September 27, 2022
Cute performances, gifts to parents at Tzu Chi preschool launch
By Joy Rojas
When it was time for their son Aidan to go to school, Andre and Mabel Ongcarranceja knew exactly where to send him. Both commissioners of Tzu Chi Foundation since 2015, they enrolled him for schoolyear 2022-2023 at Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool Philippines. The preschool, which marks Tzu Chi’s foray into the mission of education, held a grand launch on September 25 at Tzu Chi Foundation in Agno, Quezon City. Together with the families of other preschoolers, the Ongcarrancejas were there to celebrate the milestone.
“We believe in Tzu Chi’s values,” says Andre.
“Aside from academics, we believe in the importance of life skills,” adds Mabel, whose parents were involved with Tzu Chi Foundation since 1994. “We want Aidan to grow up being kind and compassionate in whatever field he chooses.”
Michelle Fang, who also enrolled her daughter Olivia Lai at the preschool, noticed a difference in her 2-year-old after only few classes. “Every morning, she’s already in her uniform and she’s excited to go to school,” says Michelle.
The preschool benefits this mother as well. After seeing Olivia off for class, Michelle sits in a waiting area where a flat-screen TV airs Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s talks. “My mornings aren’t wasted because I’m listening to Master,” says Michelle, who became a Tzu Chi commissioner in 2019. “I feel so good afterwards.”
Offering nursery and pre-k classes for children ages 2-4, Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool Philippines is a progressive school that aims to develop its students’ physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, character, and life skills. It also seeks to instill Tzu Chi’s humanistic values through experiential learning in a loving, nurturing environment. The school employs the Developmental Interaction Approach, which believes that individual learn best when they are engaged with materials, ideas, and people.
“We use the play-based approach and the learning-by-doing approach,” says Teacher MJ Seno. “We also apply the Montessori approach, which focuses on life skills.”
These approaches were evident during the launch program. To the delight of families and Tzu Chi volunteers, the youngsters held onto colored bands connected to a long main band as they made their way down steps and onto seats to watch their older schoolmates present a drum performance.
At the auditorium, preschool principal Jane Sy guided students in a sign language presentation of “Children of the Earth.” When their families were called on stage, the kids surprised them with colorful artwork and a hand-painted tote bag they made during class.
As the schoolyear unfolds, the youngsters will be introduced to STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading Engineering, Arts, Mathematics), Chinese Mandarin language, literature-based learning, creative self-expression and critical thinking, humanistic education, life skills, and character building.
“We encourage parents to look at our curriculum,” says Teacher MJ. “Our curriculum is a child-centered curriculum that is essential to children’s development.”