Montessori Plus School

Travel Diary: Quezon City, Philippines– Monday, 04/04/2011

Posted on: April 7, 2011

This morning we had 18 students’ competency exams in practical learning, sensorial, and language areas. They did so well. The new students observed and learned a lot. The students were nervous. I told them I am so glad that I made the decision to come so that I could see their beautiful work.

I also told them about our new bilingual classroom in China. Then I explained the difference between bilingual and immersion:

1. We have had Korean and Chinese language materials in our classrooms, but the children treat them as a variation and are not too interested in them. Both English and the 2nd language materials are available to the children. The US children mainly ignore them.

2. Immersion is far, far better! We have not tried it but I saw it in action with one of our Japanese students in a school in Chicago. (a) The US children, 3 and 4 years-old in the new classroom, only hear Japanese spoken and see if written. The shelves are full of Japanese materials. This is the morning classroom. (b) The 3’s learn to understand and then speak some Japanese the first year. (c) The second year they learn to speak Japanese and write some. (d) The third year they learn to write and read Japanese.

3. In the afternoons these all-day children go into the English classroom and use all of the English language materials. The teachers speak English to them, of course, and as our children always do, they learn to read and write English by the time they end their 3rd year.

4. You could turn the Japanese (Chinese) materials around and place English in front, or you could have 2 international classrooms and switch the children between them (that is, another group of children have English in the morning and Japanese or Chinese in the afternoon).

The language on the shelves is the only spoken in class. The teacher for that classroom should be a native speaker of that language, as well as be able to understand and speak the alternate language.

 …

Later in the day, I arranged with Ms. Normi Son, Director of MTP of the US in the Philippines, to send a crate of nearly a full set of Montessori materials from her factory in June to Hanoi, Vietnam. This will be the first full Montessori school in Vietnam. Our student, Hanh, will be accompanies by her husband, who has studied in the Philippines for 5 years, their children, and Jennifer, a Filipino young woman, who will help them set up their school in Hanoi. Jennifer has a background in early childhood and college education. When we fly to Guangzhou, China, for the summer or fall course, we will take a 1-hour flight to Vietnam to see their school. The only materials missing will be the large bead cabinet and chains! This is MTP’s next school, but it may not be the last, God willing.

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