TSAA integrates their lessons into arts activities.
TSAA is said to be the first school in the country to offer an Arts-Integrated Curriculum.

Last week, my daughter and I paid a visit to the The School of Academics and Arts. I was not able to make it to their bloggers’ event because I was out of town. I thank Ms. Dimples for arranging our visit.

We met Ms. Cherry Napala, the School Principal. I realized I was not able to take many photos, only because Ms. Cherry and I had so much to share about education and the arts! We talked while my daughter was outside with Cherry’s daughter, who was nice enough to play with the little one.

Aria spent much of her time in this playhouse outside.
Aria spent much of her time in this playhouse.

Here are a few pictures that I took:

As soon as we entered a room, she tinkered on the toys she saw. This was their Kinder Room.
As soon as we entered a room, Aria would examine the toys she saw. This is the Kinder Room.
One of their teachers decorating the bulletin board.
One of the teachers decorates the bulletin board. The tree was handpainted by one of them, too.

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Notice the shape of their tables?

The school, Ms. Cherry explains, believes that the arts is the best tool for learning. Unlike other schools which offer arts and music programs only after school hours or during summer, TSAA uses the Arts-Integrated Curriculum, a proven method backed by research used in other countries. The arts is used as a vehicle for learning, so that every day, there are activities in music, arts, dance, and others integrated with their lessons.

The school is the brainchild of Audie Gemora, a known theater and musical actor, director, and producer, who envisioned the school as a home for academically and artistically inclined students. Other partners of the school include UP’s Dr. Evalyn Hizon, and music teacher Emmy Cayabyab (wife of Ryan Cayabyab).

Here are some salient points that Cherry shared with me:

1. We have both left and right brains, so why not use both in learning? It’s not only the left brain we should nurture through memorization and drills, but the right brain as well by enhancing creativity and imagination. Contrary to the belief that artists are not smart, Ms. Cherry and I both agreed that this is not true. Artists can excel in academics as well.

2. Arts education should start at a young age. Kids need a good, solid, and proper arts education foundation. It’s much harder to correct bad practices later on.

3. Arts education should not only be done during lazy summers, but the whole year round. In TSAA, the kids will do lots of arts activities as they learn. Just like any other habit, arts should be done regularly. In the case of TSAA, the children experience arts every day.

4. Arts education entails a certain kind of discipline, which can be used as one learns academic subjects. One needs hours rehearsing a certain piano piece or song, and a lot of focus and concentration. I started playing piano at age four, and the discipline of practicing piano has given me the same concentration I needed to study other academic subjects.

5. As parents, we need to invest in arts education. TSAA may be a little expensive than others, but they make learning more fun with arts activities as they learn other academic subjects. Is it not that we learned our ABCs using songs? In the same way, learning about other subjects can be made more fun and in a more creative way.

The students will be happy to know that TSAA does not give assignments. They believe in work-life balance, which is essential for the holistic growth of a child or an individual. School work remains at school so that the students can have more time to rest and bond with their family. I wish it was like that in schools and the workplace!

Their class size is very small, at about 10 students per class, which ensures individualized learning.

As for exams and grades, Cherry said that they have a different system of grading through practical assessment. They follow the K-12 Curriculum and abide by the grading system of the DepEd, only their manner of grading is suited according to each student.

TSAA teachers are trained to integrate arts into their lessons. I have observed schools in other countries and they have a strong foundation in music and arts education. TSAA tries to follow that model.

If you want your kids to be future artists, they offer after-school activities, too. Cherry showed me their music studio rooms:

Rooms are sound-proofed.
Rooms are sound-proofed.

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I believe the arts is such a powerful tool for helping students to learn. With the ever dynamic world we have, families are looking for learning methods other than the traditional one for their children. TSAA is one option.

TSAA opened its doors in its new location at Davila Street, Makati City (near Shopwise Pasong Tamo). They offer programs for children as young as 1.8 years old. Visit their website, Facebook Page, email tsaa.makati(at)gmail(dot)com or call 0925.550.2766 to schedule a visit.

 

~ Touringkitty

2 Comments on The School of Academics and Arts: Learning through the arts

    • Yes, May, you’re right. The school is progressive. Very interesting actually. Thanks for dropping by!

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