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Traditional vs Progressive Schools

Do you have kids who need to take the exam to big school this year? You guys might want to read this first... I attended a talk by Didi Manahan, a professor at the Ateneo and the directress of Explorations Preschool and Keys Gradeschool about traditional and progressive schools. I think it is important to realize that progressive schools are present nowadays because there is more and more proof that people learn differently. And just because one doesn't go to a traditional school, it doesn't mean that he/she is "intellectually challenged". As a quick overview, these are the basic differences between a traditional and a progressive school.


You might be thinking that, hey, progressive doesn't seem so strange after all. In fact, if you've visited the school that our son went to, and listen to their philosophy, you will definitely think it makes MORE sense to send your child to a progressive school! What with 40 children per class in a traditional school??? How will your kid learn at all?
One thing that really draws me to a progressive curriculum is that the concepts are investigated upon. The kids aren't made to swallow things "just because". I think that that's what is needed now--to teach kids how to be critical thinkers.
However, for those who are not convinced, here is the list of pros for traditional schools.

Something to think about, parents. PS--and if you're wondering about us, well, Paul's going to his dad's school. =p We'll see how he fares. His dad promised me we'd assess and discuss this after Grade 1 or 2. We'll see...abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

March 10, 2009 UPDATE! Please consider using our School Reviews feature to leave and / or look for opinions on schools. Thank you!! - admin

Total votes: 6902


hi moms, i need help in

mommy sam's picture

hi moms, i need help in choosing where to enroll my son. i already Cambridge, Second Mom, LEAP, and Creative Beginners. so far i'm torn between Cambridge and Second Mom...please help me in deciding. i never thought choosing a school for a 3 year old could be this tough :) Thanks!

Hi moms...i'm enrolling my

mommy sam's picture

Hi moms...i'm enrolling my son for nursery next school year. I'm from Pasig and visited a few schools around the area including greean meadows ave. The schools i visited so far are Cambridge in Valle Verde I, Second Mom, LEAP and Creative far I'm choosing between Second Mom and Cambridge. But i like Cambridge more...any feedback on these two schools? I'm still undecided. Please help...i wanted sana to make reservations`as soon as possible. This site has helped me so much in choosing what schools to visit. I need a little push on what school to choose. thanks!

Thanks keechay...

Kelai's picture

Thanks keechay...

hi kelai. raya has a

keechay's picture

hi kelai. raya has a website, check from there. :)

Hi ToniM, I've been hearing

Kelai's picture

Hi ToniM,

I've been hearing good feedback re Raya school. I am considering it for my son next school year. He'll be 2.5yrs old by then. would you know if they offer summer classes? Also, do you have the contact #? I've been inquiring in other preschool but almost all of them has chinese included in the curriculum.


Thanks, Maybs! I'll check

Pia's picture

Thanks, Maybs! I'll check out the school when I go to Ateneo this coming week. :)

Hi Pia, You may want to

maybs's picture

Hi Pia,

You may want to check out Centro Montessori Internationale. It is an authentic Montessori grade school located in Xavierville, I think. I haven't really checked out the school myself but we will be looking into letting our daughter study there someday. Tel. no. 434-31-08 / 426-05-97.

Hope this helps in giving you more choices :)

Hi moms and some dads! I'm

Pia's picture

Hi moms and some dads!

I'm new to the site, which I wandered into while doing made research for schools for my son (sparked by the onset of the Ateneo application period. Hubby and I have always thought that our son would go to Ateneo (usual drill...), but have been having second thoughts because of what we've observed from the experience of friends. A 45:1 student-teacher ratio is far from ideal.

Our son is currently at Casa Montessori attending the extended day progam, and we are more than pleased with the school (and highly recommend it to mothers considering it for their children). We want more of the same thing for him (except the steep matriculation fees :), but know we have to transfer him soon because it's easier to get accepted at entry-level at most schools (rather than transferring at mid-levels).

The feature on progressive schools and traditional schools, including the posts appearing after it have been helpful. Among others, we're considering Maria Montessori in Merville (this used to be Montessori Pasay) and still, for sentimental reasons, Ateneo.

