Last month, I enrolled my 1.8-year-old to play school at The LEAP School – Learn, Explore and Play. Caleb isn’t a homebody and gets cranky cabin fever if he stays inside the house for too long–even when he was just a few months old (can’t blame him, his parents are the same).
So last month, I decided to enroll my toddler to LEAP so he could be exposed to new experiences and environments. While some people think it’s insane to put a one-year-old to school, we decided to give it a try. I’d like to share Caleb’s experience and developments after enrolling my toddler for a month at play school.
What is LEAP?
LEAP is a play-based learning experience for children ages 1.6 to 4 years old. With a good interplay between Progressive and Traditional approaches, this child-centered school will focus on each child’s optimal learning capacity.
At LEAP School, they value your child’s individuality and independence. At school they are taught to do things by themselves: from washing hands, brushing their teeth, having their snacks and to packing away toys, they are taught to act independently.
In addition to that, the child’s parents and guardians are encouraged to stay outside to foster the child’s independence, for the child to be comfortable during the absence of his carers.
Here’s a slideshow on the LEAP School facilities and area:
Caleb’s First Week: Separation Anxiety
Caleb did really well during the free trial and was participating and playing with his other classmates. He was certainly alright during his first day at school. On the second day however, he would not let go of my hand. He would not come in the school unless I held him, and when the teacher distracted him I escaped (yes, that’s the proper word for it). On the third day he noticed the pattern and would not let me out of his sight. He would play and do activities while sitting on my lap and any move I make he would notice. I finally got to leave the room but not without tears and cries from Caleb.
As a mom, you feel your heart wrench every time your kid cries and looks for you. The school teachers reassured me not to get too affected and he will grow out of his separation anxiety in time. I do notice that once I leave the room he no longer cries but still feels a bit restless. Every time I pick him up from school, he is always the last to leave the room and look just a tiny bit pissed at me for leaving him…
Caleb’s Second Week: Still a Little Unsure…
Caleb is still a little unsure. He gives me that ‘sad puppy dog eyes’ look every time I pass him off to his teacher, Teacher Ericka.
They did plenty of fun color and painting activities, and to design Caleb’s scrapbook covers they did hand and foot painting. Caleb is a bit anal about some things and hates getting his hands and feet dirty. So despite loving Cheetos to a fault, he would rather wait for me or his yaya to feed him than to hold one. He got mad when the teacher put paint on his hands! When he saw the final result in the cover, he liked it though!
They had a picnic on the second week of school. The kids brought food to share to everyone and they were all sat on the mat Indian-style, singing, playing and having their snacks while Indian-seated.
Caleb loves story time, he sits down attentively and behaves when the teacher opens a book and tells them a story.
Caleb’s Third Week: Excited for School!
Just when I was sure that Caleb officially hates me now, he started warming up to the idea of school! They had more art activities and the teacher taught them to write their names. Caleb still needs some assistance but through constant exposure he can already identify the letters of his name.
Every month, the school has a specific theme surrounding their classes. This month was all about animals. They made an octopus headdress (which Caleb would not wear), animal activities, and on one class they brought in a turtle for the kids to enjoy! Caleb was hesitant at first but eventually kept on observing and laughing at the turtle.
Caleb’s Fourth Week: When Are We Coming Back?
On the last day of the month, parents meet with the teachers to discuss about their child’s development. Teacher Ericka told me Caleb was the ‘little comedian’ in the class, with a very loud voice and infectious laugh. His favorite part of class is ‘play time’, which I already expected. His closest friend is 4-year-old Jake.
Here are some things I noticed about Caleb’s development, after a month in school
- More patient when I tell him to ‘wait’
- More sociable towards kids, very playful towards them
- When I say ‘time to go to school’, he gets visibly excited now
- No more separation anxiety
- Loves looking through books and story time now
- Familiar with some animals and their sounds
- Knows what to do with coloring and painting materials–paints, brushes, crayons, paper, scissors and tweezers! (On the down side, he likes to use crayons on any surface now, from the floors to the walls)
- Enjoys building towers independently
- Knows the routine of washing hands and brushing his teeth before and after meals
- Attempts to change shirts and put on shoes on his own, assists me when changing clothes
- Says ‘A,B,C’ and attempts to count from 1 to 6
- Recognizes the letter ‘C’, the first letter of his name
As Caleb and I are going to be away for three weeks, we decided to cease playschool for a month and will be reenrolling him for November. That’s one good thing about The Leap School–there is no big commitments with time constraints for the kid, as you can re-enroll your kid on a monthly basis!
LEAP School is located at E-Park Bldg, A. Miñoza St. Sitio Tigbao, Talamban Cebu City. You can contact them at 032-350-5327 to book for a free trial. They have morning (9:00AM-11:00AM) and afternoon class (1:00PM-3:00PM).