system of education for young children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods.”
Proximity – it has to be near the vicinity, and has to have an available school bus service that caters per area only. Our priority is accessibility, we don’t want our student to have that added stress traveling to and from school. Fortunately TSMS is situated around Don Antonio just across the village.
Set-up – when was the school established, who were the people behind the start-up.
Credibility – we were keen to know as to who are the founders and from what institution they previously belong. “The Seed Montessori School was founded on October 15, 1988 by Teresa Palma-Bonifacio, Noel P. Morales and Mavis Bonifacio-Morales. It is organized and operated by 3-generation Montessori teachers trained in prestigious Montessori training centers in Italy and the United States under the supervision of Association Montessori International. AMI was organized by Dr. Maria Montessori to advance Montessori education throughout the world. All 3 -generation Montessori teachers descended from a family of educators, amongst them is the illustrious statesman, Dr. Rafael Palma, former President of the University of the Philippines for 10 years. (source: TSMS website)”
Feedback – I got some information from educators and co-parents, by that time there weren’t feasible feedbacks/reviews available online. Only mentions of school location and contact info.
Class Ratio – to be specific as parents we don’t like class size reaching 40:1 student-teacher ratio. With TSMS, we started Grade 1 with 36 students (SY 2013-2014). The teachers were saying they did not anticipate the volume that year they should have added another section for first grade (technically they have two sections). By second grade, the sections were divided into three making the ratio 35:1. At this point (SY 2015-2016) first grades have 3 section already.
Back then during the summer of 2013, the schools that I made an ocular visits are:
UPIS – we didn’t make it from the quota (we were behind by 3 points).
Holy Spirit – I don’t want to be attached with private all-girls Catholic school, first impression do last (from getting application forms, they charge something for every inquiry made) and some noted that they extort extra fees from time to time (e.g. raffles.) It added to the negative credibility of the church.
Diliman Preparatory School – the student-teacher ratio is unbelievable, the extortion is also chaotic 🙂
The Learning Tree – admission were already closed by the time we get there
Our Lady of Mercy School Quezon City – I don’t want to be attached with private Catholic system of education, but I heard the school’s curriculum is recommendable.
PWU-JASMS – the proximity is too far, but I heard a lot of positive things about JASMS
The Raya School – too far and they only have grade school sbut they are very progressive.
Kinderheim – definitely a turn-off (too small in terms of physical space and community, too dark, ratio is too low).
The Growing Place – offers preschool only, but they have a spacious playground and tree house! 🙂
The Seed Montessori School – so far it’s been our choice and we’re sticking to it at the moment.
The Seed Montessori School
Based on our monitoring for the past three academic years of being THERE. 🙂
The school present a balance between academics and non-academic skills. There’s a blend of progressive and traditional orientation. Given that, our child sometimes instill how happy she were at ELC inasmuch as she compared the lesson from ELC they offer a different taste more often, she said there’s no repetition in terms of activities. Now that she’s in third grade, she again uttered, they were taught with a song that ELC taught when they were in preschool days. She can’t avoid comparison, but we hope the school should mapped out more unique activities so children will look at the teaching load with fresh and excitement. But what she liked most beside the school’s honing of self-reliance, good work habits, and leadership, she get to express herself through music, arts, sports, meeting new friends and helping friends. Her study habits are still of the same strategy since we started preschool. She makes homework independently unless if she’s experiencing coping up with new vocabulary and selective questions. She also talks about their teacher’s story telling and how she looks forward to their library schedule and bi-annual book fair.
Some parents preferred small class size, the way I see it, it may be workable on preschool levels to accommodate the attention and specialization between child/teacher relationship. As the child grows they need to work with their social skills given that they should be into bigger community. The hindrance why parents find small class agreeable because of the fear of BULLYING. TSMS stand a voice and is firm against bullying, they even held a anti-bullying seminar for parents last year. Just in time when a parent of a preschooler had a bully classmate and I think they already resolve the issue. The way I see it, there are no bullies, they are misguided or even pushed by parents to go that far (that’s another topic to discussed soon!)
TSMS employs a holistic method in evaluating the development in children, the school offers a trimester academic assessment. Activities range from programs, walk for peace, educational trips, dance presentation, public speaking, sports, music, arts and special projects. Each levels participate in their annual Filipino and English Elocution (to enhance public speaking), Sports Olympics, club (elective) meeting once a week. Club choices ranges from Arts and Craft, Dance/Performing Arts, Cul inary, Sports, Glee, Story Telling, Go Green, Tambourine, Board Games, violin and taekwondo. Both violin and taekwondo incurred extra fees. At the end of school year, recognition awards were given to students who excel in Elocution, Sports, Computer, and Quiz Bee. This kind of set-up is neutral between the significance of academics and developing the child’s skills. The school is Non-Sectarian, religion can still practice their belief through values formation classes. If you want to learn more about TSMS you can visit the school personally through an appointment.
