Choosing the best school for your kids - whether for a brick and mortar school or deciding to homeschool - is one of the important decisions all parents make. And with so many competing schools out there with different approaches and teaching methods, it is daunting to even start writing a list.
We have been officially homeschooling since 2014 and last homeschool year was a drag. There were so many mishaps and frustration crawled every so often. I almost gave up homeschooling. In fact, I started looking for private schools around Quezon City.
And if we were to stop homeschooling and enroll the kids to a non-traditional school, I will seriously consider Benedictine International School and their Systems Thinking approach to educating children. Read more to know why.
About Benedictine International School (BIS)
Founded in June 2000, BIS was established on the philosophy that relevant education is a product of adaptation to the demands of the time and the corresponding new approaches that can be applied in the delivery of such education.
The school was granted recognition to operate for Kindergarten, Grade School, Junior High School and Senior High school departments by the Department of Education.
As a learning institution, BIS commits to develop 21stcentury learners equipped with the 5 C’s:
COMMITMENT - Dedication to the choices one makes, desired future, and life-long learning
COMPETENCE – Understanding of the nature of systems thru critical thinking and the utilization of the necessary tools and habits
CARE – The awareness of self in others, which translates to empathy and stewardship of nature
CONFIDENCE – The capacity to develop personal mastery in terms of managing emotions and in facing challenges and innovations
COMMUNICATION – The ability to engage well in constructive and collaborative communication
Mommy Bloggers Day
We were invited by BIS last week for a school tour and a Systems Thinking workshop. I had no idea what the workshop was but I reckon it would be a great opportunity for a field trip with the kids. Kuya V has not stepped inside any of the regular schools before, he has been to a learning center only. I thought this would be a learning opportunity for both me and the kids.
|Kuya V and Ate Z working on their coloring sheets|
At the workshop, we were asked to meter our mood, build a tower out of pasta, and had a read-aloud session with the kids. All these activities relate to the core of BIS as a learning institution, utilizing Systems Thinking and Socio Emotional Learning.
|Kuya V joined the mood meter activtiy|
|With mommy bloggers Mhownai, Lally, and Eidra to create our tower made out of pasta, marshmallow and adhesive tapes|
|Read-aloud activity with the kids|
We brought along a number of kids with us and the administration and faculty of the school had to make quick changes in the line-up of activities that afternoon. They are indeed living up to their mission as a learning organization ready to continuously learn and grow.
Systems Thinking and Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL)
There are several meanings of Systems Thinking over the internet but to simplify, it is loosely defined as a way of thinking that sees the bigger picture. Not as individual parts but as how the parts of a system interact with each other. This helps a child to be more critical and emphatic as he makes responsible choices. With adequate training and exposure, Systems Thinking can help increase the chance of a child's personal success.
Systems Thinking is not something new. It can be applied to every day life and each decision-making.
Systems Thinking “integrates the various parts of the system in a way that maximizes organizational effectiveness… The discipline of systems thinking provides a different way of looking at problems and goals not as isolated events but as components of larger structures.” - Peter Senge, an American scientist and MIT Senior Lecturer, Author and Founding Chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SOL),
In every room at BIS there was a chart for Systems Thinking. The chart being used by younger kids are different with the older kids. The charts were designed in such a way for them to better understand how they should practice Systems Thinking.
|Systems Learning Chart for younger kids. Understanding the big picture.|
A great reminder for all kids (and adults, too!)
Critical thinking is one of the many competencies I want my children to master. Critical thinking is not enough, though. Needless to say, their emotional intelligence is on top of the list.
BIS wants to prepare their students to the demands of life and be movers of society hence the need for a balance between critical thinking and emotional stability.
As one of its programs, BIS has been offering SEL to its students and teachers since 2009. Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) is a systematic classroom teaching of emotional intelligence. This program is an additional to the curriculum for handling life which includes improving self-awareness, managing emotions, increasing empathy and cooperation, developing responsible decision-making skills and building relationships.
One of their daily SEL activity is the meter mode wherein all students are asked to identify and present at the chart what their current emotions are. I found this a really great activity, specially for young kids, who are not expressive (or just too shy) of what they truly feel. By doing this simple activity, the child would feel wanted and acknowledged by the people he is with. It is a great tool to help a child get through with his emotional state.
|Senior Highschool Room|
|English Resource Center|
All classrooms in BIS are equipped with LCD projectors, white screen, and airconditioned. Noticed how the chairs were arranged? These are all aligned to Systems Thinking - students are active participants in the learning process and teachers are not just there to teach but to facilitate the learning experience.
Benedictine International School is a small school with a ratio of 25 students per class. The very place makes it feel like a one big happy family. My kids enjoyed their stay that afternoon and so grateful for the teachers who took turns to watch over them so we could participate fully.
From the furniture to equipment, to approach and training, all are aligned to their approach. They are the only Systems Thinking school in the country and how they help their students to deal with real life inside and outside the campus is admirable.
Apart from critical thinking through their implementation of Systems Thinking, I am very much impressed with how the school handles the emotional intelligence of their students. I mean, academics is great but for children to learn how to be self-aware and deal with their emotions are some of the reasons why we homeschool. Most schools don't do that.
And with them, I genuinely felt their care towards their students.
When we asked them if there were any instances of bullying in the school, I believed them when they said there's none. And I think I know it is because of their approach through Systems Thinking and Socio Emotional Learning. Children are aware of themselves and of the people around them making them more emphatic to others.
We do not know yet as to when we will homeschool, we take it one school year at a time. But if ever we would go down that route and enroll any of the kids to a progressive school, BIS would be on top of my list.
|Mommy Bloggers with the Administation and Faculty of Benedictine International School|
For more information about BENEDICTINE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL:
Location: Old Balara, Quezon City
Landline: (+632) 951.7454 | 951.7154
Landline: (+632) 951.7454 | 951.7154