Our multisensory approach to learning is patterned after UK’s EYFS and Key Stages giving emphasis on the 7 Learning Areas of Development; Communication and Language, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Mathematics, Knowledge and Understanding of the World, Literacy, Expressive Arts and Design. We facilitate the children’s learning through direct experience and meaningful, multi-sensory play; adult or child-led. Whilst providing an international preschool and primary education to our students, we also preserve the best Filipino culture and tradition at the same time.
Our ethos that has always been inspired by the teaching approaches of Maria Montessori, Reggio Emilia and the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate focuses on the whole child. All of these methodologies are adapted by the Early Years Foundation Stage, used by a number of international schools all over the world. We have made some adaptations to make it more appropriate to the Filipino children, to reflect the new developments of modern education and to make use of the space and materials that we have acquired and continue to acquire in the future. Our materials are not restricted to a specific area or a specific time of the day. They are incorporated into the different learning corners like the role play area. The children can make better connections between the materials and their related topic. We are also implementing them on a budget because we cannot buy expensive, wooden toys that are originally designed by Maria Montessori. However as much as the materials are beautiful, even more than this, child-centred approach is teaching the children to be imaginative and creative. Limitations and constraints spark creativity among teachers and children.
Learning by engaging like stacking and building together teaches the children the concept of balance, space, stability and symmetry, problem-solving, managing his frustrations, negotiating, waiting for his turn and a lot more. This will also enhance their communication and language skills and their physical development. These are some of the concepts and values emphasized in the Reggio Emilia, PYP (IB) and EYFS.
“YECE aims to develop the children’s academic understanding as well as their understanding of themselves as individuals by focusing on nurturing the ‘whole child’ including their personal, social, emotional, physical and creative development.”
YECE Seven Areas of Learning
Our curriculum is underpinned by the Areas of Learning And Development of the Early Years Foundation Stage and Department of Education’s K-12 Programme.
The seven areas include:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Knowledge and Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Communication and Language
- listening attentively to stories and in a wide range of situations and responding to what they hear with sensible comments or questions
- understanding instructions and answering ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions
- learning to express themselves effectively and showing awareness of listeners’ need
- developing children’s control and coordination in large and small movements, negotiating space and handling equipment and tools effectively
- understanding the importance of good health, physical exercise and ways to keep healthy and safe
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- developing children’s self-confidence and self-awareness to try new activities and to speak in a familiar group about their ideas
- learning to manage their feelings and behaviour and work as part of a group and follow the rules
- learning to make relationships, play cooperatively, and form positive relationships with other children
- learning letter sounds and their corresponding actions (Jolly Phonics) and blending them to read a short word (i.e consonant- vowel-consonant words)
- reading some common irregular words or high frequency sight words
- demonstrating understanding about what they have read
- writing by using their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds
- developing an understanding of numbers, space, shapes, patterns and measurement
- exploring characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.
Knowledge and Understanding the World
- learning about their own lives, their similarities and differences and the lives of their family members, their homes, the local environment and communities and the world
- making observations of the similarities and differences of animals and plants and talking about changes
This is divided into three main areas.
- Myself and other living things- (i.e. Life Science)
- Myself and nonliving things _ (i.e. Earth Science)
- Places, Time and People (i.e. Early History and Geography)
Expressive Arts and Design
- supporting the children to sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with colour, design and texture and ways of changing them.
- providing the children opportunities to use what they have learnt about media and materials to share their own ideas, thoughts, and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, dance, role-play, stories, design, and technology.
At the present time, we have 3 classrooms; one for Nursery, the other one is for K1 and K2 and the third one is for Primary 1.
Each foundation stage in each classroom has a different development statement to focus on. However, let us reiterate that children develop at their own rates, and in their own ways. The development statements and their order should not be taken as necessary steps for individual children. Below are sample statements of what we are looking for in Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) -one of the seven areas of development from Nursery to Kindergarten 2 as mandated by the EYFS, UK.
• Interested in others’ play and starting to join in.
• Seeks out others to share experiences.
• Shows affection and concern for people who are special to them.
• May form a special friendship with another child.
• Expresses own preferences and interests.
• Can express their own feelings such as sad, happy, cross, scared, worried.
• Tries to help or give comfort when others are distressed.
• Shows understanding and cooperates with some boundaries and routines.
• Can inhibit own actions/behaviors, e.g. stop themselves from doing something they shouldn’t do.
• Can play in a group, extending and elaborating play ideas, e.g. building up a role-play activity with other children.
• Initiates play, offering cues to peers to join them.
• Keeps play going by responding to what others are saying or doing.
• Demonstrates friendly behavior, initiating conversations and forming good relationships with peers and familiar adults.
• Welcomes and values praise for what they have done.
• Enjoys responsibility of carrying out small tasks.
• Is more outgoing towards unfamiliar people and more confident in new social situations.
• Confident to talk to other children when playing, and will communicate freely about own home and community.
• Can usually tolerate delay when needs are not immediately met, and understands wishes may not always be met.
• Can usually adapt behaviour to different events, social situations and changes in routine.
• Initiates conversations, attends to and takes account of what others say.
• Explains own knowledge and understanding, and asks appropriate questions of others.
• Takes steps to resolve conflicts with other children, e.g. finding a compromise.
• Confident to speak to others about own needs, wants, interests and opinions.
• Can describe self in positive terms and talk about abilities.
• Aware of the boundaries set, and of behavioural expectations in the setting.
• Beginning to be able to negotiate and solve problems without aggression, e.g. when someone has taken their toy.
The Community We Serve
The province of Medellin is in the northern part of Cebu island. Our school is located at New Medellin Estate, Poblacion, Medellin, Cebu, Philippines. We pride ourselves on providing an equal educational opportunity for the parents and children of this quiet municipality in northern Cebu. Medellin has a population of 60,000 people with a total land area of 7,382.33 hectares . It is approximately 120 km from the city of Cebu. The town’s main agricultural products are sugarcane, coconuts, fruits, and corn. Most of the natives are fishermen and farmers. Due to poverty and massive unemployment and underemployment, there are a number of young Medellin residents who have found jobs overseas and they are enthusiastic to support their families back home which includes sending young children to a good school.
Children of Medellin
Our school provides high-standard, yet affordable education for every family who lives in this province both from low-income families and from those who are supported by a family member working abroad. We use English as our medium of instruction. Most of our students are non-English speakers.
Because of our fervor desire to help educate the children, we also have students attending our school even without having to pay their tuition and miscellaneous fees. But our sustainability is limited and we are about to embark on our third school year. As our population grows, the demand to build more classrooms, buy more books and educational toys also increases. We also need to have a separate library for the children’s quiet time or book time.