Street Smart


It may be relatively new but it's undoubtedly special and a cut above other first schools in the metro.

I'm referring to a cool preschool named 9th Avenue in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, whose slogan is "Progressive Learning for Academic Yearners or PLAY." Its unusual name was acually based on its location. "We want to make sure that nobody forgets where we are," says Marilou Zalamea-Acero, one of the founders of 9th Avenue, and the school's administrative manager.

Just what makes the 9th Avenue School delightfully different? Well, it was planned, established, and is being run by veteran educators. Zalamea-Acero says she and co-founders Ina Syquia and Tiffany Yu "conceptualized the school to solely cater to families with the hope that fellow teachers will join us in this endeavor as partners. It's like a "firm" of teachers providing early childhood education to families. To support the objective of helping families, we also provide in-house workshops for parents and caregivers (yayas)."

What's more, the educators teach through play. Their belief is that play is the child's means of discovery, communication, and of self-expression.

Another standout feature is the school's pro-environment advocacy and how educators involve children and parents in their green projects.

"We hope to advocate being eco-friendly at 9th Avenue School. As an initial step, our first effort was to repurpose materials and use them in our school surroundings such as our show racks (made of cardboard), bench and fences (from wood scraps), mailboxes (from soda bottles), chandelier (from metal pails) and an alphabet wall (made of paper mache and embellished by scraps found at home). We also use less paper for forms and circulars by going entirely electronic through emails for our reports and letters," explains Zalamea-Acero.

She relates that with their students, the teachers make it a point to instill their responsibility to Mother Nature. "Just recently, the class theme was about trees and plants. The students planted tiny seeds into recycled plastic bottles and witnessed Mother Nature at work as the seeds developed stems and leaves. These greens now brighten up the glass facade of our school. We extended this theme to their families too by having a tree-planting activity for our family day event. Our students, their parents, and their siblings had the chance to get all soiled up as they laid down roots for a greener city. …

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