I heard there was a problem at Maria Montessori last year (connected with the Board of Trustees and the old principal). Are there any parents in this discussion group whose kids still go there? Any thoughts on how the school's been faring? I heard they lost some teachers, and during my visit there a couple of weeks ago, this seemed to be the case because when we sat in one class, my sis-in-law and I were, well, underwhelmed, by the teacher. The ability of the teacher is even more important under the Montessori system, as children from stay in one level for about 3 years, and have only 1 teacher for all subjects (except, say, Pilipino). Now, I'm a bit iffy, so any feedback is appreciated.

hi tess! so nice to hear

jencct's picture

hi tess!

so nice to hear from moms outside manila!! my elder son is in a traditional big school (kasi that's where his dad studied---you know the drill! :D), and our younger son is in a progressive preschool (but will eventually move on to his dad's big school as well!).

the waldorf method (from my reading) is a bit different even in terms of progressive schooling. i am not familiar with how their grade school kids move on to highschool. i've read quite a bit on it, and was interested in it for a while, but after i've read (and eventually experienced) the developmental interaction approach, i figured this was the best middle-of-the-road experience i'd like for my kids. i feel na waldorf is a bit on the romantic side. it's not for me, but some of my friends love the school. matter of choice lang yan. :)

Hi Jencct, we're in iloilo

tess's picture

Hi Jencct,

we're in iloilo city. Our school is the Gamot-cogon school at Zarraga, Iloilo. Its on its 3rd year but we only enrolled this year. are your kids enrolled at a waldorf school too? my concern really is whether the kids moving on to high school would be behind in the academic subjects. Ive visited a lot of waldorf sites in the net and found assurance that the kids adjust fairly well but I would like to get first person feedback. Also, my two boys are currently enjoying their school but my eldest, who is in grade 1, and who came from a Montessori school here, is always asking me to give him more things to learn about at home, more work to do. He has a wide range of interests, which, I guess, are not yet being addressed in school.



jencct's picture

hi tess,

"waldorf-inspired"? which is this? i'm interested to find out because i only know manila waldorf school, the acacia school in sta rosa and mikael's playground (but that's not until grade 1).

sana you were at our parents ponder. teacher didi covered the concern on integration into traditional high schools.

wondering what you were concerned about---subject matter adjustment? there shouldn't be much adjustment but on dealing with bigger classes, bigger schoolbags, homework---but i suppose that if you're there to support your child and depending on his or her personality, it wouldn't be much to a difficult adjustment, but that's just me.

Hi Moms, I have 3 sons and

tess's picture

Hi Moms,

I have 3 sons and two are currently enrolled at a waldorf-inspired school (kindergarten & grade 1). hope to get feedback from you about similarly oriented schools, re: adjustment/integration to traditional schools by high school and curriculum content. Thanks!

hi momatwork, really? i'm

jencct's picture

hi momatwork,

really? i'm curious tuloy what big school she entered. it seems to me that girls schools are more "strict" in that sense. i was so surprised to find out that my son's big school doesn't require preschool---and the result---he was kinda bored with the subject matter. okay na rin, so he could focus on developing his socio-emotional side because that's what really needs developing now. :p

Dear Chili, I think my

momatwork's picture

Dear Chili,

I think my daughters class had difficulty making it into some of the bigger schools because of the way they relate to their teachers in toddlers. I asked one of the counsellors who tested my daughter and she said that they felt my daughter was not prepared for big school because of the way she handled the interview also, she lacked some of the basic skills they were looking for. I think Toddlers is a great first school for a kid since it teaches them that learning and school can be fun, but at some point, similar to some of the comments I read above, the kids need a bit of drilling too.

Hi! Thank you for all your

ToniM's picture


Thank you for all your insights - I am not nuts afterall for obsessing about these things.

My son is now 5 and I am very glad that I enrolled him in a progressive school since he was 3 years old. I think it was jencct who mentioned the Raya School in the Scout Area. I decided to sign up here to help moms who are in the area to take a good look at this school. Very reasonable (at 42 K) and has a 1 teacher to 9 student ratio. The directress - Ani Almario has a Masters degree in curriculum development from Standford University, she also runs Adarna Publishing. I have had many conversations with her over the past three years and have come to appreciate her love for teaching, her genuine concern for the kids in her school and her passion for developing appropriate teaching materials for Pinoy kids.

