Thursday, October 27, 2011


Isabella used to go to a progressive school called Keys. The learning in Keys was exceedingly rich. I remember being so amazed during their culminating program and exhibit in Museo Pambata. Their Social Studies lesson was on pre-colonial Philippines. They were asked to write a monologue on a fictitious pre-colonial character. They had to develop their persona, author their monologue and design their costume. Isabella made up a character named Amihan, the Binokot Princess of a pre-colonial tribe in the Philippines. She told an emotional story about Amihan within the authentic backdrop of pre-colonial Philippines that made Amihan seem so real. Then walking around the exhibit, I was in awe at how Keys integrated learning across subjects. The highlight of the exhibit was a diorama made out of clay, sticks & straw that represented the life and culture of a Baranggay. And since the class was learning scale and measurement in Math, the kids were asked to apply their Math learning and develop a Floor Plan and Elevation Plan of a Timawa house. Then they used these plans to build the diorama of this particular pre-colonial tribe's house. Further down the exhibit, there was a display of the atomic structure of gold, which they had been studying in Science class. This was amid the exhibit of gold jewelry that signified a person's status during the pre-colonial times. The learning was so rich and was taught in the most interesting and in-depth manner that Isabella knew everything by heart. Imagine knowing all the phyla (remember phylum chordata and phylum porifera?) by heart - without having to memorize them!

The other thing that I loved about Keys was that Isabella LOOOVED going to school. She would feel really sad during the sembreak because she preferred to be in school -- not only to be with her friends, but also because she missed the fun learning activities. After all, field trips were scheduled very often in Keys - as part of enriching their experience of the lesson. 

But when she started high school this year, I moved her to a traditional school.

I had been so used to her being sad about sembreaks that, for a second, I was alarmed when she was so incredibly happy on the first day of her sembreak this year! The worry-wart mother in me was terrified that this meant she didn't really like her new school or her new friends (even if she has assured me of this a zillion times).

Then I remembered that being happy about a vacation is the more  common thing. After all, when I was a kid, I also looked forward to vacations and school-cancellations! Even all the way to College, I was crossing my fingers for free-cuts!

So while I miss how Isabella loved to go to school so much in Keys, I am glad that she is now experiencing the normalcy of traditional school.
Photos from J.Crew via jcrewing.

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