Education plays an active part in all the programs of Bukas Palad Foundation. Knowing that 0-6 years are the formative years of the child, the Social Center encouraged early childhood education to its community. In cooperation with another NGO, Interaide and New Families Movement of the Focolare in Europe, community learning centers were established.
The teachers are mothers and young women from the community, given training to be able to teach. Some of them did not reach higher education, but they are dedicated to the children who learn at their pace under their supervision.
In 1988, after the work of preparing two (2) communities and training of paraprofessional teachers by the Community of Learners Foundation, the community based schools were opened in Tramo, Pasay and Tambo, Paranaque. These community bases schools commits to make available the same progressive, quality early childhood education to as many poor children as possible and through them, to reach out to their parents and families. Involving them/giving those opportunities to learn and grow as better parents.
What has been done
- Community is convinced of the need for Early Childhood Education because they saw the improvement in their children compared to those who have not received early childhood education.
- The Philosophy of Education is better understood at present.
- Participation of the parents has improved in the activities provided for them such as Parents Education Meetings, Workshops, assisting/observing in the classrooms, Family Days, Community Days, etc.
- Parents are responding more and more to their responsibilities for the program. They offered volunteer work such as helping BP personnel with the washing of the dishes, cleaning the restrooms, dishing out food, etc.
- Committed to the five (5) aspects of development of the child. Part of the services provided are:
- Well – Baby: regular check-up and those who need further help are referred to where they can get assistance in the local government and other agencies.
- Nutrition Program: for malnourished children
- TB Program
- Dental and Medical Missions
- Hospitals and Clinics: collaborators of Bukas Palad Medical Services
- Moving-up days are better understood. Learning and development of the child are given more importance.
- Children coming to school are clean and well-dressed but comfortable clothes for playing and learning in the center.
- The beauty of each child are shown through their simplicity during Moving-up days, Christmas Party, Community Days, and other gatherings of Bukas Palad. The parents understood that the measurement of a child’s development and status are not based on dressing their child extravagant fancy clothes.
- The Social Center discourages parents to present gifts to the teachers. Instead, they are being encouraged to write letters, informing the Social Center of their child’s development and progress in school, home, and community.
- Giving birthday parties for children in school is discouraged. Inequality, among them could be emphasized by this practice. The Social Center established an organization culture where singing songs and card making for the celebrant is their form of celebration.
Motivation for the Personnel
- Love is what pushes them to teach. Mutual Love as basis of action. Fruit of this is a learning atmosphere that helps and makes the children love to learn. Without speaking about Jesus and love, the children already receives Jesus and learns how to love. This too is the basis for the catechism.
- Work is done as Will of God and not just as a “job”. The fruit is that teacher budgets time to be able to do work well when teaching. Assisting, preparing for class and doing other work, related to teaching. Teachers acquired the holistic way of working which is concerned not only with the child inside the classroom but also of their family and community.
- Recognizes every child as little Jesus to be loved having Mary as the model when she took care of Jesus when He was a child. A help to overcome prejudices and favoritism.
- Committed to the welfare of the child. Though work is difficult and demands more time, patience, efforts, and creativity; teachers overcome all of these because they focused on the welfare of their students.
- The Ideal taught by Chiara Lubich through the spiritual formations conducted by the Focolore Movement, encourages the teachers to overcome their limitations because of their desire to love Jesus in them.