In March of 2020, the government issued a lockdown on most parts of the Philippines. What we thought of as a short-term lockdown has now gone to almost two years of unprecedented events.
This tiny bit of virus has claimed millions of lives and altered the course of life throughout the world. Everyone was affected, and education is one of them.
In the first months of lockdown, Mission Ministries Philippines still hopes that everything will return to normal. But as the days went by, reality set in. For many who are not tech-savvy, we were all caught off guard.
Fear may have paralyzed some of us, but by the grace of God, He gave us courage, wisdom, and perseverance. The pandemic brought changes in the way we do things but we strongly believe that this should not stop our work. With limitations in meeting physically, we find ways to continue on what we are called to do, “TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION”, still meeting the needs in Early Childhood Education and strengthening families and communities whatever it takes. So in May 2020, MMP offered its first webinar to its partners about Blended Learning and Homeschooling via zoom. Our speaker Professor Bing Amihan introduced the terms synchronous and asynchronous learning, which most of our partners were unfamiliar with. This method of teaching is being used in western countries. Though there are limitations in the Philippines, it is still applicable. This encouraged most of the partners to continue their preschool operation despite the drop of enrollees. And to further explain and help apply the knowledge learned in blended learning and homeschooling webinars, Mission Ministries supervisors piloted the practical training. The supervisors presented the strategies, materials, lesson plans, online play, and online applications the partners can use to cope with the technology adopting synchronous and asynchronous learning. Shifting into the new platform should not deviate our developmentally appropriate practices philosophy in teaching to our students. As we learned from Prof. Bing “there are still non-negotiable principles like integration of God’s word, Christian values, and good character.
As the world started embracing the digital age, Mission Ministries Philippines explored other possible ways to continue its mission in serving our partners and our advocacy to provide better education to indigent children.
MMP’s thrust that no child is left behind is a must!!! MMP is committed to caring for the children and shaping them into what God created them to be. Providing access to basic needs on their development and enjoying their childhood. Furthermore, the pandemic season made MMP revive its feeding program, but this time with a significant tweak in its feature, thus we call it “Feeding the Mind & the Body” (FMB), where the feeding program is integrated into the existing curriculum of MMP. MMP Partners, are given the option to integrate its feeding program with Sunday school lessons, Remedial Reading or Kidpreneur, or teaching business skills for children via the online and face-to-face platform.
Moving on…. All MMP seminars were geared toward maximizing technology in delivering quality education without compromising our philosophy. Speakers emphasized the importance of building relationships between teachers and parents as they hone their children’s potentials. Resource persons enlightened the use of technology and the danger it brings to the children. Research shows that too much exposure to screen time can hamper the brain development of children. The webinars also laid principles and ways to sustain the school operation.
With all these worries and stresses brought by the pandemic, it is a fact that many have suffered from anxieties and mental health issues. So in response, another webinar was conducted addressing this issue.
Aside from these seminars, supervising the partners was also done online. Partners were encouraged to attend the classes of the supervisors for them to observe the online classes and process them afterward. In the same way, supervisors were able to observe and coach the online classes of partners.
The pandemic may have closed many doors but new opportunities were opened to MMP by God’s grace. Mission Ministries herald to preach the gospel to the children have now intentionally reached even the parents by administering parenting seminars. These webinars not only give guidance for good parenting but most especially in preaching the gospel of salvation.
The pandemic may have momentarily thwarted the course of MMP and yet God used this to flourish and spread its roots to reach others further. Now MMP can now post a new challenging question to possible new partners. Would you like to set up or enrich your existing Early Childhood Program like Preschool, Daycare, SNP ( Supervised Neighborhood Play, Stimulation Center, After class program or tutorial program for children …. What do you prefer ??? Face to face or On-Line?????.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:19