For several years now, progressive schools has been multiplying all over Metro Manila. Parents have been enrolling their children to these schools rather than putting their children to traditional ones. How can we differentiate one school from another? Do children really benefit from these schools compared from traditional ones which were dominant during 1970's-1990's?
I have limited knowledge with regards to these types of schools but basing on the experience of my nephews and nieces, i sometimes wonder if the teaching techniques in progressive schools are effective compared to traditional ones.
My nephews and nieces are studying from a school founded by a German named Rudolf Steiner. The school, i think, was established during the 1990's. It is a co-ed school but students are limited to just 15-20 children per teacher. Subjects are taught in months basis, for example; math and science are taught for 2-3 months straight, no other subjects. For the next months, english, grammar, foreign language for another 2-3 months. A student's teacher in grade 1 will be his or her teacher until grade 6. As i mentioned, foreign language is taught as early as grade 2, musical instruments like recorder (flute), violin, guitar, etc. are also taught. Kids are exposed to 2-4 days of outdoor camping (outside manila) as early as grade 3.
Other non-traditional activities: Kids are highly discouraged to watch TV (even cartoons) and play video games. Kids are not allowed in school to wear clothes, shoes even bags to have cartoon characters printed on it. Milk products (except fresh milk) are discouraged to be taken even for toddlers, they only recommend breastfeeding up to 2 years then straight to solid foods, fruits and vegetables. Formula milk is a no-no.
Reading comprehension is not pressured up to grade 4, they believe that children will learn how to read when they are ready and there is no need to initialize reading. You can just imagine my mom's (my nephews' grandmother) frustration in teaching her grandchildren how to read since she still believes traditional school is better than progressive ones. So, since reading is not a priority, spelling and writing skills are all put behind.
There are a lot of differences between these two types of schools. What progressive schools offer are totally different from their traditional counterparts and they believe that children should not be too pressured to learn in their early years. Progressive schools still believe play is an essential part of learning and they don't believe that kids as early as grades 1 and 2 should be burden by advanced mathematical problems and science concepts. For them learning should be fun and the last thing they want is for their students to give in to school pressures, requirements and exams.