The Kidstarter® Curious Curriculum Journey

Homeschool and family life during the preschool years will always have a special place in my (mommy-teacher)heart and mind.  Oh, yes,  the years can be the most physically draining and patience-stretching but there is something magical about young children. Think of all those endless questions, the innocence, the “out-of-the-of mouth of babes” comments, the mess, the chubby hands and feet, and just the overflowing adoration and clinginess  of our little ones. And hey, I had all that and more 4x over. Indeed, my cup overfloweth!

My youngest Gino at 2 years old:)
Preschool Homeschool Classmates and Siblings, Raya & Gino!




 

Now a trip down memory lane:

2002, I began homeschooling (2-3x a week only) our eldest when he was 3 years old. I co-taught with the help of the The Bridge School who allowed a 3x a week morning program for my eldest son, Vince.   I had a chance to work with some of the preschool teachers and learn how they did things in a regular preschool.  That homeschooling journey eventually lasted for 17 years as more preschoolers in the form of 3 more children, and as we homeschooled till, one by one, each child reached 13 years old and it was time to go to “big school.”  As mentioned in previous posts, homeschooling in our home officially ended in 2018.

There are so many reasons why the preschool season is the best time to start homeschooling.  Well, the most important perhaps is the very fact that the  0-5 years old period is the only time for foundation building. If a human being is likened to a building, the period of the early years is when the foundation — the ground preparation  and  skeletal framework are set.  Without a strong foundation, you can never construct a strong building. The investment of “love” (in the currency of time, energy and parent-teacher character trait and skills) during this season is probably the most guaranteed investment  ever!  At the core of foundation building is development of a strong emotional bond between the child and the caring parent/parents/caregivers… and this bond further strengthens the ground which can further support and facilitate future learning in all areas of life.

As more and more interest in homeschooling grew, I found myself running workshops on homeschooling, including preschool homeschooling. Running a workshop may be fun but it is very tiring.  I travelled all over Metro Manila and yes even to Cebu and Davao ( and yes, there are more requests to visit other cities as the movement grows indeed).  I then began thinking of how to empower and assist parents in a more doable and sustainable way. Around  the same time in 2016, my sister Ms. Janna Mendoza-Simpao, the Editor-in-Chief of Bride and Breakfast, and I found ourselves talking about how we can help other families try out homeschooling.

In 2017, Janna introduced me to  her friends,  Angela Palanca and Teacher Liana Lim Cruz… and that was the beginning of the Kidstarter team:)

After being in the homeschool community for 17 years, setting up and moderating the Homeschoolers of Philippines Facebook Group (which only began with 30 or so FB friends in 2013 and eventually grew to nearly 20k members) and leading the Homeschool Association of the Philippines, I had come to the realization that, with the growing Filipino Homeschool Community, there was a need to begin creating local resources for homeschoolers: material, curricula, and the like. I also realised that such material, if possible, must a attempt to include Filipino values, culture and language.

As I ran homeschool workshops  and continued to observe the needs of our members in our homeschooling community on Facebook, I surmised that we needed to begin at the foundational level: a preschool guide for Filipino families.  Filipino families would include those who were up to the challenge to try preschool homeschooling or those who just wanted to create learning experiences at home or during school breaks for their children enrolled in day care or preschool set ups.

Liana Lim-Cruz became my co-writer BFF as we met week after week to create the Kidstarter Curious Curriculum (KCC). Armed with her Master’s degree on Early Childhood Education from The Bank Street College of Education in New York and her 10 years worth of work experience from the leading progressive preschool Explorations in Mandaluyong,  Metro Manila, we created the first complete preschool guide that utilizes play and exploration for learning and presents activities to introduce and celebrate our Filipino culture and language. It is then a program with solid foundation of emerging approaches of Early Childhood Education: homeschooling and progressive education!  I see the KCC as a material that seeks to work  on  both mindset and skillset as it equips parents, parent teachers and teachers (yes, preschool teachers have been inquiring about KCC too!).

In our desire to make this program Filipino-friendly, we reached out to Ani Almario of Adarna House and Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco of Museo Pambata as we included the use of Filipino storybooks and a visit to Museo Pambata as part of our activities.

With Ani Almario, Adarna House’s Vice President for Product Development
With Museo Pambata’s President and CEO, Bambi Mańosa-Tanjutco, a dear family friend and a champion for Filipino Culture
With Museo Pambata’s Programs Director Noreen Parafina and her team

But Liana and I may  have poured our hearts over the program’s content,  we needed all the help necessary to present the whole package as beautiful, practical, and user/parent friendly and that was made possible with the expertise of  Janna Mendoza-Simpao and Angela Perez Rubio-Palanca.

On third quarter of 2019, it call came together!

This material was born out of a lot of brainstorming, meet ups, emails, viber calls while “Little Nadi” was napping,  and carving out time from our busy mommy lives!  So you can imagine why we were smiling from ear to ear as we held the first copy off the printer! See Nadi, Liana’s almost 3 year old adorable daughter who is currently being homeschooled the Kidstarter’ way!
Thank you to Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon and Joanna Nicolas-Na for all the help as our editors:)

On September 7, 2019, the Kidstarter® Curious Curriculum was launched via the Educating for Life’s Philippine Homeschool Conference 2019 at the SMX Aura. (Thank you to Educating for Life’s Michelle Padrelanan, Rosanne Unson, Mariel Uyquiengco and Tina Rodriguez for allowing us launch with you!) 

I was one of the plenary speakers who spoke on “Homeschooling as A Calling, A Vocation and A Privilege.” At the end of my talk, I was able to present the KCC to all attendees!

I just had to include this photo with the 4 “kids who started it all!” Photo by Papa Gilbert Simpao.

For more photos of  this launch and videos regarding the Kidstarter Curious Curriculum (KCC), head to the Kidstarter FB page.

When I hold the KCC set (I am sure my Kidstarter partners would agree with the shared emotion), I can still feel a whole flush of gratitude and overwhelming appreciation for being allowed to be part of this project. It truly takes a village (and the village has grown!)to create something worthwhile that brings a potential for a solid start in another person’s life and at the same time, offering experiences to strengthen family bonds.

As I close this post, the Kidstarter team  is filled with thanksgiving for our Lord God, the True One who started it all and The One who wants to support all Kidstarter families! From the valuable persons and companies mentioned in the “Acknowledgment” page of the Teacher’s Guide (Book 1), the supporters now have included educational experts, developmental paediatricians, early childhood education advocates and  new parent teacher users!

Here are just a few of our new “Kidstarter villagers.” Thank you for your trust in KCC!

 

 

Let me end with this favorite line from Gabriel Mistral from the book called Their Name is Today.  My sister, a fellow children’s advocate, Maricel Pangilinan-Arenas shared this book with me and gave me this bookmark!

“Many things can wait. Children cannot……”

 

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it. (New Living Translation)

 

If you would like to know more about the Kidstarter® Curriculum and/or purchase a set, head to https:/kidstarter.ph, follow us on Instagram and Facebook at @Kidstarter.

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