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Playing to Learn – FundLife Strenghten DepEd partnership through series of learning seminars

A total of 104 teachers, Leaders, and Administrators from 10 public schools from the Department of Education under Tacloban City and Leyte Division participated the Workshop/Training conducted by two education specialist volunteers in partnership with FundLife International last Feb. 15, 19 and 20, 2019 at Tacloban City.

The activity was aimed to strengthen the partnership between FundLife and public schools all over the region and to share best practices, including the use of play for more effective classroom learning for children.

Feb 15 and 19, 2019

​"This kind of activity for teachers is really helpful. It brings us outside the four corners of our classroom and offices, it refreshes our minds. We are being reminded about our real purpose as teachers, and that is to provide our learners with the best learning experience that we could offer. The fun that we experienced while we learn from each other keeps us back on track. As we return to our own schools we again have the focus needed as an effective teacher and that is to put the learners at the center of what we are doing.” Mr. Jet Cańanes said, Sports Coordinator of Palo National High School.

The teachers were also given a chance to play Futsal with the assistance of the FFLA coaches who took the initiative of filling in information to the teachers who were interested in playing the sport.

“I agree that using play activities to teach children the skills that we are expected to teach them is better because aside from they enjoy it a lot, it is experiential learning thus retention of knowledge is stronger." Pol Tayanes told us, a teacher, from Tanauan School of Craftsmanship and Home Industries.

"Incorporating play in our lessons is very important because it helps the kids healthy and it helps us maintain their focus on the lesson. As we all know one of our challenges nowadays is the span of our learners focus so if you use a method like play. Kids always pay attention when you say that you are going to play. It always excites them and keeps their interest to listen to us." Ms. Amie Vinas explained, MAPEH teacher in PNHS

As all participants share their goals on how to increase play in their respective schools, the goals of the FundLife’s program, Football for Life Academy was revisited.

"I am very thankful that FundLife granted my request to cover our school for FFLA program because as the Futsal coordinator I didn't know anything about the sports, especially that my specialization is Social Studies. With the support of the FFLA coaches, I saw the impact it brought to our players and for our school. We were able to establish a strong girl's futsal team who every year keeps on winning tournaments. The titles that they are winning keeps on getting higher just this year we won Bronze during the city meet to think that when we started we ranked 7th, who knows next year we will win Gold. I am so proud because these girls are not only striving to win for their own selves but they also bring pride for San Jose National High School." said Genalyn Go, a teacher in Social Studies.

Other teachers also shared the positive impact of FFLA as observed in their students’ academic performance and character improvement.

"There are good effects of the program but as we move forward we need to look into how we can improve some of the gaps during the implementation. There are schools who had good practices and we can replicate what they have been doing especially in terms of monitoring and evaluating the children under the program. This way we can use this in our own development programs for the children.” Mr. Jet Cańanes said.

"The partnership that we have with FundLife is strong. The teachers, our school head and the parents of the children under the program embraces FFLA. Everyone has a role, the player, me, our principal and even the parents. There is a constant exchange of information and we made sure that there really is development. For the players, we set a baseline of grade that they should maintain. I don't oblige them to be top of their classes but I encourage them to do their best. We use the program as a motivation for the children to perform well in class. If they do well in class they will be chosen to compete in tournaments and it is effective based on our experience in TSCHI. As a matter of fact, during the athletic meet in Kanangga Leyte the boys won the silver medal and now some of them were chosen to play for the regional meet this coming March 2019." Mr. Rufino Almaden, Football coordinator, and teacher in Science discussed.

As the activities finally touched the brainstorming about the sustainability of the FFLA program a list of recommendation was came up which will be the agreed basis of the adjustments in the FFLA programming in the coming school year.

"You should remember that FundLife is present now in your school to provide support. With this partnership, the school, teachers, parents, and children should also take part in the program implementation. This way the schools would be able to slowly build your own strong structure that will be able to sustain the program because this is one of the factors that you need to look into the sustainability. So don't stop playing, continue what you are doing. Let the children play, “ Mr. Jan Tomas, workshop/training facilitator, said during the discussions

Feb. 20, 2019

​With the success of the FFLA implementation in the covered schools, the DepEd Tacloban Division requested FundLife to cover five new schools where most are located in the northern part of Tacloban.