The kids are also given an early start in science - with CP David as the teacher - he also has a Master's Degree in Stanford and currently teaches at the UP - his Wednesday classes (no school in UP) are the most awaited class by all the kids in Raya - opening their eyes to the wonders of nature and machines.

They have just added Butch Abad's daughter in their roster of teacher - but she teaches Makabayan to the Grade 1 students so I have no information about her class.

Aside from this excellent roster of teachers - they also have monthly talks where they invite a Parent to talk about his/her job and/or passions, artists to teach the kids his/her craft, people in the community to talk about their work (sorbetero, police, health center doctor).
Do check out their website for more info -

Hope that helps.

liv, this is TLC's number

keechay's picture

liv, this is TLC's number 725-2300/7252400. Teacher jules/hazel are very nice. they wld explain to you everything. good luck

Hi Keechay, would you have

liv's picture

Hi Keechay, would you have the no. of TLC? Just noticed that I missed a digit when I took their no. down from their poster. :-( Tnx!

thanks keechay, will call

liv's picture

thanks keechay, will call TLC then. :-)

hi chili. my son is also

farrah's picture

hi chili. my son is also enrolled at toddlers unlimited. im glad i was able to read your insights abt the school. thanks. so far, am happy with them but of course, i'm still looking for the best option for the next schoolyear. actually, my son has speech delay but he's talking more now. i really cant say if its because of the school or his speech therapy done 2x a week. if possible, i would want him to enter the big traditional schools. do you think toddlers is able to prepare their students well in entering these big schools? also, where is mother goose located? thanks a lot. hope to hear from u.

i visited pala alphabet

keechay's picture

i visited pala alphabet house last may when i was scouting for a preschool, it was ok but i never had a chance to see the classroom. the tuition fee there is at 64k.

At TLC naman, the teachers are very nice and speaks fluent english. they worksheets which u will see at the end of each week so u will know the progress of their child. they have toddler (1.8 to 2.6), junior (2.6 to 3) and senior. My daughter is in junior. hope this helps.

hi liv, there's a good

keechay's picture

hi liv, there's a good preschool in san juan area (pilar st., addition hills) named "the learning connection". my daughter is enrolled there. try to visit them

Hi, I have a 2 yr old

liv's picture

Hi, I have a 2 yr old daughter. Have called both Explorations and Milestone. It seems like Explo is very much recommended here but I am not sure my hubby would make a go for a 70 K tuition. Has any one heard of Milestone or Learning Bridge? What about Alphabet Hse? We live in San Juan and there seems to be so many choices and I'm confused.

Would appreciate feedback. Thanks!

Hi, My daughter is

working mom's picture


My daughter is currently enrolled (Grade 1) in an exclusive traditional school. But sad to say, I am disappointed or should I say disgusted by the way they do things.

Now I'm exploring the possibility of transferring her to a progressive school. I will be visiting Britesparks International School in Libis. Has anyone heard of this school? or has tried it? Maybe someone could also suggest good progressive elementary schools around san juan, ortigas and Q.C. Help! Thanks.

momatwork: my son is also

chili's picture

momatwork: my son is also enrolled in toddlers unlimited. May I ask why some of their classmates had a difficult time getting into big school?

Toddlers is a very nice school, with a nice environment, and a lot of individual attention to the kids. However, I find the curriculum lacking in more academic work and daily "drilling" of basic concepts. Would this perhaps be the reason why you mentioned some of your first child's classmates had a difficult time getting into big school?

I also checked out mother goose before. I also checked out Apple Seed Montessori. Ive had mixed reviews from other parents about both schools. You might want to check it out though. As far as I know gthey do academic work each day, depending one what area is scheduled for the day: math/geometry, reading/language, cultural studies/geography, practical life/sensorial. Aside from the tuition fees (apple seed is a bit cheaper), the two schools have basically the same curriculum except that Apple Seed has Art 2x/week for their special activity while mother goose has art only 1week.

