• O.B. Montessori History

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    Humble Beginnings

     

                O.B. Montessori Center started among the poor in 1964 when Operation Brotherhood International (OBI) then headed by Oscar Arellano, assisted in the relocation of 3,000 squatter families from Intramuros, Manila to Sapang Palay, Bulacan. Arellano invited Dr. Preciosa S. Soliven, who was then a preschool teacher in Makati and had experienced teaching in Saigon, to join OBI in their efforts to provide free education for the children while their parents were engaged in livelihood training.

                It was not long when Dr. Soliven was granted by the Italian embassy with two Montessori training scholarships for preschool (1964 – Perugia, Italy) and grade school  (1969 – Bergamo, Italy). This was followed by several grants to observe professional high schools in Italy, France, Germany, England, Denmark, Australia and USA.

                Having understood how the full potential of a nation can be unearthed by the Montessori system, Dr. Soliven opened the first O.B. Montessori Children’s House at the Syquia Apartments in Malate, Manila in 1966. The first grade school level opened in 1970 in Paco, Manila and later moved to Taft Avenue. Eventually, as the numbers increased the school moved to Sta. Ana, Manila. The Professional High School was established in 1983 upon the request of the parents of the undergraduates and was patterned after the Montessori Scuola Professionale in Italy and the various academic and technical schools Dr. Soliven visited in the USA, Europe, Canada and Australia. In 1995, O.B. Montessori College was put up with a Montessori Teacher Training course to arrest the mushrooming of false Montessori schools in the country.

     

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    Education for All

     

              So as not to overestimate nor underestimate the worthiness of the Montessori system, Dr. Preciosa S. Soliven was encouraged by the late Geny Lopez to host and script a weekly TV show for ABS-CBN. Between 1970 to 1972 the public from Luzon to Mindanao started to appreciate the system as they watched the live show of Montessori preschoolers working confidently on various activities.

              The popularity of OBMC quickly grew.  In its desire to help the less fortunate, OBMC pursued the establishment of an affordable version of Montessori preschools and named them Pagsasarili Preschools.

              The Pagsasarili Preschool program became official in 1983 when O.B. Montessori Child and Community Foundation, Inc. entered a joint project with the National Housing Authority to provide an affordable, Montessori-based education to less-privileged families in seven municipalities in Metro Manila and Cadiz, Negros Occidental.

              In 1990, the O.B. Montessori Child and Community Foundation, Inc. entered a formal agreement with DepEd Region 3 director to adopt the Pagsasarili system in the public school of Pulong-Bulo in Angeles, Pampanga and in 20 public schools in Luzon including MIMAROPA. More than a hundred are in Batangas fully supported by Governor Vilma Santos-Recto.

              To date, there are more than 200 Pagsasarili Preschools nationwide and a growing number of teacher trainees enriching young lives through the Montessori way.

     

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    Linking O.B. Montessori Projects to UNESCO

                Twenty years after she started the first O.B. Montessori school, then Foreign Affairs Secretary Salvador Laurel appointed Dr. Preciosa S. Soliven to represent the Philippines at the UNESCO in Paris, France where she was elected as member of the Executive Board.

                By 1993, the UNESCO conferred the International Literacy Award on the O.B. Montessori Pagsasarili Twin Projects (Pagsasarili and Mothercraft Training & Literacy Course for Village Mothers). Dr. Soliven’s commitment to UNESCO lasted 25 years. .

                When Dr. Soliven became Secretary General of UNESCO Philippines in 2000, she carried on with the task of spreading the Montessori system all over the country.

     

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    The Teamwork of Max and Precious

     

                Complementing the evolution of OBMC was Maximo V. Soliven’s journalistic career that started as early as 1954, a few years before he married Preciosa S. Soliven. They matched each other, one being a journalist and the other a teacher.

                Max encouraged Preciosa to travel and read a lot. Both love children. So, when Preciosa put up the first O.B. Montessori Children’s House at the Syquia Apartments in Malate, Manila, Max supported her all the way. He was the Chairman of the Board of O.B. Montessori Center.

                Max had so much faith in the Filipino.  He believed that education is the key to the progress of a nation. He considered the Montessori system as an instrument in uplifting the soul of the country.

                Max and Preciosa worked together in making OBMC known not only in the Philippines but also in the whole of Southeast Asia.

     

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    Sara Soliven De Guzman – OBMC Chief Operating Officer

     

              Dr. Soliven’s daughter, Sara Francesca followed the lifelong learning environment from preschool to high school. She is the Chief Operating Officer. “My daughter refined everything. She perfected the professionalization of the program and made it truly sustainable,” Dr. Soliven proudly says.

              Sara completed the Montessori Elementary Training Course at the Association Montessori International (AMI) Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.  She graduated from the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, California with a Bachelor of Arts degree major in Psychology and minor in Asian Pacific Studies, cum laude in 1992 and MA in Education Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She is a Philippine Star columnist and writes her column “As a Matter of Fact” every Monday.

     

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    A Trend Setter & Innovator

                Innovative programs in Food Service, Agriculture, Performing Arts and Leadership Training are based on the natural self-sufficiency of man in the four stages of human construction: infancy, childhood, adolescence to adulthood.

     

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    50 years of revolutionizing Philippine Education

     

              After five decades of nurturing lives, OB Montessori Center has become the largest Montessori-based education system in the world, having touched the lives of more than 250,000 students from preschool to senior high school; having graduated over 25,000 students who have excelled in their respective fields – the`humanities, sciences, business, politics, communications and sports.

              O.B. Montessori has gone beyond its academic programs in its five campuses: Greenhills, Sta. Ana, Las Piñas, Fairview and Angeles. It has a 32 year old Child and Community Foundation that reaches out to 200 local communities around the country through its O.B. Pagsasarili preschools.  It has a 22- year old ecumenical shrine in Palan, Zambales that was conceived to symbolize the altar of the nation. 

              As we celebrate 50 golden years of the OB Montessori experience in the Philippines, we embark on a new commitment of educating our Filipino youth to develop a greater sense of social commitment, national pride and love of country.