The Fairplay School is a happier, more effective learning environment for students in Payatas, one of the largest and poorest slums in the Philippines. Our study revealed that 79% of the students have suffered childhood trauma levels that put them at-risk (4 or more of the 10 categories in the Adverse Childhood Experiences study). This is compared with 6% in the US (Felitti), and 9% in Quezon City, Manila. We can make a better school for these students and show a better way for many more.
Throughout the Philippines 50% of children drop out of school (Nava, 2009). Schools in Payatas, one of the largest and poorest students in the Philippines, regularly have 60-80 kids in one classroom. Students here regularly complain about being hit by teachers too who are overworked, under-trained, and underpaid. Students we work with have experienced very high levels of childhood trauma, and are scared to go to school. They need an alternative, because one size doesn't fit all.
We have built the first Democratic School in the Philippines. The students have a say in how the school is run. Here we focus on emotional intelligence first, knowing that when the students are allowed to develop their self-esteem and internal motivation everything else will follow. In the last quarter, our students scored 15% higher on the Functional Literacy Test (the test used for the Alternative Learning System). This is the equivalent, roughly, of catching up 1 school grade in 3 months.
In 2018 we will have 60 full-time students and begin creating adult learning classes for adults who dropped out of school and didn't graduate. We are looking to create a better alternative to the government schools in the community. We are looking to show that our way is cheaper, more effective (the children learn more and learn faster), and happier too. This model can then be replicated in other areas.