Robert Fulghum’s poem “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergaten” gives examples of most important values we were taught as children: Share everything, don’t hit people, clean up your own mess, don’t take things that aren’t yours, and life skills like, when you go out in the world watch out for traffic, and hold hands (Full text of poem in this website http://www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/842/36.html).
Early Childhood principles on stages of development point out that the first six years of a child are the formative years, it’s when a child’s mind is most absorbent like a sponge. Whatever is learned at this stage, has an impact on their adult life. Marie Ann Abacan, an MA in Pre-School Teaching Candidate and ECE practitioner, confirmed this and explained that it is very crucial if the curriculum is able to maximize this stage, including life skills.
Many young parents, in the interest of giving their child the best education and in this age of several schools of thoughts being introduced, contemplate on the best school to send their children to, beginning pre-school.
Bricks Place is one of the many pre-schools in Metro Manila that aim to offer quality education for kids and develop them to the best of their abilities through the principles of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (born in 1896 and died in 1934). Vygotsky generally surmised that learning happens through a child’s interactions with his or her environment.
School directress Richelle See, who majored in literature and took a second degree in Early Childhood Education, shares that the school aims to cater to the individual needs of each child.
Following the Vygotskian principle that thought and language go hand in hand, thus giving importance to developing all aspects at the same time, the school applies an Individualized Instruction approach (II). It follows a checklist on the different aspects of each child’s development.
“So it’s very important for a teacher in a Vygotskian set up to really know the process of development by heart. That a teacher would already anticipate what’s the next stage and if the child is already manifesting readiness for the next stage. There is no fixed curriculum for a particular age and is not limited by it,” says Teacher Richelle.
Another unique set-up in the school is that it only has one classroom. Teaching uses the vertical or multi-level class approach where a mix of children aged 3-6 years old do their activities at the same hour. Teacher Richelle says the result of such is that it creates a good rapport amongst the kids. The older kids learn to be more responsible role models to the younger ones, which teaches the former self-confidence while the younger kids learn to have concrete goals for themselves as they are inspired or challenged by the older ones.
Language also plays an important role in a child’s development as kids are trained to speak in English, Filipino, and a third language, Mandarin. At the end of a school cycle, parents are often surprised that their children are able to read as early as 3 years old and their verbal ability to express is improved.
The school offers after-school enhancement programs through Brick’s Learning Solutions. These include enhancement sessions in reading, math, Mandarin language, educational therapy for kids with delays or at risk of learning disability.
Besides a child’s mental, emotional, and social skills, the school also makes sure motor skills are also developed. Brick’s Place boasts of a fully padded indoor playground. By developing their motor skills, kids can then take on more practical everyday activities.
Teacher Penny Sy, the school’s Chinese teacher shares that they’ve had a case of a child who had weak knee condition and was recommended to do motor skills enhancement activities. The parents enrolled the child at Brick’s place after seeing the safe indoor playground and the school’s program. The child’s weak bones did improve at the end of the summer program.
Friday is for Physical Education, which includes interesting programs such as yoga for kids.
Safety and security are also given a premium at Brick’s place, which has magnetic lock doors so people will not be able to easily come and go. Fetcher’s must have their IDs otherwise, the school will not release the child. Also, they keep a small population so as to closely monitor the students. A maximum of 18 3-6 year olds and 6 toddlers for the entire school year are taken in by the school.
A school nurse is always around for emergencies and in terms of location, Brick’s is very near St. Luke’s and Delos Santos hospital and should a child need to be brought to a nearby hospital for medical care, parents are immediately notified.
Teacher Richelle however believes that prevention is still better, which explains why the school has fully padded floors and fixtures with no edges to prevent accidents.
Of course, parents are kept involved by sending them weekly post cards, which consists of updates on what was done for the week, theme, activities, and parenting tips. The school discusses the goal for each child after enrollment and during regular parent-teacher consultations every semester.
If school seems to be constantly improving its programs and facilities, it’s because Brick’s Place aims to be a haven for every child as it caters to their individual needs. This may be especially true for those who may be extremely advanced or, on the other hand, those with more needs than the others.
“Since we’re educators, we really did not get into it as a business venture, we just really wanted to teach when we started. Teach the way we want to teach” Teacher Richelle emphasizes.
• Brick’s Place is at 123 Don A. Roces, Quezon City. To learn more about the school, call (+632) 415-4957 or 0917-8458596.