School-Age Children’s Program

In the Classroom

The classes at IP involve four different subject areas:

  • Folk Music – In their music classes, the children learn Pilipino folk songs, play indigenous and ethnic Pilipino string and percussion instruments, and perform as a group at all school and outside functions.  Students who are currently taking music lessons and can read notes are encouraged to participate in the rondalla.
  • Folk Dance – Since folk dancing is an expression of a people’s ethnicity, this class seeks to incorporate the study of culture, music, geography and regional lifestyles in its dance repertoire.  The children also develop body coordination and graceful movement by learning intricate dance steps in traditional folk dances.  In addition to this, dancing helps them gain self-confidence through public performances.
  • Language & Culture – In Language & Culture, emphasis is placed on the teaching of similarities and differences between the American and Philippine culture and values.  The objective of this emphasis is to help the children appreciate their parents’ upbringing and cultural background, and to use this appreciation in forming their own values as adults in the greater community. This class involves Philippine history, geography and literature.
  • Arts & Crafts – The Arts & Crafts program involves the teaching of how to make native handicrafts using motifs and materials from the Philippines.  An example of this would be the parol, a Pilipino Christmas lantern which the children can use during the annual Christmas Program and for decorating their homes during the holidays.  The children make most of the props and accessories needed for the school’s performances.  In addition to learning how to create native handicrafts, this class also includes cooking ethnic dishes, which helps develop their own tastes and preferences.

A core or basic curriculum framework is consistently followed in each subject area.  Students are assigned to one of four classes and are grouped by age with a cohort of peers.  Age ranges can vary for each class depending on the demographics of the students enrolled in IP each year.

Generally, students are divided into the following four groups:









Gr 1-2

Gr 3-5

Gr 6-8

Gr 9-12

Pre-school age children with older siblings attending IP are welcome to join IP sessions with the caveat that the Ilang-Ilang class will be advanced for most pre-school children without some supervision.  Pre-school children can join the Ilang-Ilang class while accompanied by a parent or guardian to assist the child in class activities.  When the enrollment of pre-school age children reaches a reasonable class-size, IP will try to accommodate the group by creating special age-appropriate classes for the youngest students called “Binhi.”

To enhance the curriculum for long-term students, a new theme is selected every year.  This theme is integrated into all the subject areas.  Many themes have been regional (the Lumad people or non-Christian tribes, the Muslim culture and the Christians in the lowlands, etc.).  For example:  If the theme is about the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera Mountain Range of Northern Luzon, the dance class may be learning Kalinga dances; the music class may be learning Ifugao chants; arts and crafts may be making handicrafts from the region, such as weaving Bontoc patterns or making traditional Benguet cultural clothing; language and culture class may be studying the customs, traditions and history of the indigenous ethnic groups in the region.  IP has repeated regional themes in past years, but lessons are designed for age-appropriate exploration.  Lower school students may have an introduction to the theme, while upper school students may move beyond introductory concepts to more complex historical, environmental, and sociological dynamics. Themes may also be topical, such as Philippine values, or a theme on the various countries that have influenced the Philippine culture.

School Calendar

IP meets every other Sunday afternoon from the last week of September to the last week of May for a maximum of 18 sessions.  A school year calendar is released at the start of each year.  The following are special events during the year:

  • Christmas Program/Party – To celebrate the holidays the students perform in a Christmas program, sing Philippine and English Christmas songs, present dances and exchange gifts with their classmates.
  • Tea Musicale The Tea Musicale is an opportunity to showcase the students’ talents in different aspects of arts and entertainment.
  • Palaro Olympics This is a fun day for the children where they engage in a friendly competition while learning and playing Filipino games.  See Family Activities below.
  • NEFFA Every year in April since the school started in 1976, IP students have participated in the New England Folk Festival.  Each group – Ilang-Ilang, Sampagita, Bonifacio, and Rizal – presents a dance that they have learned in their dance class.  The occasion gives them an opportunity to share their Philippine cultural heritage with other ethnic groups in the festival and learn about dances from other countries.   See Family Activities below.
  • Graduation – Graduation is held in May during the last session of the school year.  Graduation day is a school-wide event where students in all class groups showcase what they learned during the year for their families in a special performance.  Since 1987, IP has said goodbye to our graduating seniors with a special ceremony.  Seniors meeting requirements for consistent participation in IP receive a plaque commemorating their graduation from IP.

Class Schedule

IP sessions start with a general assembly with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem followed by announcements usually related to the day’s schedule or about upcoming school activities.  Sessions run for four hours.  The four classes (Ilang-Ilang, Sampagita, Bonifacio and Rizal) rotate around the four subject areas in forty-minute periods with a twenty-minute break for the Pilipino snack time called  “merienda.”  Class schedules are released each year.