A Modern San Lorenzo

The Antionette Early Learning Center, run by the Little Sisters of the Assumption, is in Malibay, Philippines, an impoverished neighborhood near the center of Metro Manila.  I would be heard pressed to find a better modern equivalent to the San Lorenzo quarter in Rome in 1907.  

These photos were taken while walking through the neighborhood.


The staff is transitioning to a Montessori curriculum and I volunteer as a consultant from time to time, answering questions and providing any other assistance they request.  These photos were taken on a Saturday when the staff gathered to make Bead materials for the classroom.  I had calculated the number of golden beads that would be required and a member of the staff had purchased the beads in bulk at an open market.

Math Materials

100 Square

In the room above the school is a workshop were parents in the neighborhood can create items to sell as a livelihood.  A few men recycle cans and solder metal to create small Jeepney replicas.  A Jeepney is the most common means of public transport here in the Philippines.

The squares of 100 and the cube of 1000 require a strip or square of metal, vinyl, or other material to hold the bars together.  (You can see a white cardboard example in the image above).  One of the metal working Jeepney experts joined us to fashion these strips and squares from metal. 

Math Materials Expert

The staff of the Antionette Early Learning Center has been very resourceful in gathering materials, but it is highly unlikely a staff member will ever be able to afford training.  Most of the people living in the neighborhood are unable to set aside the equivalent to $20 needed to open a local bank account, much less the tens of thousands of dollars to attend training.  

The future of the Antionette Early Learning Center is hopeful.  Ms Judith Gonzalez, an experienced and highly qualified Montessori Guide has begun the training of trainers, and very soon there will be an AMI trainer in the Philippines.  Living here in the Philippines and witnessing first hand the economic challenges faced by individuals in the developing world, I believe that recruiting qualified local teachers to become trainers is the best approach.



One thought on “A Modern San Lorenzo

  1. Ed, this is really great. Thanks so much for this post. I would really love for there to be more conversation about how the Montessori movement can reclaim some of its early roots like this. We’ve come a long way from San Lorenzo.

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