We did not consider sending the little one to a big school as we find them too traditional. Instead, we went to 4 preschools around the area to check which ones would closely match our criteria. The following are what we were looking for:
- Must be less than 30-minute travel from our place.
- Holds classes in the morning.
- Little to no homework.
- Clean and safe school grounds.
- Small teacher-student ratio.
- Teaching method.
First stop, Little Explorers Montessori School in San Pedro, Laguna. The school is owned by a duly qualified Montessori instructor who trained and worked in the UK. They offer 3 preschool levels; namely, Casa 1, 2 and 3 which are the equivalent of Nursery, Kinder, Prep in most schools. All of their classes are only held in the morning, from 9 – 11 am. The school is small. Parents and nannies are not allowed to stay on the premises during school hours. They do not give homework, which is very good. They also believe that kids should spend more time playing at home instead of doing more school work. They have around 5 – 7 kids per class. What impressed me the most, apart from their tuition fees that cost less than 40K per year, is that they customize their curriculum depending on the child’s needs. As for the classrooms, I think they need to upgrade the furniture and the materials a bit. The wooden toys looked like they have been used for years already. The place needed a bit of tidying up. To be fair, though, classes were ongoing when we visited the place. Overall, I would give this school a rating of 5/7.
Next, we went to Alpha Angelicum Academy in Binan. This is the school that big sister China went to from Kinder to 4th year high. What I loved about it is that this is the only progressive school in the area that we can afford. Their school fees cost around 55K per year, inclusive of snacks. They have around 15 kids per class. Classes for the Kinder level are held in the afternoons. It’s been several years since I’ve last been here, I was surprised to see that they now have a lot of students. The place has gotten a bit crowded. I’d say I would give this school a rating of 5/7.
The third school we went to was Montessori Children’s House of Brentville. The owners have a chain of schools in Laguna. The head teacher was trained in the US. Among all schools that we’ve been to, this is the most costly. Their school fees cost around 60 – 65K per year. However, I can see that the classrooms are very conducive to learning. Student – teacher ratio is 12 – 1. They have an assistant teacher that helps out with student requests and booboos. All Kinder classes are held in the morning. What I like about them is that kids are free to wear any trousers they want. They can also wear sneakers or sandals and are not required to wear black shoes. I’d rate them 6/7.
Lastly, we went to Holy Rosary College in Kanluran, Sta. Rosa. We spoke with the teacher and she didn’t seem ready to answer the questions we had listed for her. They are very traditional. Even the way the classroom was arranged reminded me of our classrooms back in the day. Their school fees are at the 30 – 40K range. This is the nearest school to our place. I’d rate them 5/7.
After the ocular visits, we have decided to send Matty to a Montessori school. We had him take an entrance exam and we were very pleased with the results. Most of his classmates already know how to read, therefore the teacher recommended that he join a summer class for reading readiness.
Finally, we’re all set for preschool 🙂
Related: Getting Ready for Preschool (Part 1)