I remember that I went to preschool only because it was a requirement in ICA, my mom says. It's still a requirement until now - but when you count the acceptance age of big schools now - they've moved another year up because of the K-12. So that got me and my improved mathematical skills to compute what age/year, Kailee should attend pre-school - below is my rough analysis derived from the ICA website:
SY 2014 - 2015
July 1, 2008 to October 2009
SY 2015 - 2016
July 1, 2009 to October 2010
SY 2016 - 2017
July 1, 2010 to October 2011
July 1, 2011 to October 2012
Based on the information above - Kailee needs to be in pre-school a year before her intended school year which is SY 2016 - 2017, so that will be SY 2015 -2015. So that means, I am on the right track IF I want Kailee to attend just a year in pre-school.
I think, I wrote about this already - my friend who teaches in ICA nursery said that Kailee just needs to be able to know letters, numbers, shapes and colors. Writing is a plus, so I can teach her that. I asked if Kailee needed to know Chinese - she said its a PLUS but its okay even if there is no background. My friend suggested that I start Kailee in preschool by the summer of 2015, so she can get the hang of a school structure) - I took her advice to heart, and I am following it now.
So my search for a pre-school led me to EduPlay School Manila.
I learned of this school through my cousin, Jenova. She used to be a pre-school teacher in YLC and I thought, she would be the better person to suggest a school. Jen mentioned EduPlay because it was a bit nearer to me compared to the more popular pre-schools in the area, plus the current owners were also the owners of the closed down YLC. She also knew the teachers there because they were her colleagues in YLC. So I researched on it and found their website. I navigated the page for a while, looking at pictures and reading through the texts.
I finally had the courage to call to ask for a trial class last Thursday. I spoke to Teacher Trisha, and she asked for some basic details like how old Kailee was and etc. She then told me that I would receive a text/call from Teacher Pie because Kailee will be in the 3 year old class. A few minutes later I got a text from Teacher Pie that I can join them the following day - class starts at 8:30am and ends in 11:30am. When I got that text, I immediately told Kailee. She was excited, while I - I think I was more nervous. Hahaha!! That whole afternoon, Kailee was excited and telling everyone that she was going to school the next day. Kailee obliged to sleep early since we would be waking up very early the next day.
So last Friday was very different for me. For the first time since 2003 (that was the time I finished my language course in Beijing), I had to wake up very early. I had to be awake by 6am, but then I snoozed and woke up at 6:30am! Shoot! I was hurrying waking up Kailee. It wasn't hard waking her up, I told her that she needed to wake up to go to school, she just told me 'Mama, I'm still sleepy'. Then I transferred her to the kids room so her yaya can help her dress up and get ready, while I get ready myself. After a few minutes, I was ready - and then I heard crying. I went to the kids room and found Kailee still dressed in her jammies and crying. She was saying 'I don't want to go to schoo!' over and over again. Melt down. Yikes! I felt instant panic, what ran through my head was 'Should I text Teacher Pie to inform her that Kailee will be missing her class today?' but then something inside me just told me to hell with it, if I needed to drag her out of bed, I will! And so I spoke to her - but nothing I said comforted her and made her change her mind. It was the brilliant one liner of Yaya Belen that made all the difference yesterday, she said to Kailee 'Kailee, there's a playground in school!' and when Kailee heard it, it was as if she didn't have a melt down. She raced to the bathroom to change and after a few minutes exclaimed to everyone in the room 'I'm ready to go to school!. Thank goodness for the fast thinking of Yaya Belen.
We got to the school a bit early. Actually I really made sure to go early, so Kailee can get a feel of the school. When we entered the compound, I was impressed with the space and then I saw the playground. I'm sure Kailee saw it too because she asked pointing to the playground 'Is that playground for me?' Hahaha - I said it was for all the kids in school. So we went down the car and walked up the stairs. When I pulled aside the sliding door, Kailee froze while holding my had. She froze and didn't want to move. I'm sure one would assume that there were so many kids, that's why she froze - sorry to disappoint you but there was only one girl there and a teacher. Maybe it was the new environment? Mind you, Kailee didn't cry nor was she in a tantrum, she was just very quiet and careful with her actions. We sat down on the bench and just watched the rest of the kids come in (since we were early.
There I met Teacher Pie. Teacher Pie is really nice and very cheery. She knew how to engage the kids, every kid at that. She knew what each kid wanted to play - I'm impressed. Imagine, for the whole 15minutes or so that we were seated on the bench, Teacher Pie made sure she struck up conversation with each child. I guess it comes with the title - a preschool teacher.
The time came for all of the kids to go into the classroom. They were told to fall in line - one line for girls and another for boys. Here's Kailee following instructions.
Kailee then followed the rest of the kids into their classroom. I like how organized the classroom is. Kailee was a bit lost because she was just standing unlike the other kids who immediately put their bags into their cubby holes. Kailee was assisted naman, then she chose a spot in the table and sat down. She was really well behaved. Here's a video that I took.
Teacher Pie was helping Kailee settle in and I caught them having a chat
I knew I couldn't stand outside the room the whole time, so I came back from time to time to check on Kailee. She seems to be doing well so I left her alone and waited. It's nice that they have a schedule of the day posted near the glass door. Makes me somehow kampante (settled) of what they're doing:
Here's a glimpse of Kailee listening intently to her Chinese teacher! I was so proud when I saw her participate in class!
Overall, I was very happy with Eduplay - the school fit all of my criteria except one tiny detail. The distance - it took us 45minutes to get to San Juan because I went all experimenting on the route. But I know that it will only take 30 minutes as the most to reach the school. Going home it took is only 20 minutes.
The place is clean - even if it was an old house (I really liked the old Spanish feel of the house) the whole place was freshly painted and felt like new! The classrooms were labelled clearly. The toys were clean too. And by the bench - there were tissue rolls for everyone's consumption. I have to say that I really liked that they made tissue available for everyone to use. Aircon was cold and the place is quiet and peaceful, each classroom had their own thing. The compound is very spacious - so is the old house and the classrooms.
When it came to go home, I waited for Kailee and e so I witnessed all the other students from the different levels come out first. The teachers were holding clear plastic envelopes and handing them to the parents and yayas who were fetching the kids. They talked to each fetcher and updating them on what was done that day. I found that really nice - is it normal? I hope so! Because I would like to know what my child did that day.
When Kailee came out - she was funny. She didn't notice that I was on the bench waiting for her. When her teacher pointed me she just looked at me and smiled and proceeded to the play area to play! Hahaha.. She already forgot about me. I was then approached by Teacher Pie and she said that Kailee was very good in class because she was already participating in the activities. Kailee didn't have a hard time adjusting to the group. I was very happy and proud when I heard this because I was initially afraid that Kailee would resist the 'authority' of the teachers but she didn't. Teacher Pie pointed out that Kailee knew how to listen to instructions because she was able to follow what the teachers were making her do. Kailee was also participating in their unit study of letter and numbers.
So there, last Friday was a tiring but very fruitful day for Kailee and me. I had to adjust to a new schedule and I think that it was sort of an eye opener and a glimpse of the things to come. I may need to wake up earlier than usual and figure out a schedule if I should wait for Kailee or go home. Decisions, decisions. Hahaha!!
Thank you EduPlay - for having a trial class of my Kailee. We both had a wonderful time. I am very much impressed with the school, the teachers, and the feel of the school. I hope that my Panget will feel the same way!!
P.S. I saw Kailee's classmate in swimming class, the very brave and cute Dresden!
EduPlay School Manila
Ledesma Street, M. Paterno
San Juan City