Please give me your comments abt the other schools you visit in the area, Thanks

Hi jellybeans, I've heard

Kelly's picture

Hi jellybeans,

I've heard really good things about The Bridge School, and I'm actually considering the school for my son. It's also just a few minutes walk from my parents' house so that's a big big plus. I'm not sure about the fees but as per my friend whose son goes there, it's around 70k. I'm not sure about this ha :) I plan on setting up an appointment with them, but I'll probably schedule it around end of the year pa.

How did you find Mind Builders'? It's the first time I heard about it and am curious about their curriculum.

Best regards.

Hi to everyone, I stumbled

momatwork's picture

Hi to everyone, I stumbled upon this thread when I did a search for preschools in the makati area for my second child. My first went to Toddlers Unlimited in Alfaro St. I liked the environment there and the teachers seemed really nice! Not to mention that at the time she joined in 2004, the student teacher ratio was almost 1:3. Unfortunately when graduation time came, she and some of her classmates had difficulty making it into the big schools. Now she is a bit behind compared to her big school classmates in certain areas. So here I am again scouting for a good school for my second child. I did a trial class for mother goose, also along alfaro, and it seemed ok. I was just wondering if any of you have heard about it.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

hi, i just stumbled upon

jellybeans's picture

hi, i just stumbled upon this thread and read through all entries :)

we live in BF and the 2 schools that i'm considering for my 3.2 yo son are Bridge, Prep Camp and Mindbuilders. i just wanted to find out how much the tuition is in Bridge School and Prep Camp.. my son had a free trial class in Mindbuilders and he was happy. Bridge is much closer to our house though.


Hi Aya! Sorry you had a bad

Tina's picture

Hi Aya! Sorry you had a bad experienc with ISYC. You should give it another try. We're loyal patrons of ISYC. We sent my two boys there and my youngest is enrolled there this school year as well. We love everything about it --- curriculum, low student-teacher ratio, facilities and especially their teachers. ISYC does not only develop the child as a whole it also brings families together in a nurturing community. I like the fact that ISYC values every member of the family. In fact, they have different activities specifically for that purpose. We had a mother-and-child fun run in july and we just finished a father-and-child amazing race last saturday. Last year, they started giving a "Yaya Education Seminar" which proved very helpful and informative to our helpers.

ISYC utilizes developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood education. instruction is individualized so every child progresses in his/her own pace. ISYC also helps their students in reviewing for big school interviews and entrance exams with their simulation exams and mock interviews.

Overall, we're very happy with ISYC! Tuition is about 50K but its all inclusive. So, if you're looking for a fun learning school for your child in the Marikina area, then ISYC is the best choice!

Hello, My name is Donna

drbabaran's picture

My name is Donna Babaran, my family and I will be in the Philippines for 3 weeks this coming October. I have a 3yr. old son who just started preschool. I was hoping to enroll him in a preschool while we are there 3-5 days/week or so. In addition I am looking for a teacher to tutor him in tagalog 1hr/day either at the school or at our apartment. We will be staying at Fraser Place in Salcedo village, Makati.
Any Help you can give me would be appreciated.

Hi Ladies. I am so excited I

drbabaran's picture

Hi Ladies. I am so excited I discovered this site. My family and I will be in Manila for 3 weeks in October. I have a 3yr. old son who is now in preschool. I was hoping to sign him up in some preschool 2-3 days/week and have him privately tutored in Tagalog 1hr/day while we are in the Philippines. We will be staying at Fraser Suites in Salcedo Village, Makati. Any info and help and recommendations would be so much appreciated.

Hi Aya! Is Ingenium

sheryl's picture

Hi Aya!

Is Ingenium progressive or traditional school? Do you have feedback on Kidstech?


hi sheryl - our preference,

Aya's picture

hi sheryl -

our preference, if it all works out, is actually PAREF Rosehill in Antipolo. it's an all girls school affiliated with PAREF (like Yu Ming which is mentioned in some of the earlier posts)with a co-ed preschool.

another possible option for your son is PAREF Ridgefield in QC. this is the co-ed preschool of PAREF Northfield, the tandem boys school of Rosehill.

