Molding minds and moving on 

Published March 23, 2019, 12:05 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Alex M. Eduque
Alex M. Eduque

Happy endings always make for new beginnings. During bittersweet moments like moving-up ceremonies and graduation season, I remind myself of that notion more often. And so it has officially begun – on MovEd’s calendar at least. Year after year, we send off hundreds of kids to officially begin elementary school, and as fulfilling as it is, it also becomes emotional when you realize you may no longer see the faces you would see on a regular basis for a whole year (or in some cases two). Seeing their parents beam with pride at how much their children have grown, and the sheer progress they have made as students though is always enough to outweigh the melancholy. Looking back and in retrospect, we were all working towards this day. The day where we can confidently send the students off with the right skill sets they have honed in the past year (or two) knowing that they are ready to take on the rest of their educational journey. There is no more holding back knowing that they are ready to take off and soar to greater heights. To have been but a small part of that process is an honor – one we hold with utmost pride, near and dear.

The fulfillment of getting their parents to believe in the importance of early childhood education a few months into the program after seeing their child’s progress and growth is unparalleled. Through the years, most especially in the communities we’ve been present in for a while, seeing the parents strengthened belief in our program is overwhelming. Along with their children, they also grow in seeing how crucial it is for them to reinforce both the skills and values taught in the classroom at home. Their trust in the teacher of their child as a peer in rearing him/her through is vital, and there is no better testimony to the success of our program than parents choosing to enroll their succeeding children year after year in our program because they have seen how it has impacted the lives of others.

Through the years, as I work more closely with and with more children, John Locke’s theory of their minds being a tabula rasa, or blank slate that can be molded, shaped, and conditioned to be whatever we want it to be becomes more than just a piece of knowledge. With experience, and in my eyes, it presents itself to be more true as the years go by. This is why I have always believed in the importance of early childhood education, and why, I always remind myself and our teachers at MovEd, it is an utmost privilege to be a pre-school teacher simply because you are the very first teacher of a child. Next to their parents, you hold a great amount of influence on shaping their values, conditioning their minds, teaching them the very basics, and introducing them to the essential building blocks of all there is to know to journey on for the rest of their lives. They are under the guidance and supervision of their pre-school teacher at a most critical phase of their life – when their minds are like sponges that absorb everything from the environment around them.

It is thus the job of a pre-school teacher to help them retain crucial information and positive values, and then squeeze out irrelevant and unnecessary clutter that can also cloud their minds. As one of a child’s very first guides in deciphering between right and wrong, pre-school teachers have a strong hold and influence in shaping the moral compass of a child. More often than not, their students will take what they say as the gospel truth, after some questioning to ease their curiosities. It is because of this belief, among many others, that I do not take the job of MovEd lightly. For parents to entrust their children to our guidance is a privilege we take to heart, and as we hold their hands along the way, we can only hope to shape leaders, movers and shakers of the next generation.

As with any job, one must never take a task at hand lightly, or worse, for granted. Most especially when given the opportunity to be a part of shaping the minds of the future generation, one must face the task wholeheartedly. We, at MovEd, as I’m sure every pre-school can relate to as well, are grateful – for the trust given to us, and for the privilege to be but a small stakeholder of our nations progress through the work that we do.

To this year’s graduating class: spread your wings and soar. Fly high, and remember, the sky is your limit. Keep dreaming big and working hard. Never let anyone else define your worth. Lead with a steadfast mind, but always listen to the whispers of your heart. Dance in the rain, and gaze upon every rainbow that comes after. Hold on to your lessons and learnings like a pot of gold. Stay humble, and smile through the negativity life can sometimes throw at you. The future is yours, and this is but the beginning. Thank you, for letting us become a part of your lives. Journey on with an open mind and grateful heart!