The Journey of Mrs Robina Barrera
I am a mother of two girls, Mia and Andrea. They are both products of the Philippine Montessori Center.
I did not start out as a convert of the Montessori method. Frankly, my eldest daughter entered PMC because of convenience more than anything. We were new in the neighborhood, the school's reputation was good, standards were high, the environment was conducive. What's there not to like? And she did ok in PMC, even if it was for a very short stay—it was just to fill the one year gap before she moved on to big school. She was accepted into big school right away, and we moved her at age 5, amidst peer pressure, despite her teachers begging us to let her stay one more year.
But Andrea was a different case. She started in PMC when she just turned two, and stayed for four years. We never regretted that decision to let her stay.
Before our eyes, Andrea started off as a precocious toddler, and transformed herself to end her last year in PMC as a confident leader and student. She exuded gentleness, intelligence, responsibility, creativity--all along keeping her childlike innocence and discipline. We were never "strict" Montessori parents, and whilst we embraced the Montessori method, it was not until our latter years when we saw the impact it had on our little girl. Looking back, we probably would have appreciated the PMC method much more had we been aware.
What about Montessori did we like? Well, in a nutshell, everything. The first point of differentiation was the mixed-age group in the classroom--something I personally did not understand initially, but over time was able to grasp and fully appreciate. From being the youngest in class, Andrea learned the principles of following instructions, listening to reason, learning to be a good follower. She ended her last year in PMC being the leader, responsibility and care as part of her actions. Integral in their daily rituals are the practical life exercises which we as parents take for granted. The school administration had taken pains to orient first-time parents like myself on how Montessori operates. The teachers were used to an individualized pace of learning for the class--with the students being free to choose his/her preferred activity of the day. The freedom of movement in the classroom allows for self-expression and encourages social interaction skills, at the same time, allowing for the student to develop using different working blocks. At her age, Andrea has long realized what areas interest her, where she excels.
Music is another aspect of education which I love in PMC. And boy, did Andrea bloom in her music! It is not just a source of pride for any parent, but is an avenue for the child to slowly find her place, allowing for her expressive self to develop. And yet, under the tutelage of the Philippine Montessori Center Instrumental Ensemble (PMCIE) teaching staff, led by Teacher Lois, the students did not just develop their self-identity, but they formed a cohesive bond. Indeed, the PMCIE extracted the best of my daughter at such a tender age. Through their own interpretation of music, my daughter has built her confidence and social skills in such a short period of time. We were hardly able to recognize our own daughter the first time they performed as an ensemble.
The saddest part of my PMC journey is having to bid goodbye to this institution. After five years in PMC, I am a big believer that PMC has done well for my daughters. They have instilled the courage and the confidence, the independence and the compassion. Both my girls are now prepared to face the big schools and the challenges that come with it. Both are trained to learn with a passion, a love for knowledge, and a heart for others.
I've always believed that there is no perfect school. But PMC way is probably the closest to perfect-- at least for my children. Thank you PMC, for a job well done. Sadly, I don't have any more children, so perhaps I will see you again in the future-- for my grandchildren.
Mr Jolly Gomez Reminiscing
As young parents over 25 years ago, we were wondering where to take our first born son. We wanted the best for our child, at a reasonable price, and with a proven track record. We mainly relied on word of mouth from trusted friends who enrolled their children at Philippine Montessori Center. All of our 5 children studied at PMC and 4 of them went on to study and now graduate from the elementary and high school. We have no regrets on our decision. Their experience in school was one of joy and discovery of learning, values formation, order, respect and cleanliness. What made this school different from many other schools that I have seen since then, apart from the curriculum and methodology, is the dedication of the teachers. It is hard to imagine that 25 years later, some of the teachers of my children are still in touch with them. The teachers of PMC did not just teach the Montessori method, they lived it - in and out of the school. Many of them have become good friends and we continue to see the values of the school through the lives that they live.This sense of professionalism comes from the philosophy and values of the founder the school who has successfully been able to maintain the highest standards in education despite the heavy demands of parents in today's multi-tasking world.