Friday, February 29, 2008

Montessorians equip teachers

(This article was originally published by Sun Star Cebu Daily on July 4, 2007)

THE Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines, in cooperation with Oneworld Montessori House, held an intensive two-week training program in Lower Elementary Montessori .

The training was supported by the Australian Business Volunteers.

After the Montessori training, the association plans to send qualified Montessori administrators and teachers to Australia to participate in a month-long trainers’ training program.

With the increasing number of schools implementing the Montessori approach, the trainers’ training program is deemed necessary to meet the increasing demand for qualified
Montessori teachers, the group said in a statement.

The training program’s resource speaker, Elizabeth Alcorn, is an active leader in the
Montessori movement in New Zealand and Australia.

She was an educational consultant and educational director of
Montessori World Educational Institute for 25 years.

She has traveled to different parts of the world to give
Montessori training and to attend conferences.


She has written several study guides and
Montessori curriculum manuals.

Alcorn trained under Margaret Homfray and Phoebe Child who were appointed by Dr. Maria
Montessori to run the Montessori Training Center in London from 1946 and onwards.

She helped organize summer courses in
Montessori Education in New Zealand and Australia conducted by her two mentors.

Along with Helen Wheatley, the principal of St. Nicholas in London, she was designated by Homfray to continue the work she had inherited from Dr.

For inquiries about
Montessori education, one may call Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines Inc. president Jocelyn Kintanar at 253-3191.

Picture above: Montessorians with the Australian Educational Consultant, Elizabeth Alcorn, during the Montessori Training held at Oneworld Montessori House from May 28 to June 9, 2007

Improving Children’s Achievement Through Parental Involvement

The dismal performance of the schoolchildren in the recent achievement tests bring to the fore the nagging questions: who is to blame? what can be done to improve academic performance?

Who is to blame? Many sectors would automatically point their fingers at the educators, teachers and the government. The educators are blamed for designing a curriculum which may not be fully responsive to the needs of the schoolchildren while many teachers are criticized for lack of competence and inadequate educational preparation. On the other hand, the government gets most of the blame for its perceived lack of commitment to support public education as reflected in its meager budgetary allocation. With a burgeoning fiscal deficit, education appears to be relegated to the bottom of the ladder.

Is there anything that Filipino families can do? Absolutely, yes! Parents can get actively involved in the education of their own children. Lack of parental involvement is a key factor in the children’s low achievement level. Parents themselves have a lot to answer for the lamentable situation, exacerbated by the technological advances that, while immensely useful in enhancing the economic pursuit and contributing much for the enjoyment of life, have also diverted the attention of children in their quest for basic education.

While it is true that the teacher’s main responsibility is to facilitate the education of the schoolchildren, teaching is not an exclusive function of schools. Parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers. They play an active part in their children’s learning experience.

Many studies indicate that active parental involvement serves to enhance children’s self-esteem and motivation to learn. Children whose parents were actively involved in their children’s education were observed to perform better in school than those children without parental involvement.

Early childhood is a very special time of life. It is a time when the child starts to develop his own personality and form his habits. Parents, therefore, play a critical role of guiding their children since they are vulnerable and impressionable. Most young children are not yet capable of discriminating right from wrong. How then can parents assist their children become literate and improve their academic performance?

One of the many things that parents can do to achieve these goals is for them to get actively involved in the education of their children. For instance, parents can regulate habitual television viewing of their children. Several scientific research studies have been undertaken to determine the effects of television on children. According to researchers, there are more negative effects of habitual television viewing on young children than there are positive ones.

Researchers have concluded that habitual television viewing affects both reading ability and attentiveness of children. They have observed that the decrease in both is associated with the frequency of television viewing. Likewise, they have concluded that when children watch television, they are not reading. They noted that children who spend more time watching television tend to be less attentive and develop reading difficulties. Children’s inattentiveness, according to researchers, may be partly attributed to the “quick, slick, snappy format of television”.

Studies likewise indicate that a child watching television expects to see new images and pictures, and hear sounds every few seconds. When this does not happen in the classroom, the child tends to be restless and look for “new, faster-paced stimuli”.

Finding the Right School for Your Child


Jocelyn C. Kintanar, Ph.D.

Contrary to what many parents believe, the most important years of a child’s education are the first six years of life not, high school or college. A famous Italian physician turned educator, Maria Montessori, believed that the first six years of life are critical years because these are the formative years of the child both physically and mentally. The child’s early education will largely determine the kind of person he will become. Thus, it is important for parents to find the best school for the child.

What should parents look for when visiting schools? Parents need to visit as many schools as their time allows them to find the best fit for their child. They should not be tempted to enroll their child in a school without visiting the classrooms or observing how teachers relate to the child. It is best for them to ask permission from the principal and watch the children at work.

Here are some tips to spot a good school for your child:

  1. Classrooms are warm and inviting.

  2. Classrooms are filled with a wide range of interesting, attractive learning materials which stimulate the children’s desire to learn and develop creativity.

  3. Learning materials are placed in shelves which the children can easily reach.

  4. Emphasis is placed on children’s learning rather than teacher’s teaching.

  5. Emphasis is placed on the formation of wholesome values.

  6. Adequate space where the child can run and play with other children.

  7. Offers a balance between indoor and outdoor activities which are exciting and fun, “not demanding and stressful in the name of high standards”.

  8. Teachers are good role models, caring, competent, patient and not condescending.

  9. Children are given adequate exposure to arts and music.

  10. Children are exposed to practical life activities thus allowing them to develop independence and autonomy.

After visiting the schools, both parents must jointly decide which school fits the kind of education they want for their child. As one American educator says “No one educational approach will be right for all children. Ideally, parents should seek out the best, not only between their child and a particular school, but also between their family’s values and goals… “

Find a school that does not compel the child to do something which is not developmentally appropriate for according to Plato “knowledge acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind…let early education be rather sort of amusement; this will better enable you to find the natural bent of the child”.

So, parents keep this in mind. Do not place the education of your child to chance. Find a school that best fits your child. Keep your child in a school where he is happy and successful. Remember that children exposed to one consistent educational approach tend to benefit more over the long run than those children who have gone to several schools.