The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Preschool has been operating for 20 years now, making it the longest-running social service program of the parish.
It started out as a day care center in 1984, when it was set up by a small women’s prayer group at the SHJP after learning that so many children in the nearby sitios are unable to go to school due to financial problems. In 1998, the parish took over the day care center and expanded into a preschool. To-date, the SHJP Preschool has six chapel-classrooms and serves an average of 400-450 children aged 2 ½ to 5 ½ years old from the sitios every year. What started as an inspired and charitable act of a small group of women has grown into a collective commitment of the entire parish.
From children to parents to teachers, everyone learns in the preschool!
Education of children
Our Preschool provides early education focusing on basic values for the faith and character formation of the children in the developing communities. Using the Montessori method of teaching, each daily session runs for two hours and caters to 15 to 25 students. Our Preschool aims to build a sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and independence in each child, and to infuse in him/her the love for learning.
To-date, our Preschool has produced 2,000 graduates. We are pleased to report that our graduates excel in grade school, move on to high school, and a good number are able to finish college or vocational school. Former students of our Preschool are now active members of our parish community as choir members, altar servers, lectors and parish staff volunteers.
Evangelization of parents
Our Preschool also looks after the formation of the parents of our students to ensure that what the children learn in school is practised and reinforced at home. Parents are organized to attend learning seminars on Parenting and Family Life, and are encouraged to join the Basic Ecclessial Communities (BEC).
Empowerment of teachers
In the classroom, seven teachers and seven teacher aides tend to the learning needs of our preschoolers. Our teaching staff is composed of “sitio mothers” who have been trained to become Montessori teachers. Because the spiritual formation of our teachers is also part of our Preschool’s goals, we encourage them to join BECs, and to actively participate in catechesis, and annual retreats and recollections.
Aside from making sure that they are good teachers and mentors to the children, we develop and transform our teaching staff into responsible members of the church and community. Our teachers have become leaders, workers and helpers in their sitios and at church.
Our preschool operates through the generosity of the entire parish community. During the Christmas season, we hold the annual “Sponsor-a-Child” drive to raise funds to put the children through the next school year. We also give some of our graduates a modest school transportation scholarship. Our Parish Priest, the Rev. Fr. Lambert Legaspino, acts as the Preschool Director, assisted by a Preschool Administrator, three Academic Directors, and two Program Directors—all of whom are volunteers of the Program.