The schools were chosen because their enrollees came from marginalized communities. Also based on the assessment of the division these are the schools who have a big population with only limited programs or intervention that could cater to children with diverse capacities like a sports program.

School heads, sports coordinators and teachers got to the venue earlier than what was expected to wear their best sports attire.

“Yes, I’m wearing a sports attire today because according to the information sent to us we will be having a lot of play activities as you see all of us are very much ready and excited to play,” said Ferrari Jane Velasco a MAPEH teacher in San Jose Central School.

The participants were much focused when FundLife and its programme, FFLA was introduced to them. Some expressed their curiosity as to how the organization effectively uses Play as a medium to improve the academic performance of children and how it helps to mold each child’s values.

“FundLife uses play as a way to help children develop a deeper understanding of their selves, their strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities that they can use to improve their capabilities. Through different kinds of play activities, we expose them to different situations which in turn helps them to learn a lot of skills that they need to become more resilient and be able to cope up with adversities in the future and compete with the demands of the world. Through football, futsal, games, workshops, and training that we have been doing with these children now, you'll see how focused they are in achieving their goals. They use their failures to create a better version of themselves and even help the organization inspire more children.”- Kimberly Lopez, Operations manager answered one of the teacher’s curiosity about the organization.

“I worked with FundLife during the emergency response to Yolanda and I experienced first-hand the positive changes brought about by the program to the children and their families. It is great to see that you are now stepping up and working hand in hand with DepEd because I am sure that with this partnership you'll have a bigger impact on a lot more children," a teacher and sports coordinator of Northern Tacloban City National High School (NTCNHS) and former Capacity Building participant, Mr. Paul Lora, agreed. After more discussions about the opinions of teachers in using play as a tool for learning they were gathered in the activity area to play some games like – Identifying the Philippine islands using hoops, The Boatman, The dragon tail and Dodgeball. “This game (Identifying the Philippine Islands) is good especially for teachers teaching social studies because the students will only not enjoy playing like taking other islands but they will also learn because while they are moving they are identifying what islands were they able to invade. It also enhances the children agility and alertness,” said Friendly Ponferrada, a teacher for Kapuso Village Integrated School.

All the participants including the coaches gave shared ideas on how to improve the games that they played.

As an assessment, the participants were asked to create lesson plans for Mathematics, Filipino, English, Science and Social Studies which they also demonstrated.

"Incorporating play in your lesson plans even just in your motivation, presentation or evaluation will really help ease the boredom of the students. It keeps all the minds of the students working because there is a challenge because there is fun." Justine Carl Docil, a teacher in NTCNHS

Although everyone agrees that integrating play in the regular lesson is effective there are still challenges that hinder the teachers in using this method such as workload, time, availability of space and other resources needed.

"Ideally we want to create lesson plans that result to effective learning; where our students will not only learn but also enjoy and have fun but we cannot deny the fact that there are challenges in the actual school setting but teachers it is our duty to overcome this. We need to use our commitment and passion in teaching to provide a relevant education." Mr. Paul Lora, a teacher in NTCNHS

In the final discussion about the possibility of FFLA implementation in the five schools, all teachers agreed that the program will be a big help not only for the school but most especially to their students. They also emphasized their willingness to take the responsibilities required from them to ensure the sustainability of the program.

"We at San Fernando Central School confidently say that we can commit to working with FundLife to implement the FFLA program in our school. We have a lot of students whom we can include as beneficiaries, we have available space and us teachers can help take responsibility in carrying over the tasks that we need to do as a counterpart.” Jane Anes Conde, Sports Coordinator of San Fernando Central School.

The activity concluded with a revised Memorandum of Undertaking subject for approval of the Schools Division Superintendent.

“As educators like us who strive to develop each child's intellectual, social, emotional and physical abilities let us all be playful in creating an environment that encourages positive learning. With the support of FundLife, we hope to see children becoming healthier, happier and much ready to take on life." Mr. Melvin Limbaga, teacher, Guadalupe Heights Integrated School.

Thank you teachers for your participation, and the sharing of your ideas and expertise.

​We were thrilled to meet you all.

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