Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trial Class at Cambridge Binondo

One fine afternoon last March, I visited my friend at her office tagging along my toddler just to have a short play time with her toddler. Then just before we part our ways, I thought of dropping by Cambridge since it's just within their building. We went together to check out the place and inquire for the rates as well. The complete name of the school is Cambridge Child Development Centre, a Singapore International Preschool. 

March 26. Two toddlers playing at the 'outdoor' playground of Cambridge.

Upon entering the class area, the toddlers ran loose towards the outdoor playground while the mommies were attended by Teacher Kevin to discuss their curriculum and fees. I personally felt excited while he was showing to us a photo album of students in action and how they conduct their class. Their approach is Project-Based Ecological Model or PBEM for short. I wasn't able to observe this during the 3-day trial class but you can research more about it here.

So we went there March 26 and because the summer class will be starting soon, April 6 right after the Holy Week, we weren't allowed to schedule a trial class already. The next available schedule was on May 4 which means our April will be vacant. Anyway, we were told to bring a pair of slippers, toothbrush and toothpaste and a set of clothes. 

Fast forward to our first day of trial. We came in 15 minutes late despite that it's a 10-minute walk from our place. I'm actually the one excited since it's my first time as a mom to bring my child to a school. It's quite challenging to wake a toddler up, rush her to eat breakfast, change clothes and prepare her baon. Upon arriving at the center, everybody was busy since the sessions have already started. Baby A was assigned at the toddler class, separated from my friend's toddler. 

The whole time I accompanied my toddler inside and observed the surrounding, from the students, teachers, materials, lessons, teaching method and of course Baby A's reaction and performance.

May 4, 2015. Day 1 of the trial class.
Circle Time 

The first thing that I noticed was the class is just a handful. They started the class with action songs to engage the small kids and to warm them up. The teacher assigned to her class is Teacher Nicole, or T. Nicole for short. She was one of the Chinese teachers so they were conversed and taught with both English and Chinese songs and lessons.

Their syllabus

As expected, my curious 28-month old toddler won't sit still. She roamed around the class area and started tinkering with the materials on the shelves while the kids participated. One by one the kids shifted their attention to Baby A and so the teacher stood up and got them back.

Activity Time

Next, they were told to sit on their respective chairs (their chairs have names) and were given an activity sheet to color. The school is not very particular with how completely the activity was done as long as the kid made some markings on the paper, that will suffice. Then they were told to get any material from the shelves, play with it and return it after use. As I observed, my toddler wants to grab what the other kids have been playing but the teacher told her to wait for her turn. This is also where she learned to pack away and to share the materials with her classmates.   

Wooden Knobbed Cylinders

This is the portion where they learn the lessons attached or hung on the white board. In this photo, they sang the sounds of the alphabet.

Baby is attentively listening to the teacher.

Snack Time

It's almost snack time but before eating, they were told to fall in line to wash their hands. They were asked to remove their slippers before entering the 'outdoor' playground where the wash room is located.

Then after returning to their class area, they all went to their respective seats for merienda time. They were told to put their hands on their lap first and wait until everybody has food on their plates. Again, Baby A went ahead and took a bite on her biscuit. Hehe! 

May 5, 2015. Day 2 at Cambridge Binondo trial class.

Their cute serving of champorado.

I was disappointed on her first day's snack as the serving was just really small, around three spoons only. But I think it's the routine or habit they're teaching and also to avoid wastage if the kid doesn't liked the food. Anyway, they are allowed to have a second round if the kid would ask for it. I was amazed that her classmates, all younger than her, knows how to clean up after eating. They were taught to bring their plates, cups, place mats to the bus tray and to tuck their chairs. It's so cute watching them.

Their snack schedule for the month of May

They were asked to fall in line once again to brush their teeth. I was amazed with their miniature wash room as their sink and toilet is custom-made just for little kids. Baby A, seeing other kids doing their routines, also started following them.

Upon returning to their class area, they were told to get their bags from the cubby hole (these were also labeled with their names) for changing of clothes. The teacher assisted them on this. Another thing that amazes me was they were taught how to fold their clothes and put back inside their bags. You really can't imagine how a toddler could do so much.

May 6, 2015. Day 3 of trial class.

The session doesn't end here. After washing up, the last portion is their reading time while seated on the floor mats. Another teacher came in, Teacher Jessie, to read them a book of their choice from the book shelf selection.

Based on my observation of Baby A, she is a strong-willed kid. It's quite hard to discipline her for now, maybe because it's her first time to be in a school. She strives to get what she wants like for example every time they pass by the outdoor playground, she is immediately distracted by the slide and other toys, and doesn't want to go back to the class area anymore. Haha!

My toddler's favorite spot, the playground!

Anyway on Day 3, the teacher told me to stay outside so they can better assess Baby A when I'm not beside her. And I knew it, she cried as loud as she could while we were being separated. I sat at the waiting area, my heart pounding as I hear her non-stop wailing for almost an hour! I asked the help of the 'tita', or in-house nanny, to take a video or photo of her using my phone so I could see what's happening. Even the guard consoled me that all kids were like that during their first few times. Some even cried for a week or two, as he mentioned. I'm thankful that the teacher were very kind to carry Baby A while they take care of the other kids.

Here's my Baby A upon exiting on her last day of trial class. My heart was filled with excitement when I saw my daughter coming out running towards my direction. But before leaving the center, the teacher would assist the kids in changing their shoes before handing them to the parent or guardian.

I love that their shoe racks were labeled with the kids' names. Very neat and orderly.

And finally Teacher Mel, the Center Directress discussed with me Baby A's assessment report and was recommended for Nursery 1A. I'm happy with what was written in the report despite her being stubborn sometimes.

This is what was written in her Student Assessment Report:
1. Shows interest in manipulating materials such as shapes puzzle, knobbed cylinder and transferring pompoms.
2. Follows class routine such as washing of hands, cleaning up, tucking of chair.
3. Dances along with Teacher during Circle Time.
4. Asks permission from Teacher before getting materials and borrowing from classmates.
5. Waits for her turn in using materials.

Overall, I really liked their teaching method as they focus more on disciplining and molding the kids' character with their daily routines. They practice the Montessori-way and individualized learning where each one is being assessed uniquely based on the kids' developmental needs. 

I guess you are eager to know how much the tuition fee is. So sad we can't enroll her here because of the hefty price tag amounting to P104,328 annually (10 months); semi-annual at P55,836 (5 months); P28,701 quarterly and P11,686 monthly. This is for Nursery 1 & 2. They have 2 time slots: 8:30am-11:30am or 12:00nn to 3:00pm.

To know more about Cambridge Binondo:

Address: Unit 201 State Center Condominium, Juan Luna Street, Binondo, Manila
Phone Numbers: 241-6051; 241-3371
Email Address:

Please feel free to share your experience too!

Mommy Sally


  1. My son has classmates who came from cambridge binondo. Parang sikat siya sa area nyo noh? :) You're homeschooling baby A na? Kami after we had trial at Cambridge also naisip ko na kayang kaya ko din yung tinuturo nila hehe. Kaya lang that time I was preggy with baby number 2 so isip ko when I give birth I won't be able to make tutok on his studies na with the new baby.

    1. Hi Mommy Cheryl, thank you for your comment. Medyo sikat naman since konti lang school dito sa Binondo area na non-traditional. Trying to homeschool informally si Baby A hehe :)

  2. Hi Mommy Cheryl, ako honestly excited lang kc sobrang galing ni baby sa alphabet and nursery rhymes, she's just turning 2 on April, so sa toddler sya,would you know how much for toddlers?