Saturday, January 21, 2017

Where little beans grow

 “Where little beans grow”
Sun.Star Davao, Jan 21, 2017

Moving to Davao from Chicago in 2015 was a smooth transition for Wen Jen Chang-Go, thanks to family, friends and technology.

“I find Davao to be fun!  The pace is slower and people are much happier than Chicago.  I get excited for Kadayawan and look forward to the amazing fresh fruits that are available here.  It is interesting to see the city change and boom with all the new opportunities.  The aspect of heat has been a hard adjustment though.  During the winter in the U.S., I long for the warm sun to shine and chase away the bone-wrenching cold.  Now that I have experienced heat during brownouts, I just wish that Davao could be a bit cooler.  Just can’t have everything!”, giggles Wen.

Married to Davao-born businessman Jonathan Go, Wen finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois. After the birth of her daughter, she focused heavily on the importance of early education. She then took further studies and received a Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola University Maryland and a Montessori diploma from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in 2015.

Learning by doing

Last year, Wen opened Little Bean, a Montessori school along Sobrecarey St., Davao City.

“The Montessori method is an approach to education.  It stimulates children to learn by doing. Its classroom is a prepared environment with educational materials designed to capture the child’s interest. The child's innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained teacher. Through their work, children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline”, explains Wen.
Little Bean’s Montessori classroom is a mixed age classroom with children ranging from 2.5 – 6 years old.  It currently offers morning classes from 8:30-11:30 am.

“The average Montessori class is around 25-30 students.  However, Little Bean is a small and intimate school so the class size is around 10-15 students a year”, shares the mother of one.

Little Bean is now accepting students for the next school-year as well as summer classes in July 2017.  It also offers one-on-one tutorial for pre-school and grade school students as well as Chinese classes for ages 3-6.

Beauty of Montessori

There are three basic components to a classroom: the teacher, the students, and the curriculum.  The Montessori curriculum is effective because it focuses on concrete learning activities that are truly designed to meet the physiological and neurological needs at each stage of development.

According to Teacher Wen, the beauty of the Montessori curriculum is that it is customized for each child.  It follows the interest of the child and work through different areas.
Through Practical Life activities, children acquire many daily living skills: caring for themselves and their environment.  These activities improve their powers of concentration and fine motor development. On the other hand, interaction with sensorial activities enable the children to experience the world through their senses, in a manner that establishes the physical and mental foundation for further learning.  

Meanwhile, through a variety of language activities and materials, children integrate sounds and the associated symbols and begin the processes of reading and writing. In addition, children begin to explore mathematical relationships by manipulating concrete materials that are designed to isolate a concept and prepare them for abstract reasoning.  The goal of the program is for each child to develop a love of numbers, problem-solving strategies, and computational skills.

Furthermore, considerable emphasis is placed on Creative Arts, Music, Science, Geography, and Cultural Studies.
Time to shine
By being a teacher, Teacher Wen says that she feels privileged to be a part of each child’s life, and to have the opportunity to guide the child to utilize his/her own powers.  She intimates that the most fulfillment she gets from teaching are the split-second moments.   When she observes her students, and sees that they figured out how something works, they change. “There is this brilliant facial change full of excitement and joy.  I will never get enough of these precious moments. Education is fun!”, enthuses Wen.

“There are a couple of reasons why I love the name Little Bean.  I am from Chicago and the iconic Cloud Gate in Millennium Park is often referred to as “The Bean.”  I am a little bean who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and my fondest memories remain in my hometown.  I also love the name because when you look at a bean it is just an ordinary bean among all the other beans, but when you give the bean the best environment to thrive, the bean becomes a strong and beautiful plant that is able to impart love, wisdom and peace to future generations”, reflects Wen.

“As a farmer plants a bean, we wait, wait and wait for the bean to grow.  Let’s not rush and stress about education and rankings.  Each plant has its own time to shine and blossom”, reminds Wen.

Little Bean Montessori School is located at #15 Door 1 Sobrecarey Street, Davao City/Email address:; Facebook:; and contact numbers: 0925-388-1264/284-9086.

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