IN THE four corners of the small classroom, a dream was born.
For a teacher, seeing kids learning to read and write while enjoying their childhood is a fulfillment.
Emelia "Teacher Mel" M. Osa, 38, has been driven to make her dreams come true –- to finally put up a learning school that will be affordable for the parents and where children will be molded into better persons.
Mel and Teacher Joyce Rodriguez are co-owners of the Learners Ports Early Childhood Education Center, Inc. in Catalunan Grande Road, Caflor Village, Sitio Escuela, Davao City.
Since 2014, the learning center has been catering to pre-kindergarten and nursery students in the area.
Putting up a school without proper funding was the greatest challenge the founders had. The school started in 2013 but with a different name that lasted only a year.
Mel at the time was an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who just ended her contract in Korea and returned to the Philippines. As a teacher, she always had a heart for teaching children.
Joyce asked her to help her with the business since it was on the verge of closing down, and that would mean giving up on a dream.
In 2014, Mel decided to become a full-time teacher and administrator of the school with only seven kids.
“We started with seven kids only and half of it were scholars, so we are not really earning. We even have to pay bills from our own pockets,” Mel said.
The struggle did not discourage her. Instead, it challenged her to do her work better since she believed that word of mouth are powerful. Parents’ feedback made the work for them and more parents want their children enrolled in the school as they see that children from the school learn faster and excel.
“We are not a big school but we make sure to choose quality over quantity. We make sure that our children will leave our premises able to read, write and solve numbers. It is also important for us that they won’t forget being a child, they need to have fun too,” she said.
Year by year, the number of students increased. This year, they are catering to 29 kids in three sessions. The learning center is working on its accreditation with the Department of Education to be able to teach children above five years old.
With the number of students enrolling increasing, they plan to expand by adding more classrooms, facilities, and teachers.
Mel said the school is more than a business. It is a dream that is still on progress and even if they are now financially stable through higher number of students, she said that the kind of quality teaching they offer does not change.
“I will not be able to last long in this business if I do not love what I do. More than anything, it is all about passion. Business will come second since you also need to sustain the institution,” Mel said.
“Deciding to be here was a good decision, I can say. And of course, I love kids and I’m happy seeing them progress,” she added.