Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

The hunt for Pre-school (last and final!)


It was with those words in mind that I checked on the Cambridge School, British School and Maria Montessori.

The schools have relatively similar scholar fees (+/-1000 $ a year, exclusive of material and uniforms). They are 1 ride max from our condo, have less than 20 kids per class and last but not least, are not religious.

But unfortunately, I met with people who seemed much more interested in achieving performances than in awakening joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Don’t let you fool by the pretentious names : Cambridge School has nothing to do with Cambridge but follows the Singapore curriculum. British School does not have any British teacher nor has any of its teacher studied in the UK. Don’t get me wrong, I would be far better off with a good Cebuano teacher than with an average Brit. It is just that the titles can be misleading…Maria Montessori is an « adaptation » of the real Montessori curriculum, meaning that they have « kept the Montessori spirit and values but have adapted to the Philippino cursus » (i.e:using books, more discipline).

I naively expected that a teacher from those schools would have said:


Big disillusion. First of all, I didn’t like the idea of the schools testing the abilities of our toddlers. The most ridiculous for me being the British School that would run a « 2 h test with Maelle »( would have loved to see how they could ever keep her still for 2 h though!).

Then comes the program. In the British School, we have been asked to get a tablet not only for Maelle but also for Leandre !!! I thought the teacher was kidding me, but no, « I know he is not 2 yet but he will also need a tablet, preferably Android ». Maelle would have 3 teachers, one per hour. Science and maths are visibly very important. Isn’t it a bit too strict?

Cambridge told me that if I want to enroll Maelle into sports in the afternoon, the session lasts 90mn. No kidding, 3 yo will practice taekwendoo for 1h30 after a full morning of « schooling ». Isn’t it a bit too much ?

Eventually, I chose Montessori because they have 10ish kids per class, and one teacher and 2 assistants. They seem to be more attentive to the children’ personalities and are less obsessed with turning them into some kind of athlete or Nobel Price. Let’s see how it goes.. Leandre will attend Gymboree, and play in 3D, with real toys, pens and this good old thing we call Paper!


4 comments on “The hunt for Pre-school (last and final!)

  1. Thanks for sharing! I have a nearly two-year-old son and have been considering schooling options as well. The most important thing for me right now is for my son to enjoy his childhood. I’m fairly confident he’ll learn all the other stuff eventually.

    • estelea
      May 20, 2014

      I think exactly the same! Let them enjoy their childhood and have fun while learning 🙂 my son is almost 2 too, Montessori would have been an option for him had we lived by Talamban. Gymboree is (far) more expensive but he ll have fun! Thanks a lot for your note and let me know if you find a nice school for your son 🙂 Cheers!

      • We actually live in Talamban and I was considering letting him try a two-week course in Children’s Paradise Montessori School, which is where his cousins study. But every time I ask him, “Do you want to go to school?” he emphatically says “No!” I’m not sure he even understands what a school is. 😀 I hope your son has a great time at Gymboree. 🙂

      • estelea
        May 26, 2014

        Thanks 🙂 I m sure he ll like it there too once he gets to realise it s fun ! Have a nice week!

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This entry was posted on May 20, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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