Choosing a school for your child is one of the hardest decisions a parent can make. School, next to home is the place where our child learns and develops his personality and character. It is also a place of growth, self realization and self actualization. I haven’t given much thought about where Gabbie will go after her pre-school years but I have to say as early as now I’m opening myself to the idea that the more I know, the better I can choose the perfect school for her. So when I was given a chance to visit Domuschola International School in Pasig, I didn’t hesitate and took this chance to learn more about what their school is all about.
Domuschola (two Latin word that means home and school) International School is owned by husband and wife tandem Joel Banal (former coach of UAAP Ateneo, Talk & Text and Alaska Acers) and Jenny Banal (who comes from a line of educators, the Mapuas). Both act as President and Directress (respectively) of the school. What started as a search for the perfect school to put their kids into prompted Joel & Jenny to put up their own pre-school named Second Mom. They wanted a school where their kids will progress as individuals with an environment like that of their home, thus Second Mom refers to the school being the kids’ second home and mom. Eventually the humble pre-school has extended to become an International school which was founded in 2006, and offers primary and secondary school. In 2011 they were accredited as an IB (International Baccalaureate) school that has international standards evident through their challenging programs and rigorous assessment.
For someone like me who went to a traditional school, understanding how a progressive school works can be overwhelming. DIS (Domuschola International School) has a mix of IB (International Baccalaureate) and Cambridge-DepEd system. Take a look at the charts below to further understand their program.
Their challenging program uses the constructivist approach. It is an inquiry-based learning where students have ownership of their learning. It starts with exploration and questioning which leads to investigation into a worthy question, issue, problem or idea. It involves asking questions, gathering and analyzing information, generating solutions, making decisions, justifying conclusions and taking actions. Its very much like a thesis where students get to group together, have a central idea, expound and create a line of inquiry where they draw key and related concepts and they get to have an advisor oversee their work in progress.
DIS gives their students a chance to discover things by themselves, It is progressive and their manner of assessment is non-threatening. The manner of questioning is play based and everything is evidence based. The students also get to develop their social and language skills as they create concepts and shared ideas with their fellow students and with the faculty as well. As what mentioned in their programme, it starts with exploration so they are heavy with field trips and immersions. These help them get a feel of the real world, making it the primary resources, books come in second.
The most challenging part of running a school that has a Primary Years Program (PYP) according to Teacher Mom (Jenny Banal) is the paradigm shift that starts with finding the right teachers. The quality of such education and program is critical not only because of the curriculum but on how it can be executed through the educators. Also, the continuity of learning at home and the understanding and education of parents about their inquiry-based program is also crucial. For such progressive school, there is heavy collaboration between school and home. It is not enough that the child is independent and is a critical thinker in school, it has to be enhanced even when at home. So making parents involve help them understand further what their child learns in school. The better they understand as parents, the more they can support their kids in discovering who they are and how they can be in the real world.
Teacher Mom Jenny giving a tour of Domuschola International School.
Here I believe is the profile of a progressive child. These ten traits are the key characteristics DIS instills to their students.
We were also invited to listen to their PYP program wherein students get to present their “thesis” or the learnings they’ve accumulated for the school year. It’s refreshing to see students present in a manner that they’re like adults. Concise, precise and straight to the point!
Well-researched topics that got me thinking of a smart question to ask them. Very good DIS kids.
Domuschola International School also takes pride as the most affordable international school in the country. They wanted to give the Filipino kids a chance to a good education. They are at par with other international schools in the country and they also offer scholarships to those who want to go to school but have no means of doing so.
With Kris of OC Mom In Manila, Tin of Manila Fashion Observer with Berry, Teacher Mom Jenny Banal and yours truly with Gabbie.
Thank you Joel & Jenny Banal (and Melody too) for inviting us to take a look at your “baby” Second Mom and Domuschola International School. It got me learning about how progressive and International schools are.
For more information visit Domuschola International School’s website.
It is true that the school is the second home of our kids and choosing the right one is a decision we must carefully make as parents.To the mommies and daddies of preschoolers, where do you plan to send your kids to school? What’s your take on progressive schools?