Traditional and Progressive schools have the same goal – to educate children and prepare them for what life has in store for them. Which one does it better?
My son went to preschool in Creative Space, a progressive school. We moved him to a Traditional school when he reached first grade. I have noticed a big difference. Having experienced both traditional and progressive schools, I’ve listed some differences between the two Please take note that the comparison will be based on our experience and may not be applicable to all schools, traditional or progressive. This is just to give you an idea of how children are taught in both schools.
- In a traditional school you’ll see the teacher’s desk up front and a blackboard behind it. That already shows a separation between the teacher and students. Teachers in front and students sitting on their chairs facing the teacher and the blackboard. You may see pictures of national heroes, a clock, a calendar, a little decoration to add color to the room, a trash can, a crucifix or a picture of biblical characters and passages from the bible.
- In a progressive school teachers do not have a desk but there’s also a blackboard. You’ll see stools instead of chairs and tables where students do their work. Discussions are often times done with kids sitting on the floor surrounding the teacher. There are shelves filled with building blocks, paper clips, counters, books and other educational toys or materials. There are sight words posted on the walls and charts there were filed up by the kids.
- Teachers in a traditional setting discusses lessons based on the books and write notes on the blackboard which they’ll ask the students to copy afterwards. Children are asked to question to check if their listening and for their recitation. They teach children to memorize facts. There are seat works/quizzes and are score for evaluation.
- Lessons in a progressive setting is more of a discussion. They’re taught to analyze problems or situations and share their thoughts. There are also seat works and quizzes but they are evaluated not scored. What I love about their method of teaching is how they practice integrated teaching. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Example, they were taught to take note of the time they went it the classroom in a their time card. It teaches them how to tell time, write numbers and promptness. Or teaching math while they’re doing artworks. “Learn to love to learn” is their goal.
- Field trips in a traditional school is often times once every school year and mostly for entertainment. Just recently my son and I joined the school’s field trip, guess where we went? We went to the Gardenia factory, Sumo Science Center, a Filipino culture place and the Enchanted Kingdom.
- Field trips on a progressive school is an educational trip. It’s mostly part of their lesson. They have at least one in a month. One time their topic is about sight, one of the five senses, they went to a home for the blind and experience how it was to lose sight. If it’s about plants they go to a park, Eco Park. If its about food they go to a restaurant and see how food s prepared and prepare food themselves. They went to doctors, orphanage , grocery, hospitals and got to interview people to understand the lesson more. It’s a learning experience.
- In traditional schools, mostly catholic school where they celebrate almost each saint’s feast day or a catholic head’s birthday or rite of ordination to priesthood, the time in school on spent on hearing mass or listening to a speech of recognition in a program. Sometimes they even suspend classes for the event. I have nothing against it, but it’s a school. Teach them.
- In a progressive school holidays or special holidays aren’t given much attention. If the government declares no classes. The teacher will contact the parents and ask if they still want to have their kids go to school. If most parents agree, then classes resume. No time is wasted.
Parent – Teacher Relationships
- In a traditional school parents are only called on PTA’s or meetings. If you’re child have done something bad and needs your attention or if you’re to watch a school program. Lastly, if it’s time for you to get the report card.
- In a progressive school parents and teachers have constant communication. Teachers send weekly newsletters via email for the parents to know what they did during the week, mostly lessons and some feedback. They’ll send you a text message real time or call you if your child has done something exceptional or something bad that also needs attention. Every quarter they do not give report cards, they talk to the parents and discuss the child development and opportunities for improvement. They work with the parents on developing the child.
I would like to reiterate that the above comparison are based on our experience and may not be applicable to all schools. Having said that, I highly recommend that you choose progressive school. It’s a worthy investment for your child’s foundation.