With a little help our child somehow excel in this school being able to get Gold medal in Sports for Balance Beam and Bronze medal for Quiz Bee (both first Grade) and Silver medal (second Grade). These are unexpected accomplishment from her. She went home with a note from her teacher (the usual thing they do as a parent-teacher communication, as I said to her it’s always best not to expect, just always do you best. 🙂
UPDATES as of September 2016
I was asked why did we transfer?
During the third grade, we noticed the previous school don’t have anything new to offer (I’m not making this blog to deliberately attack the previous school or mislead parents, I was actually fulfilled with our three years of stay) – but the third year was the turning point. I observed and kept on asking our student “why do they still tackle the same topic,” “you know it’s time to move on the next level, you ask your teacher about it,” and so on. It felt like it’s always been spoon-fed. Yes we knew beforehand how the montessori method works, child-centered approach, the continuity, the mastery and all. But the school is not actually purists the way we see it. The teaching method is a combination of traditional and Montessori (mostly Montessori for preschoolers). We were going with the same activities for three years, at the same time we wanted our child to improve or to discover the logic of Mathematics, but the challenge isn’t there. At the time, our child expresses she wanted to transfer school because for her the tasks appears to be tedious and gets really boring.
Not many knew there were a lot of bullies too, mostly involved petty things, vanity, jealousy. Normally, children can cope up with it, what we consult and matter to us most with the office are these concerns:
Why do you have the same material for Elocution? You can apply Montessori approach, but some parents seek creativity and goal-oriented. Not the same verses say ten years ago? My opinion, if I were part of the faculty is to remind the teacher to freshen up the annual stage activity. We don’t know the process as to why, even the criteria. The teacher’s rule is no action/gestures only the “articulation, fluency delivery, intonation, diction, etc. will be basis of judging. And so the children do as what they are told. But some, they did it with full theatrical works. But for three years, we heard the same material, same drama. Time to move on.
Why is my child always end up in this class/section? They explained “because we felt they are at ease and close with one another, we try not to re-group them.”
Are your teachers/admin aware that they have friends from other sections that they also want spend more time to spend with and also socialize with their peers. So, you want parents, to make request every time this happens?
Why were the teacher’s sons and daughters joined the section or class with celebrity parents, with doctors, those who lived in posh subdivisions, with foreign children? There is an obvious pattern. Those kids are former classmates of my child. They build the division once a certain classification is scrutinized.
Don’t you do research to update your tours? You even asked parents for recommendation, as lousy as it may sound. Like the Elocution, you booked the same place every now and then.
We were even ripped-off with the so called “Star Olympics” (intramurals) that was in Chess. But that was nothing. No big deal, your sons/daughters can have those sports awards. It’s just that some (long-stayed) teachers are slackers, the day passes with their daily habits. Those who are new in the field appears to be hardworking, resourceful and teaches with compassion. Once you teach with sharpness and utmost concern you imbibe to your student that energy level you have. There’s eagerness to learn and progression.
With exception, TSMS is far excellent in rearing the child’s socialization skills. Those annual Elocution is a product of developing stage presence, mastery of the English and Filipino language. It is true they became eloquent speakers. But academically speaking, we seek to explore and discover new concepts. 🙂
How to get there?
By public transportation
From EDSA Quezon Avenue or North Avenue
Take Commonwealth Avenue
Ride Fairview bound public transport (for FX = PhP20, PUJ’s = PhP13or bus)
Get off at Ever Gotesco Commonwealth/McDonalds, take the foot bridge
Get a pedicab (tricycle) in front of BPI across Ever Gotesco Commonwealth and instruct driver to take you to The Seed Montessori School, inside Don Antonio Heights subdivision. (pedicab rate: PhP25 special rate, Cooperative ride – Php7)
Bring IDs to present to the security guard (just in case).
Ride Quiapo, Baclaran, Ayala or Ever Ikot bound public transport (bus, fx or PUJ’s are available) and get off at Don Antonio
By private transportation
Take Commonwealth Avenue;
Turn at Holy Spirit Drive (between Petron and BPI), across Ever Gotesco Commonwealth;
Turn left at South Gate of Don Antonio Heights subdivision;
Turn right at Don Vicente St. (2nd St. from the guard house)
Turn left at Zuzuarregui St. (2nd St. on your left);
Get off at Zuzuarregui corner Samonte St., across Mormons Church.
From Commonwealth Avenue (Southbound)
Turn right to Zuzuarregui St. (end point at Don Antonio Heights subdivision)
Turn left to Samonte St. (Gate 1 of TSMS)
The Seed Montessori School (offers Preschool/Elementary/High School)
#4 Samonte St., corner Zuzuarregui St.
Don Antonio Heights, Capitol District, Quezon City
[t] 931-1677, 931-1155, 431-6709
Disclosure: This blog is being published based on our (family) observation and experiences from TSMS from the period SY 2013 to 2016. Regardless, all opinions are my own.
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