Monday, December 16, 2013

One of the best high schools in developing over-all excellence in our teens.

Sorry for not writing much lately.  Been very busy with work (I am a teacher by profession, in case you didn’t know) and had absolutely no time for anything else.

Speaking of my work, I would like to show a quick video of what we do here at The Abba’s Orchard, a true Maria Montessori school (yes, there are fakes).  I work at the Erdkinder, which is the high school division of the school, and it truly is a different way of teaching high school students.  If I’m not mistaken, The Abba’s Orchard is the only school in the Asia Pacific region to have the Montessori farm school program.  Yes, farm school…and if you ask my very biased opinion, it’s one of the best schools in developing over-all excellence in our teens.

I am in charge of making the said video for the ending of every trimester.  Here is the latest one that I made.  Granted, I do not have epic video making skills, but if you’re interested, check it out and see what I do for a living…and what these lucky students are getting.  You can also see my eldest daughter in several instances, too.

Allow me to explain the video one activity at a time.

Harvesting naturally-raised vegetables
Farm.  The start of each morning at AOS consists of chores (we call them functions, because it’s a chore to say chores, get me?).  The first function in the video is our bread and butter, the farm.  The children have to labor in the sun, making natural-farming concoctions and using them to make healthy crops without any pesticides and all the other bad stuff.  In fact, a perk of the job is getting these super-healthy veggies for cheap, yummy

.The students also own their own business, raising animals for profit.  My daughter, Lynn belongs to a company called Pig N Tasty, and you see her cleaning the shed in the video.  Lynn and her groupmates were able to make over P1,000 last trimester, net.  They are sure to get even more bank in their second go round.  But it’s the experience that counts…as well as putting real life application into their academics (ex. English—business letters, math—calculating feed to weight ratio, science—soil testing)

Free range chicken from Chicks Ahoy,
a student-run business
Boot shed.  The next function is the boot shed, where students are tasked to take care of the boots that the others wear to the farm, as well as the upkeep of the shed that stores said boots.  Admittedly, it’s a really easy function…unless it’s right after a rainy day.  In the latter case you’d have mud everywhere and the boot shed function becomes sooo not fun.

Kitchen.  This is my daughter’s favorite function (and mine too).  A week prior to being in the kitchen function, the team for that week collects P250 from every student.  They then go to the wet market and supermarket on Saturday to buy all the kitchen ingredients (btw, they plan and budget the menu).  Then, every day for that week, they cook, clean, and serve meals for the whole community.

Vegetables are a must, and I am one of the teachers known to use the herbs grown in the farm.  Children also get to show off their family recipes, and I for one am known as the master of the taco salad (I also HATE pinoy spaghetti and instead opt for the Italian style).  Things get real distracting in the Erdkinder when the smell permeates the classrooms, especially if a baking enthusiast gets her groove on in the oven.

Classroom.  This is the function I like the least.  You basically have to clean EVERYTHING that’s not related to the farm or the kitchen…and making sure it stays clean and orderly.  This includes wiping tables, sweeping floors, and cleaning the sink where the students wash their plates after lunch.  Not fun…but life is not all about fun, is it.  It’s about service.

Lectures.  After functions, the kids do devotions, led by the seniors.  I did not feature that in the video, but I did so in the previous one.  Anyway, after devotions, we have the lectures.  As you can see in the video, the lessons are done in small groups on kidney tables.  That way, things are more intimate and learning is better than screaming at a room of 30 kids with the back row goofing off.  I teach Literature, and if you’re wondering why I am not in the video, it is because I’m always the guy holding the camera.

PE/SE.  Students then do various PE and SE (Self Expression) activities.  In addition to what was featured in the video, there’s photography, volleyball, Chinese, lampshade making, and others.

Dramatis Personae.  The kids acting in costumes are doing what’s called a Dramatis Personae.   This happens at the end of reading a book (in my Literature program, we read 9 novels a year), and the students would have to do a 1 person show complete with costumes.  Obviously, this involves creative writing (making their script), and creative thinking (figuring out what to wear, how to present, etc.), and it’s great training for speaking in public.  Of course, it has to be accurate to what the book says too.

Most of the students in the video were doing a dramatis personae for Les Miserables, which they just finished about a week prior.   Were you able to tell?  There were a couple of Mrs. Thenardiers, a Javert, and a few others.

Rotary Youth Week.  This past trimester, the Rotary Club of CDO had its annual rotary youth week, where students from many schools vie to be the youth mayor and counselors.  We always do well here, although I often get frustrated that we don’t get the highest spot despite having the best speeches (in my very biased opinion, anyway).  I am so proud of our entry, Dominque, for bagging 1st counselor this year (if I’m not mistaken).

Not just an Azkal…he’s an Abba’s Orchard Ridgeback
Abba’s Cup.  Every two years we host a soccer tournament called the Abba’s Cup.  The school is surely soccer country, with our teams always a huge threat to bag the trophy in whatever tournament we enter.  My eldest and youngest kids are vital parts of their respective teams.

Yolanda donations.  After the tragedy that was Yolanda, the school came up with a drive to collect cash and goods and bring them to ABS-CBN so that they could deliver them to those who were, and still are, in need.  The video ends with the said goods being delivered, and the pleasant surprise of being interviewed in the process.

If you have any questions about the Montessori method and The Abba’s Orchard school in particular, you can check out the links earlier in this sentence.  You can also check out the school’s webpage, and note that we have several campuses all over the Philippines, such as Davao, Cebu, and several places in Manila.  The campus I am in is the La Granja campus, located in the uptown Cagayan de Oro area, just about 10 minutes away from SM mall and the old airport.

If you are looking for a school that is great at not only molding great students, but also great people, then look no further but The Abba’s Orchard.

(This blog site, Lessons Of A Dad is mostly about parentingmarriage, and other topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  I’d consider it an honor if you’d follow or subscribe to this site.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)

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