The primary reason we are looking for quality preschools in Marikina is my husband and I are thinking of enrolling our daughter, for the first couple of years, in a school close to our home. This would cut down on travel time - a major stressor esp for young kids and ensure that she would have some playmates within our area for after-school play. We would choose Ingenium if we go this route, then Rosehill for her last year of preschool/Grade 1.

hope this helps. :)

Hi Aya! Thanks for the site

sheryl's picture

Hi Aya!

Thanks for the site on kids on focus. Have you decided where you would enroll your child next year?

Our child are roughly the same age by next year...My son will be 3.9 yo by June. Any feedback on Mother Goose and Kidstech? Thanks.

Keechay, Yu Ming schedules

SnoopyMom's picture

Yu Ming schedules periodic chats with the parents every few months. It includes observations on socialization skills, learning ability, independence, etc. There is no judgement on intelligence or "better-than or worse-than-other-kids". Just comments on if your child is learning and behaving appropriately for his age. There are also programs staged by the kids (Linggo ng Wika, Teacher's Day, Christmas, etc.) so you can see how your child actually performs with others. They take field trips where parents can opt to join, so you can also see how the kids interact with each other.

On the unfortunate event that the child gets a bad experience (e.g. scared by loud noises of other kids or bullied by another), their teachers and administrators are well-qualified to handle the situation and involve the parents appropriately.

hi jen. can i ask how much

keechay's picture

hi jen. can i ask how much is the tuition fee at explorations? thanks

Hi, jencct and to all the

cherrhys's picture

Hi, jencct and to all the other mommies!

I'm so happy to have stumbled on this site. My daughter is 16 months old and we want to enroll her in a preschool na rin. Our purpose though is to help or aid her in socializing with other children since she's an only child and has no children her age to interact with aside from the fact that we could already see her boredom here at home. And I could only play and teach her so much. =P

We are around New Manila,QC area. I'm glad to see that there are a lot of suggestions here regarding schools near our area. I'd love to hear more suggestions/feedbacks though on Fil-Chi preschools in this area, (even around San Juan and Mandaluyong), syempre it would be better if it has a more affordable rate. ;)

Has anybody heard of Kinderminds, Whiz Child or Learning Jungle(Sct area)? Any feedbacks?? By the way, does anyone know how much is the rate in Cambridge Banawe? They wouldn't give out their rate unless I personally schedule a visit. I've heard that the rates in their Serendra and Makati branch are astronomical!

Thanks in advance!

Hi! My son ,who is 3 yo, is

ellen's picture

Hi! My son ,who is 3 yo, is currently enrolled in a progressive type preschool that puts more emphasis in socialization skills and "wholistic development" than in worksheets and academics. He will be eligible for the big school on 2009. I was wondering if it would be better to move him to a traditional preschool next year to better prepare him for kinder since I noticed that most big schools tend to focus more on academics. I just don't want my son to be left behind by classmates who attended the traditional type preschools. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

thanks mandy! we'll

strawberry's picture

thanks mandy! we'll definitely check them out next week. :)

thanks for the info chilli.

nikki's picture

thanks for the info chilli. i'll definitely take into acount all your comments. :)

hi! m new here but i liked

dustine's picture

hi! m new here but i liked the reviews! it's so informative! i also want my 16 mo old son to study in a progressive school when the time comes. sawa na talaga ako sa mga traditional schools! anyone heard of the learning jungle? it's quite near my place kc. sa scout area lang. also pls comment on cambridge, st mark's, and child preschool or other suggestions. m scouting for a good school for my son as early as now! tnx.

snoopy mom, if you cld share

keechay's picture

snoopy mom, if you cld share how yu ming teaches the children and how they send feedbacks to parents, i wld really appreciate. thx.

thx snoopy mom. i'll wait

keechay's picture

thx snoopy mom. i'll wait till next year to see if my daughter needs to change school. she's doing ok naman at tlc. i called yu ming today and their tuition for junior kinder is arnd 80k, similar with tlc din. ill check yu ming one of these days to see if they are better than tlc. thanks

thanks mandy!

