I know a few people who have decided to move down south (and by down south I mean further down) to build their life and raise their kids. They say it’s refreshing to live in a budding community & they’re very happy with the decision they made. My husband & I are keeping our options open and living in the south is one of them. We’ve visited the area a few times already and I gotta say, I am more and more convinced the south is bound to fully thrive on its own–having all you’ll ever need right there. For those who are interested like us and would want to find out about the schools around south, I’ve recently visited one– The Beacon Academy in Laguna.
The Beacon Academy is tucked in Biñan Laguna and is just 5 minutes away from Nuvali, 20 minutes away from Alabang and 40 minutes from Makati. The drive going there was literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air– seeing the lush greens and traffic-free roads made me wish everyday was like this in my city.
There is a bus that brings students to and from the Beacon School Taguig campus every school day. So if you live in Taguig or somewhere nearby you can ride from Beacon School Taguig going to Beacon Academy in Laguna.
THE ONLY IB WORLD SCHOOL FROM K-12 IN THE COUNTRY
Together with the Beacon School in Taguig, the Beacon Academy is the only IB World School in the country. Beacon School & Beacon Academy offer the IB Programme from K-12. Most international schools only offer the IB Programme for grades 11-12.
This nine-hectare campus is surrounded by lush trees and stunning greenery. The buildings are designed to work with the natural environment and offer sustainable functions.
I like the balance between concrete and nature. It’s refreshing to see a campus like this.
Modern & minimalist. Functional & adaptable.
The Beacon Academy offers state-of-the-art facilities–basketball court, classrooms, auditorium…
…and fitness centre too!
The spacious hallways with floor to ceiling glass panels & windows allow air to circulate.
I posted this photo on Instagram during my visit. Can you believe this is a school? If I were studying here, you’ll most likely find me in this spot reading or writing.
Parth, one of the students of Beacon Academy warmly welcomed us around the campus. He showed us the fish bowl–a meeting room that students can use anytime to either meet with their teachers or finish a project with fellow students.
Laboratory complete with all the necessary tools one needs to conduct an experiment.
Visual Arts Gallery
Probably my favorite part of the campus is the visual arts gallery. The spacious corner serves to hold exhibits and other school-wide activities. I can only imagine the natural light coming from that floor to ceiling glass wall every morning, I suddenly feel inspired to paint or get artsy! But the short span I was there, an OOTD had sufficed! 😉
There are so many areas with a view of nature.
The Beacon Academy takes learning outside the classroom, literally. When you walk around the campus you’ll see notes posted with words in Filipino and English– a great way to encourage kids to be bilingual. After all the Academy is a proudly Filipino-founded school and they make it a point to demonstrate the best aspects of Filipino ethos in their campus life, values, and cultural orientation.
The study hall is open for students who want to consult with any of the teachers of The Beacon Academy. They’re welcome to schedule a consultation in between or after class as long as the teacher is available.
The Academy thrives on small class sizes with a max of 15-20 student in a class. This guarantees that every student has a chance to speak, be heard, and take part. The school believes in no one being left behind. If there’s one thing that parents want for their kids, it’s definitely inclusion. And when a school gives importance to each individual, you know you’re child’s in the right hands. And during my visit, it was very evident that collaborative learning and the importance of dialogue are practiced in order for students to be comfortable in expressing themselves.
We sat through a few classes during our visit. Here I was with a fellow parent observing and the first thing I noticed is the engagement between the teacher and students. The teacher encourages the students by asking open-ended questions most of the students gladly answered.
The Beacon Academy students studying physics through Hotwheels. How cool is that? And this is not even a club, it’s one of the mandatory subjects the school offers. If I had this kind of learning when I was younger, I would’ve pursued my love for science. 😀
Aside from learning the theory and fundamentals of music, music class also encourages students to perform with their chosen musical instruments. They’re literally applying what they learned.
The Academy attracts some of the brightest minds of the country and offers one of the fastest growing high school scholarship programs in the area. The Academy’s Scholarship Program, which is both full and partial, is not just on academic merit but also on creative excellence, athletic achievement, and leadership & community service. Currently 20% of the school population are part of this unique scholarship program. Becoming a BA scholar is an achievement in itself.
DISCUSSION BASED LEARNING
Round table discussion-based learning is an integral part of academics in the Academy. Students come to class having read the day’s assignments and they all sit in a round table to learn and discuss with each other. The teacher is just a facilitator who is there to mildly guide the questions if needed, but oftentimes it’s the students who take the lead. Learning through discussion is learning through genuine understanding. Memorization and mindless homework are not required at the Beacon Academy.
The parents who visited the Academy participated in our own discussion-based learning. The session gave us a feel of what it’s like to be a student of the Academy. We were given a poem to analyze and it only took us a few minutes to come up with an idea of what the poem is about. I gotta say poetry isn’t really my thing because I find it draining to analyze but dissecting it with other people made it easier and definitely more interesting. It allowed us to throw our thoughts & ideas to further dialogue. Doing our own discussion-based learning convinced me even more that it’s such an effective way to learn. If all schools do this, we’ll probably have more open-minded and opinionated children.
We ended the tour with a quick Q&A with the Beacon Academy Student Council.
Here are the individuals that make up Beacon Academy Student Council. Seeing these young people confidently talk to a handful of parents about the many reasons why they like going to the Academy is enough proof of how interesting and more fun school has become for them.
Many of the clubs and organizations in the school are student led with the students taking charge of their own projects for the year. The Academy is built in a way that encourages students to take initiative and become leaders.
COMMUNITY & CITIZENSHIP
The projects of the 10th grader are all very inspiring. Some are technology driven that can help solve some of our country’s issues and some are simple yet enough to make a difference in other people’s lives. Aaaah this suddenly made me miss school! I hope these projects will soon be put out there for the benefit of our country and people.
Here’s Parth showing us where the Beacon Academy graduates are currently at. They get accepted into some of the most prestigious colleges and universities locally and abroad. Here is their current list of acceptances: http://www.beaconacademy.ph/academics/collegeanduniversity/
Mish of Momman N’ Manila & I candidly caught chatting as we share our learning for the day.
Beacon believes that its students don’t need to fit into a mold. It encourages diversity and creates an environment where students are invited to ask questions, challenge the norm, and oftentimes come to their own answers and beliefs. This is my main take away from my visit. According to the students, they practically know each other even if they’re not in the same grade level. For them the Academy is the place where they’re comfortable to express & learn about themselves, it’s where they learn to trust themselves and build trust with others.
I don’t know if it’s the breezy air, open space, wide corridors, state of the art facilities or the students & faculty themselves who make Beacon Academy such an inviting institution of learning. I guess it’s all of the above. As the testimonies of the students who are currently studying there, it’s the community that sets the Academy apart from other schools. The intimacy of the community is far from intimidating and it leaves no room for exclusion.
The Beacon Academy is a non-profit, non-secular high school (for grades 9-12) aiming to make a difference to the country. Applications for Sy 2017-2018 are currently being accepted. If you think your child will thrive at the Academy, feel free to contact them and schedule a tour of the green campus so you can learn more about them.