A PHILOSOPHY is born out of nature and nurture. Some fifty-one years ago an Irish-American teacher married to a Filipino, saw herself both as a creature and a creator of an institution of higher learning in the Philippines with the mission and vision of discovering and developing the Filipino child to his fullest potential among others.
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 229 of February 19, 2000, February 19 of each year is observed as Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Day. This year is the 114th birth anniversary of this Filipino martyr and hero of World War II. His nationalism and idealism have been immortalized in print and music, streets and institutions. This article brings to the fore how an institution named after him, Jose Abad Santos Memorial School, has evolved a child development philosophy which came to be known as the JASMS Way, truly Filipino as Jose Abad Santos; propelled by the ideal for which he gave his life as well as the virtues he exemplified as Chief Justice and head of state during one of the most difficult periods in Philippine history.
Doreen Barber Gamboa as principal of the Philippine Women's University Elementary Department in 1949 in Indiana, Malate and later in 1958 in its then new sprawling campus in Quezon City in the middle of what was then new subdivision communities, was imbued with the passion to provide an alternative approach to basic education of Filipino children even as she was impressed by their ability to grasp the rudiments of reading and writing in English as their second language. She must have thought that beyond these abilities were more latent potentials in the Filipino child that could still make a greater difference in higher development.
It is, therefore, a child development philosophy born out of manifested and observed abilities of Filipino children rather than a dissatisfaction about existing paradigms - in essence, developmentally progressive and innovative. The conviction is that a lot more potentials remain untapped in Filipino children which if unleashed would spell a distinctive feature of child development.
It is not the intent of this article to answer the question of what is the JASMS way as a Philippine rooted Child Development Philosophy. The more than 50 years of experimentation and documentation have been converted into learning modules for pre-school, nursery, kindergarten and from Grades I-VII. The modules reflect the interactive roles among teachers, pupils, parents, school administrators and the immediate school community in the learning process. Instruments have been developed to enable these different stakeholders in the child's development to monitor what happens to both the child's strengths and weaknesses in the course of a variety of learning experiences within and outside classrooms. Instruments provide flash points on roles expected of stakeholders to re-enforce desired results. The JASMS approach is anchored on discovery and learning, freedom of spirit, preferences and choices, understanding and appreciating oneself and others, acceptance of diversity and differences, ultimately balanced development and growth.
The purpose of this article is to provide an insight on how this child development philosophy becomes homegrown and Filipino in nature and essence and which separates it from the sophistication of child development techniques which originated in other countries and transferred to the Philippines, often with an elitist stance. Here are some features to reckon with: (1) Culture Learning; (2) Borderless experience; (3) Inter-relationship oriented; (4) Participatory learning; (5) Self-generated sanctions; (6) Mold-less standards; (7) Leadership/Followership; (8) Creativity/Innovation; (9) Learning to learn and (10) Spiritual Intelligence.
1. Culture Learning.
It must be recalled that Doreen Gamboa, an IrishAmerican with a Filipino husband, raised her family in the …