How can we affect change in the educational landscape of Mindanao? How can we help inspire a movement of school communities striving towards a truly holistic education accessible to everyone? In our school context, it’s by giving Mindanaoans a working model of Steiner/Waldorf education in Mindanao!

So when 13 school heads and 17 kindergarten teachers from the Department of Education (DepEd) Trento, Agusan del Sur visited to “benchmark” with our Kindergarten we were very happy indeed to accommodate them. They gamely walked through the muddy road to our school gate and then gathered at our still-to-be-completed outdoor kitchen where they sat on benches.

The entire morning, our pioneering teacher, Miss Katherine Estember, shared the image of the human being that is the basis of what we teach and how we teach in Tuburan. She also shared about how children learn best when their 12 senses are developed in the healthiest way.

While this was going on, two of DepEd Trento’s school heads joined our kindergarten class – and then shared their observations. Here are some:

  • Tuburan’s kindergarten class focuses on developing the children’s character; it’s not yet important to write their names:
  • Indeed kindergarten children do not learn from lecturing but by imitating and by experiencing.
  • When we build a classroom we cut down trees and remove the grasses but at Tuburan the teacher encourages children to play in nature and even helps them climb trees which greatly builds their confidence
  • The kindergarten doesn’t have a blackboard because children learn language in the morning circle, during creative free play, during storytelling and scribbling (drawing)
  • Kindergarten children aren’t taught what to play – they’re allowed to play whatever they want and turn natural toys into different things with their imagination
  • Kindergarten children know exactly what to do when; they have a great sense of rhythm

During the open forum, the educators from DepEd Trento were full of ideas about how to integrate some of what they learned and experienced in their own school contexts. When the educators expressed their strong desire to learn more, Miss Katherine advised them to explore the internet for materials about Steiner/Waldorf education and join the trainings offered in the Philippines. We will most likely see them back in October when Horst Hellmann will give another Public Lecture on Steiner/Waldorf Education in the 21st Century. Those who are also interested to join kindly register online through this link: http://bit.ly/2nowIeJ. We look forward to journey with more passionate educators and parents from Mindanao this 2017!

(Click on a photo to enlarge.)

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