simon72's picture

thanks mandy!

nikki: heres my take on the

chili's picture

nikki: heres my take on the two schools youve mentioned

fun-d-mentals: bigger school with better facilities. Has a curriculum thay they follow. dislike the student teacher ratio which is quite high. For toddlers they had 1:6 as opposed to other schools which only has 1:4 or 1:3 for the 2 yr old class. also when i went there once, i noticed that bec of the high student teacher ratio (i was observing the toddler class) one kid who began crying was ignored for a while. Bec the lead teacher was busy teaching, while the asst teacher was changing the diaper of someone.

woodside: their ratio is 1:4, however in my last visit there were 10 students with 2 teachers. The biggest plus they have is that they send you anecdotal reports everyday. So ull know everything ur child did in each day, bec when he comes home ull get to read the report. Downside is that the school is super small. also they have a mixed age classroom which i dont like. also, when i observed the class for a while the asst teacher was so busy doing her anecdotal reports that the it was as if the kids only had 1 teacher bec the other one was writing the whole time.

If u ask me though, i think i would send to woodside bec they seem to have better academics that fundamentals. Also they take entrance tests to big school very seriously.

Hi Keechay, In 2005, kinder

SnoopyMom's picture

Hi Keechay,

In 2005, kinder was P56k/year. Quite reasonable. Not sure about nursery or toddler class.

BTW, I've convinced two other moms to send their kids to Yu Ming, and they too are very happy!

hello snoopy mom: can i ask

keechay's picture

hello snoopy mom: can i ask how much is the tuition fee at yu ming. my daughter naman kasi is enrolled at tlc, quite near yu ming. thanks

@simon 72 - Dap stands for

mandy's picture

@simon 72 -

Dap stands for Developmentally Appropriate Practice. In this practice, the teaching methods (and all the other components) are age-appropriate, socially and culturally appropriate and individually appropriate. Age-appropriate since it considers the development of the domains (physical, cognitive and socio-emotional) in relation to their age - their milestones. it's socially and culturally appropriate that learning becomes a meaningful experience for the children. In DAP, it is also more student-centered so the interest and needs of the children are also considered. Moreover, lessons are integrated. With lessons being integrated, they see the relevance of what they're learning by how it can be applied in various disciplines. :)

eclectic, from what i can understand, is a mixture of all the approaches. So it can be alittle of montessori, a lttle bt of Dap, etc.

@strawberry - the learning

mandy's picture

@strawberry - the learning tree school in sikatuna is the grade school department of learning tree. if you're looking for the lower levels, it's their branch in ermin garcia.

Hi Kelly! I sent my 1st son

SnoopyMom's picture

Hi Kelly!

I sent my 1st son to playschool at 2, mainly for socialization (he only had the yaya with him during the day). My second son will actually be 2 yrs 10 months by the time I plan to send him to preschool. I don't see the need for him to go to school that early because he gets to play with his kuya in the afternoons and evenings (actually, his social skills are better than his kuya's). Besides, playschool is only 2-3 hours long, so most of the time, he still spends at home. Net-net vs. cost of schooling and travel time, I'd rather wait till he's (almost) 3 yrs.

BTW, I sent my 1st son (and will send my 2nd son) to Yu Ming School in Addition Hills, Mandaluyong. Its a Fil-Chinese PAREF school that have very good teachers and non-trad setup (though we're not Chinese). They take personal interest in your child and have good preparation for the big school. They also offer special interest classes after regular class or during summer (like tae kwon do, arts & crafts, Enopi, etc.) if your child is interested, and also for the parents during weekends (like How to raise good-natured kids or how to help your kids become well-rounded, etc.).

Hope this helps.

hi chili! i've been sending

nikki's picture

hi chili!
i've been sending my daughter to books and blocks in tierra pura quezon city. but we will be moving to makati next week. i'm considering 2 schools (those nearest to our place) fun-d-mentals and woodside. which would you suggest and any comments would really help.

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