The word “progressive” signifies that something is newer, better adapted to the times than whatever it is being compared against.
These days, the idea of sending children to a “progressive school”, understandably, is something some parents might still be hesitant to subscribe to, given that the term might make it sound like some fad method. Why, after all, would a parent take a chance with a new approach, when they themselves went through a more traditional educational setup, and turned out fine anyway?
In Britesparks International School (BIS), one of the pioneer progressive schools in the country, “progressive” is more than just giving up traditional practices for the sake of novelty: it is the recognition that education must adapt to the times, must evolve alongside the society it is preparing children to enter in the future.
“A traditional setup will not digest that some children may be naturally gifted in some aspects, and not as gifted in others. But there has to be a place that can see that potential in children, and that is Britesparks,” said Veronica Co, School President of BIS.
When BIS opened back in 2000, it was not yet the complete institution it is today. The institution began as a preschool for gifted children, the first of its kind with the drive to accommodate and include students with special needs in their usual classes.
Through the years, the school expanded its range of programs, eventually taking on elementary and high school students as well, while still keeping this advocacy of inclusiveness. The move to its current location in 2013 in Metropoli Drive, Bagumbayan was fairly recent, but such was a significant one which coincided with its increased capabilities.
Today, BIS accepts preschool to senior high school students, with its subject curricula complying with various local and international education standards: its Math and English are consistent with Common Core, a set of teaching standards used in over forty states in the US; its Science, ICT, Art and Music, and even French curricula are consistent with various other international school standards; and its Social Studies and Filipino methods fully comply with DepEd standards.
True to its progressive nature, however, BIS does not simply stop there: the institution recognizes the immense value of a child’s social development, which must occur alongside his academic development.
The focus of the school’s methods is on the child, not the teacher: children learn through experience, collaborating through a wide range of constantly updated activities and projects which may cover multiple subjects at a time, consistent with the interconnectedness with which we process information around us today; a group project about cooking food can be an English, a Science, and a History lesson, all at the same time, as well as a subtler nudge toward the benefits of working together for something much more difficult to achieve by one’s lonesome.
When taken in the context of the school’s inclusive policy, it is no wonder that BIS students grow to be more tolerant and less discriminatory of those around them.
“I’m proud of the fact that our students do not discriminate or bully those who are special. It’s really different; the children are so well-rounded and enlightened at times, you’ll be surprised,” said Co.
“Progressive” might sound vague, but go back to its roots—just like BIS, in all its approaches, has always anchored itself on its long-standing policies of inclusiveness and experiential learning—and we find a more concrete term, one that every parent wants in their child: progress.
This is something BIS aims to deliver in all aspects, to ensure that the children of today grow into individuals fully prepared to face the challenges of the present and the future.
Britesparks International School classes start on August 1. For more information, visit www.britesparks.edu.ph or contact (02) 966-8120.