Saturday, September 5, 2015

First Day High in Mano Amiga Academy: The long wait is over, seize the Day!

Carpe diemis a Latin phrase usually translated in the English language as “seize the day”, and that was exactly what the Mano Amiga kids did last 3rd August, 2015, as they welcomed the new school year.  Coming from an unusually long summer vacation due to Mano Amiga’s adapting the August school calendar, the kids couldn’t hide the excitement as they enthusiastically approached the new learnings and discoveries that the new school year has to offer.

During the day, lots of fun and fulfilling activities were done to kick off the beginning of the new academic journey for the kids. The day began with a mass which was how the Mano Amiga kids and teachers started off the school year right. After the mass, they all proceeded to their respective classes, enthusiastic and expectant of an amazing journey this year. 

While it seemed to be dreadful for most school kids these days, the first day of classes turned out to be much anticipated by the kids of Mano Amiga. An evidence to this is how non-reluctantly each of them took part in the activities during the day; which included an earthquake drill during the afternoon, in participation with the country’s preparation for “The Big One”. While some adults as reported in the news, didn’t take the drill seriously, the Mano Amiga kids took it by heart with excellent obedience to the instructions given to them – another reminder for us that the best time to educate members of the society about anything is probably while they are still young.

             As part of the first day of classes as well, the teachers announced to the kids the programs and activities that are in store for them for the entire year. “The classroom buzzed with excitement when my students found out that we will be having the SRA Reading Laboratory Program this school year. A great avenue indeed for the kids to love reading more!”, recalls Teacher She, one of the Mano Amiga teachers.

One of our Grade 6 students remarks, “Do what makes you learn things”. Hearing this, we realize the importance of giving the kids activities that bring out the best learner in each of them: much more, starting off the school year with activities that put the kids in the learning grind. This joyful thirst of the Mano Amiga kids towards learning and education is what fuels the Mano Amiga team to pursue more excellence in the work that we are very privileged to do.

            With the exciting changes and new discoveries that the new school year brings in, the same goal remains at the core of the school. Here’s to a new year of creating change and transforming lives. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oplan Linis sa Mano Amiga

It is always a true sight to see that the parents of our students are involved not just with their children’s upbringing and development but with the school as well. Last school year our parents were very responsible and active with our sweat-equity program – rendering more than the required 2 hours of service and actively volunteering to chaperon during enrichment activities. And even if another school year has come and gone, their active spirit has remained evident. A testament of this would be the turn-out of parents who came and prepared the school for the opening of another school year. 

Mano Amiga Academy also participated in the nation-wide Oplan Linis or Brigada Eskwela campaign. The last week of July was focused on preparing the school for another school year that would begin in August. Each day of the week the teachers and parents of each level worked hand-in-hand to clean the classrooms and facilities of the school. Not one spot was left unattende d as they swept, mopped and attended to every nook and cranny of the rooms. Apart from cleaning they also took care of preparing the facilities and other learning materials that the kids would be using for the year. They made sure every arm chair and table were in good condition, ready to be used by the students. They made sure also that the various school supplies were well restocked and organized. They were even careful to add new curtains to our classroom’s windows and cover slips for our computers that served as an additional flair to the room on top of its useful function. A week’s cleaning may have been quite a tough job but their labor of love would surely leave a lasting impression on their children. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

On Solid Ground: Our Site Visit to the Mano Amiga Campus

Over the long summer break we gave our students, teachers and some of our parents a special treat. We took them to the property site that would soon be our new home in Better Living, Paranaque. Evident on their faces were pure excitement and joy upon seeing where they will soon be going to school.

Upon arriving at the site everyone was free to roam around and explore. The children were left with their creativity and in no time found corners of their own to play in. One such corner was the old pond nestled on the property which was teeming with some of Mother Nature’s creatures and some abandoned water toys. The children enjoyed themselves by conjuring up stories as to how they might have ended up in the pond. All around the children’s cheerful voices could be heard as they went running around the property, swinging on hammocks and climbing on trees.

While the children were having a good time of their own, our teachers on the other hand took to the fruit-bearing trees sprawled around the property and took turns picking from them. A crowd favorite was the duhat tree which they particularly picked a lot of as souvenirs of the day’s visit.

Under the shady trees our parents took comfort in and here they prepared the little feast we shared together. Bowls of ginataan which some of the mothers prepared together were passed around as everyone shared their excitement, reactions and hopeful stories about the new site.

With tummies full, everyone went home with a happy heart. Although it may be bittersweet to be leaving our home for the past seven years, an exciting adventure for the whole Man o Amiga community awaits in our soon-to-be new home.

Raising a generation who cares for the environment: one kaliKLASRUM at a time

            Sea and Advocate (SEA) Camp is one of the current projects spearheaded by the Save Philippine Seas, a movement to protect the country’s rich but threatened marine and coastal resources through the IEC activities and community-based projects. Last year, as culmination for a whole year of SEAcamping, the organization in coordination with the US Embassy, chose a number of citizen-driven environmental projects to be implemented. One of these is KaliKLASRUM.

            KaliKLASRUM is a water conservation module developed by Luzon Seacampers Jude Cuntapay and MM Maglasang which aims to educate Filipino children on how to care for the environment at a young age. The exciting news is that KaliKLASRUM has chosen the Grade 6 students of Mano Amiga Academy to be the members of its pilot class.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Experiencing a better way to learn - Mano Amiga meets The Ultimate Learning Accelerator

                No, it’s not a robot. Not a monster. Not a superhero too! The Ultimate Learning Accelerator (TULA) is actually a group of people who “vaulted in” to help students unlock their full potential and learn academics while having fun. Collectively, TULA is an innovative after-school learning center designed to help students in being the best learners they can be. 

                During the current year, TULA came to Mano Amiga to hold a pilot class of their various programs on Math, English, and other academics. The Mano Amiga kids enjoyed learning about creativity, writing, and other skills that are valuable as they pursue to be professionals in their own fields. TULA is more than just academics – they also instill to the students the value of discipline, determination, optimism, confidence, and curiosity – things that blend really well with Mano Amiga’s goal to instill values formation in the children’s hearts.

                “I learned about being creative and working fast”, says Neil Ramos, one of the Grade Four students who participated in the TULA activities. Another student is Shaine Ursos who recalls learning how to write fast and be respectful.

                Building and developing 21st century skills may not be as simple as it seems, but with programs such as TULA collaborating with schools, kids not only learn effective academic techniques, but also learn to be interactive and mindful of their fellow learners as they discover new things about the world around them. With this method, learning isn’t just plain academics, but about creating a comfortable and enjoyable environment for learners. As TULA comes to Mano Amiga to spread this idea, our Mano Amiga kids did not just learn a lot, they also felt happy about learning new things.

                “What I enjoyed [the most] is being creative and playing with my classmates; it makes me happy”, says Cristalyn Regilme, one of the TULA class participants. Happiness, enjoyment, and learning may not always be used in one sentence, but for the Mano Amiga kids to have such a wonderful experience is worth being inspired with.

                Come to think of it, TULA may just be a superhero after all.