The ‘living testimonies’– when preschoolers reach adulthood
A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven (The Philippine Star) - March 28, 2019 - 12:00am

(Last Part of “Recognizing The True Nature of Preschoolers…”)

This is the last of a series of three articles recalling the “hidden treasures” of our underprivileged Operation Brotherhood Pagsasarili preschoolers in different parts of Manila and Pampanga, who constantly acquire maximum competencies two to three years in advance of students from traditional schools. 

Tramo, Pasay

Dave John F. Crucena is one of four siblings who all attended the Pagsasarili Preschool in Tramo, Pasay City. His father is a tricycle driver and his mother is a housewife. A quiet student who spoke Tagalog at home, he gradually learned to speak English – the medium of instruction at Pagsasarili. He remembers fondly doing the Dressing Frames (especially the shoelaces), the Pouring Exercises, Laundering, and other Practical Life activities. He shares, “learning is not just by reading books and memorizing but it can be FUN using many materials.” Keeping busy became a lifetime habit. At Southeastern College, he finished grade school as 1st Honorable Mention and was a Principal Lister throughout his high school. He finished BS Information System at Mapua University, and he is now an associate software engineer, facilitating trainings in the field of IT at Accenture.

San Martin De Porres, Cubao

Marvi Daza’s parents owned a sari-sari store in San Martin de Porres, Cubao. Their income from the store was insufficient to support a family of four, forcing Mrs. Daza to become an OFW to fulfill her desire of getting the best education for their children. Before she left, she made sure that they were enrolled in the Pagsasarili Preschool. Marvi was very shy using minimal words to interact with her classmates. She would work silently with the Pouring Exercises and enjoyed, most of all, the Movable Alphabet Box. She worked freely with Math numeration and the Geography Puzzle Maps. She finally gained confidence and independence, enjoying housekeeping chores and helping her father look after the family store. Marvi was granted a scholarship at Stella Maris College from grade school to high school. She later graduated cum laude in BS Psychology at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Currently, she is a human resources staff handling compensation and benefits for employees of Hitachi Elevator Philippines. She credits her ability to make decisions independently to the ‘do-it-yourself’ practice in the Pagsasarili Preschool.

EFA-Dakar Public School, Angeles

Aldrin Flores was enrolled from preschool to Grade 6 at the EFA-Dakar Pilot Project in the Angeles Elementary School, Pampanga. Second among four children, his father worked as a carpenter and his mother a housewife. Aldrin was an average student who loved working with advanced math materials, like the Board of Powers with colorful beads in chains for the concept of squaring, and the cubing of numbers. These materials developed his mathematical mind. 

With the meager income of his parents, Aldrin offered to do errands for his relatives in exchange for his baon. At the age of 14, he collected kalakal (scraps) to sell at a junk shop to earn extra money for his family. At one time, his parents could no longer send him to school and asked him to stop studying to give way to his younger siblings. Although this was tough for him, he still managed to finish high school by getting a summer job as an assistant carpenter and painter at EFA-Dakar. He also saved enough to take BS Criminology at Holy Angel University where he presently works as a school messenger. Despite being a working student, Aldrin maintains his standing as a Dean’s Lister.  He is graduating this year.

Bagong Barrio, Caloocan

Denise Fe Capacio-Lirio spent two years in the Pagsasarili School in Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City. She was immediately accepted for Grade 1 at Bagong Barrio Elementary School, where she finished Grade 6 as the salutatorian. Then she earned a high school scholarship at Salvador Araneta Memorial Institute, graduating as 1st Honorable Mention with eight academic awards. She is a certified public accountant (studied in UST) and later passed the Bar exams in 2004. At present, she is the legal manager for Chinabank.

West Crame, San Juan

Jayvee Vagilidad was a quiet and shy student. Inspired to work with Language materials, he mastered the sounds of letters, began printing letters, and eventually learned to read independently. Jayvee enrolled for elementary and high school in the nearby public school. His teachers admired how responsible he was with his schoolwork, never missing to submit his assignments. It was this same determination that earned him a cum laude honor with a degree in Business Management from Jose Rizal University. But he surprised everyone when he suddenly decided to enter Christ the King Seminary after a year. His mother was expecting him to help finance the schooling of his two younger siblings but his calling to serve the church prevailed. Later this year, Jayvee will be ordained in Tagaytay as an SVD priest. 

John Matthew Muñoz was a tall good-looking boy and a soldier’s son. He was initially talkative and quarrelsome. During a confrontation, he would never run out of excuses in defense of his self. The Dressing Frames like shoe lacing and ribbon tying helped settle him down and developed his competence in work. Snack time was a joyful interlude when together with a classmate they wore aprons to be little servers/waiters after helping set the table. It was no surprise when he earned a scholarship in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the College of Saint Benilde. Soon after graduation, when his father died of kidney malfunction, his mother had to sell RTW dresses and slippers in West Crame to add to the pension she was receiving from the Army. Fortunately, Matthew now works as a chef in a cruise ship and his mother stopped selling for a living.

Sarah Jane Samalca was a cute, petite girl with long, thick hair and brown complexion. She was soft-spoken and lacked confidence. Her teacher, Ms. Joji Dellosa, offered the Decimal Beads from unit to thousand and the Moveable Alphabet for word composition. These materials developed her order, refinement of movement, and concentration at work. This early practical training served her well as she went on to acquire a medical degree. Today she is a doctor specializing in Pediatrics at UERMMC (University of the East - Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center). 

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