She graduated Magna Cum Laude in her accountancy and earned well in her corporate work but her innate concern for children and passion for teaching one day realized her dream to build a school for them.
She is Marivic Evangelista Bathan, the Founder and President of the Children’s Paradise Montessori School (CPMS) in Canduman, Mandaue City.
Bathan disclosed that her decision came after a niece of hers was afflicted with cerebral palsy at birth and so anticipated that the child needs special education she finally thought of opening a pre-school.
That was in 2001 she recalled, her “turning point” to build CPMS.
“I was seeking, murag lisud ra ba ang school for children with needs so I think that was when I felt that God was kana bitawng, already disturbing me, to consider na this is the time to pursue na gyud ang school,”.
With what she saved from early retirement as executive of a leading multinational beverage and softdrinks company and the pooling of resources from family members and friends who believe in her, she built CPMS and started their school opening in 2006.
CHILD CENTERED TEACHING
Now on its 13th year, CPMS according to her had continuously been getting enrollees from pre-school to elementary because of what she termed as “unconventional teaching” patterned after what had been espoused by Dr. Maria Montessori, the “originator” of the Montessori method in teaching.
Bathan said theirs is a “child-centered” school which is a departure from the conventional and traditional method.
“Again we are child-centered, kana man gud sa traditional, teacher-centered man gud na. In Montessori, its the child.”
At present their curriculum is for toddlers up to Grade 6. By 2021, the school which is currently making an expansion including the construction of an environmentally friendly, green buildings, will already offer junior high school.
What sets them apart from the rest according to Bathan is their “experiential approach” in teaching using a lot of Montessori designed materials.
BETTER THAN SINGAPORE MATH
For instance, their kindergarten pupils she said, even at a very young age, they are already proficient in mathematics.
Their grade 2 and 3, she added, could already solve Algebra while their Grade 6, already know geometry.
According to Bathan, they are adopting a system which is at par or even greater than what is Singapore math.
“Ako makaingon gyud ko nga powerful pa ni kaysa Singapore Math. This is so powerful that even in pre-school, kinder, kabawo na ang among students. Its also our qualification for them to move up. To add, multiply, to subtract, to divide four digits because of the materials, ” Bathan said.
Singapore Math is a kind of math learning method in Singapore that is considered as “top of the world four times” in 4th and 8th graders by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) set by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
And their secret she revealed, they are using “Golden Beads”, one of their tools so that their students will have high math proficiency.
MONTESSORI AS INTERNATIONAL CURRICULUM
CPMS as Bathan further explained solely applies Montessori curriculum which is an international curriculum.
Included in their approach is the sidelining of the use of textbooks as they instead use other reading materials and references since textbooks limit the development of a student.
“So research actually has mao nang dili mi kuan ug textbooks kay textbooks limits the child,” Bathan said, adding, their students are spared of doing homeworks and instead of having periodic exams, each is required to do practical tests to determine their competencies including their masteries of a particular subject.
In the classroom which she described as of “mixed age” and “inclusive” as they integrate them with children who have special needs, what is done is individualized and personalized teaching having a ratio of 1 teacher per 15 children.
Bathan said aside from having licensed teachers, their teaching staff are mostly composed of Special Education (SPED) teachers and there are those who are specialzed in Montessori education as products of a local university.
The CPMS President herself has a Masters in Montessori Education. She also has advance trainings abroad, it was learned.
To further their knowledge, some of CPMS teachers are sent for off- trainings in other countries apart from their yearly scheduled in-school training from a Montessori expert teacher from the USA.
BEST MONTESSORI SCHOOL
So from having a pioneering of 13 students in 2006, CPMS have increased their student population through the years. One of their distinction is being adjudged as the Most Trusted Montessori School in Metro Cebu by the Global Management and Excellence Awards (GLOMEA) Council.
From 2010 onwards, they were also recognized as Cebu’s Montessori of the Year by the Business Achievement and Recognition Awards (BARA) Council.
Bathan’s passion for teaching is influenced by her educator parents and while in her youth, they asked her to watch her younger siblings, which explains her being in comfort with children.
And that niece of hers which was the driving force, in her own words, the turning point in building CPMS.
She is not resting on her laurels as she have many more plans for their school.
Her “Aha” moment notwithstanding, Marivic Evanglista Bathan had surely arrived after her departure from the prestigious Punongbayan and Araullo auditing firm and her two other earlier jobs one of which got her the resources in opening the CPMS.
Call it intertwined, one of her former endeavors was teaching in a university which required her to have a masters which then prompted her to enroll as Masters in Montessori.
MONTESSORI WITH A HEART
Looking back, what Bathan had is indeed a Montessori that is suitable for the development of children.
They are honed and trained to be better persons and molded in a holistic approach to become brilliant individuals.
In hindsight, that was a dream that was made a reality, and, what is certain, all of them passed in one portal, it is called, Children’s Paradise Montessori School (CPMS), truly a Montessori – with a heart for children.