Hold it! Hold it! Ten years — did that whiz by too fast? His birthday rolls by and it’s not the same like the earlier years where my eyes stayed dry. He’s far from that baby I cradled and now in that tweenage phase. I wonder if my parents felt that strange sentimental mix when I turned a decade and over. I feel all the more grateful to my Mom and Dad for the years they stood by me. I feel all the more nostalgic about those years of cuteness overload near the starting line. I stare at pictures with amazement — this enormous gift, this privilege of being your Mom and just not wanting to screw up but being human makes this quite unavoidable.
We thought it would take another year before we could open Abot Tala for younger kids. It took us more than a year (14 months) to give birth to Abot Tala for teens so we surmised we needed time for the junior’s gestation period. However, circumstances conspired to bring us to where we are now: ready to open the doors of Abot Tala for children 6 to 11 years old!
We ran a two-week experiment last June to see if the kids and teens could co-exist in one place and we concluded that if we had a much bigger space, it could be done. But since the space for teens was limited as it was, a separate area for kids was necessary. We also had to quickly assemble a team like Avengers and it was no easy feat. Things eluded us. There were moments when we thought this dream was impossible to pull off this year and we could just wait till next year or when the universe grants us the consenting environment. Surprisingly, it did and tomorrow, August 12, we expand the age group and the physical space.
Abot Tala for teens promotes self-directed learning while Abot Tala for the kids is interest-led. Activities cater to all multiple intelligences and learning styles. The teacher follows the interests of the children while giving ample importance to basic academic skills.
Just like Abot Tala for Teens, Abot Tala Junior is not a school. The children who join us are either homeschooling already or intend to homeschool. Abot Tala Junior is an alternative to mainstream school. If the children want to transition to regular school or go to university in the future, they can opt to take the PEP Test at DepEd and/or get a homeschool provider.
Families can choose whether their kids attend Abot Tala Junior once, twice, thrice or four times a week. There are no grades, report cards or certificates. Every two or three months, there will be a presentation of the children’s works. To learn more about this program, visit https://abottala.com/junior/
Two months in our Taguig space and our second block presentation yielded a harvest of sorts: a classical guitar performance, a court case dramatization, a recent painting, making crepes and empanada for parents and visitors, and a documentary on Abot Tala that has gotten a lot of hits on FB since it’s been posted. The indie video was picked up, appropriately enough, by a site called EDIT – Education in Transformation.
‘Education in Transformation’ (EDIT) is a team of filmmakers whose mission it is to share stories from the Self-Directed Education movement.
We believe this paradigm shift in Education is a high leverage point for stepping into our potential as a human community.
Our role is to amplify a diverse set of voices from students, parents, and educators from around the world as they explore ways of learning that honour the uniqueness and autonomy of both the individual and the collective.
Our mission is to inspire more people to participate in this transformation by making visible that this change is possible and it is happening right now.
Some weeks before the presentation, Abot Tala teens made ice cream from scratch, took a pop-up class on rocking your resume and prepping for a job interview, took apart various donated appliances that the juniors can use to produce art in the future and said their farewells to a pair who were going back to regular school.
Here are the classes this August-September in Abot Tala. If you know somebody who is looking for an option outside of mainstream school or for a community of homeschoolers, unschoolers and mentors, please point them towards Tres Palmas, Taguig.
Their launchpad is waiting.