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While different schools follow various learning approaches, one preschool in the city of Manila stepped up to adhere to their “no gadget rule” for their students. Maya Forest Preschool Manila, a nature-based, play-based, and the first “forest” educational institution in the Philippines, came up with unique activity kits that can help forward children’s learning without relying too much on screen time.
One of the school’s advocacies is to devote a chunk of their students’ time outdoors, with activities such as storytelling, eating, and learning forest skills like starting a fire or putting up a tent. They also encourage kids to be away from their gadgets so that they can focus on honing their verbal, social, and fine motor skills.
But when the pandemic hit, the school realized that they weren’t equipped for an online class. So, owner and directress Beia Santos, along with the other teachers, quickly came up with an idea: “How about we send the forest home to each individual home?”
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They crafted the Forest Kit, an activity box that they send to their students twice a month and filled with dynamic learning materials to cover their curriculum. For example, one kit contains soil, rocks, wooden blocks, plus other tools for arts and crafts and sensory play.
“Each kit has a different theme and each level also has a different theme,” Beia explains. “We tackle the nature curriculum, literacy, self-help, art, science, and motor skills. We try to veer from the regular worksheets or just pen and paper activities that are sent home usually.”
The school emphasizes that all the activities are hands-on, experiential, and it allows parents to bond and play with their kids. The goal of the kit is to continue the forest preschool experience at home, without putting additional “teaching” burden to the parents.
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“We made it in such a way that is ‘do when able.’ Show us your pictures (of the assigned activities) when you are ready,” Beia says. “Learning still does take place.”
Curious about the forest preschool experience? Watch the video below and get ideas on how you can take the outdoors inside your home.
You can avail of a trial kit for Php2,500 for all levels. For more information on Maya Forest Preschool, visit their Facebook page @mayaforestpreschool, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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