Abot Tala was originally intended for young people ages 12 to 18, but after opening this April 2019, we realized it was too good not to share the experience to kids from 6 to 11 years old. Thus, Abot Tala Junior was formed with its separate space and a complete team of mentor-teachers eager to redefine school for the 21st-century learner. As an interest-led learning center, Abot Tala Junior seeks to celebrate and honor each child’s innate curiosity, what they are naturally drawn to and their unique way of seeing the world.
The program focuses on:
- The child as a whole person – nourishing their body, heart, mind
- Providing a caring, supportive, and nurturing environment where kids are respected and seen as interesting individuals
- Designing a space where each kid achieves and feels good at their own level (no competition, just enjoyment on their own personal progress)
- Training them to develop basic tools of education: questioning, self-expression, exploration, discovery, stories.
- Forming the 21st century skills: creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration
- Integrated learning – English, Math, Science, History, Social studies, Entrepreneurship, Care for Environment and other topics integrated into activities that are interactive and engaging
- Interest-led and personalized – following the child’s interests and where that could lead them
1. Inquiry-based learning
Children will be provided with opportunities to ask questions, investigate, and figure out the answers to their inquiries. This will help them know their interests.
2. Project-based learning
Children are going to delve into exploring real-world problem, thinking of solutions, and creating one relevant project.
3. Personal and group goal setting
Teachers collaborate with the kids, especially when it comes to planning of the activities and setting of expectations. This will help build a sense of community where everyone looks after one another, solves problems, and learn together.
4. A buffet of topics and activities
They will be presented with a menu of stimulating topics and activities to see what will generate interest and spark curiosity.
5. Teachers as facilitators and models
The teachers will learn beside the kids, collaborate with them, and guide them in pursuing their interests. They are also responsible for developing in themselves the same things that they want the children to learn.
There are two sets of age groups: those who are 6, 7, 8 years old and those ages 9, 10, 11. There are two full-time teacher-facilitators and from time to time, guest teachers will come to give special pop-up classes. There is a limit of 5 to 6 kids per age group.
Just like Abot Tala for Teens, Abot Tala Junior is not a school. The children who join this program 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, they need to take the PEP Test at DepEd or get a homeschool provider or support.
Abot Tala Junior runs Monday to Thursday from 9am to 3pm. Families can choose to join once, twice, thrice or four times a week. We accept children at any point of the year.
Following are quotes that inspire us:
“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” -Leo F. Buscaglia
“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -Mr. Rogers
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” -Carl Jung
“Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.” -Plato
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” Kahlil Gibran
That last quote keeps me dreaming of an open green space nearby where children could freely run and play on the grass, under the trees and sky. Oh, if we could find a place like Gopala Learning Haven in Silang, Cavite but here in Manila! Looking forward to the Juniors’ field trip there one of these days.