Laudato Si Basic Education Curriculum Integration As A Mark of Catholic Schools Standards Amidst the Forces of Climate Change 
Rev. Fr. Elpidio D. Biliran Jr.

M.A. in Educational Leadership
Director, RCAMES Cluster 8 Schools
Manila Ecclesiastical Parochial Schools Systems Association

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The April 2019 seminar-workshop entitled the “Tipping Point, On Reverse? Living out Learning Plans Within and Beyond Classrooms in Asia” was a response to the call of nations for climate change mitigation measures and most of all, of Pope Francis who in May 2015, addressed all of humankind to take care of our common home. It was attended by at least 100 teachers and administrators of MaPSA- and CEAP- member schools who responded to the invitation of His Eminence Cardinal Tagle, for catholic schools to recognize the urgency of learning how to teach children take care of Mother Earth in order to protect and sustain human life. 


The Philosophical and Psychological Foundations of the Tipping Point Seminar Workshop in Understanding the Nature of the Child
How a child is made to think and feel about himself as he sees the world through his experiences at home and in the environment outside his home like the school, may define his view of life in his adult years. If all that he experiences at home and in school is about violence, the child may learn to believe that the world is cruel and must be controlled, if not destroyed. 


Erik Erikson and Jean Piaget
A child is most pliant during the first 8 -12 years of his life. These years are said to be most crucial in the formation of the human person as highlighted by Erik Erikson in his psychosocial development theory and Jean Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development theory. 


Aristotle and  John Locke.
Classical philosophers like Aristotle in his De Anima proposed that the mind upon birth is a “blank writing tablet, emphasizing that those faculties of the mind or soul are only potential or inactive before receiving ideas from the senses, respond to the ideas through an intellectual process, and convert them into knowledge”. John Locke in the 17th century argued for the mind’s initial resemblance to “white paper, void of all characters, with all the materials of reason and knowledge derived from experience... “.  

Pope Francis’ Laudato Si.
Pope Francis in his encyclical the Laudato Si stresses that to save humanity, everyone, including children, must take care of our common home. 


The Legal Foundations of the Seminar-Workshop


The 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Our fundamental law, the 1987 Philippine Constitution particularly in Article XV, Sec 3.2  mandates the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development. This provision presents as paramount, the protection of the child, his family, and the ecological environment that he is part of.  

R. A. 9729, the Climate Change Act.
The child needs to live in an ecology that is healthy and free from all forms of hazards and danger. R.A. 9729, the Climate Change Act, in its Sec. 2 Declaration of Policy that states: it is the policy of the State to afford full protection and the advancement of the right of the people to a healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. 
Further, RA 9729  Sec. 15 (a) states that the Department of Education (DepED) shall integrate climate change into the primary and secondary education curricula and/or subjects, such as, but not limited to, science, biology, sibika, history, including textbooks, primers and other educational materials, basic climate change principles and concepts. This law mandates that basic education schools need to integrate in the Pre K -12 curriculum, the guiding principles of and methodologies in taking care of our common home with the child as the center. 


The Universal Standards of Excellence of Catholic Schools
The central point of catholic basic education is the formation of the Child of God, the DepEd uses the phrase: the formation of the whole child. 
Catholic schools are committed to develop persons who value themselves and the world as God's gifts to them. As such these sacred gifts are worth protecting, preserving and sharing at the service of making God's Kingdom reign on earth.

The Defining Characteristics of Catholic Schools flow directly from “The Holy See’s Teaching in Catholic Schools 2006, as compiled by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, and from statements by Pope Benedict XVI and the American bishops. The characteristics indicate the deep Catholic identity of Catholic schools that serve as the platform on which their standards  rest in 5 dimensions, such as: 


        - Mission and Catholic Identity
        - Governance and Leadership
        - Academic Excellence
        - Operational Vitality
        - Research-based, Responsive, and Relevant


The National Catholic Education Association in the US with at least 150,000 active members, promotes the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS), published in 2012 to serve as both a guide and assessment tool for Pre K-12 Catholic school effectiveness and sustainability.  They include research-based school effectiveness criteria, as well as criteria unique to Catholic school mission and identity. The NSBECS rests on the conviction that adhering to these standards with fidelity results to sustaining highly effective Catholic schools.


The CEAP- MaPSA Philippine Catholic Schools Standards (PCSS)
Carrying on the banner of catholic schools excellence in the Philippines is the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (of which the Manila Ecclesiastical Parochial Schools Association is a member). It is composed of catholic universities, colleges, and basic education schools of the country. It has published the Philippine Catholic School Standards (PCSS) in accordance with the global standards set by the Pope. 

There are 9 benchmarks of catholic schools on which the curriculum of catholic formation rests and from which the core values of catholic schools are drawn such as:
        -Centered in the person of Jesus Christ 
        - Contributing to the evangelizing mission of the church
        - Distinguished by research-based excellence
        - Committed to educate the whole child
        - Steeped in a catholic world view 
        - Sustained by Gospel Witness 
        - Shaped by communion and community
        - Accessible to all students 
        - Established by the authority of the Bishop


The CEAP JEEPGY Advocacy Manual
The CEAP has published the JEEPGY Manual. This manual presents the orientation framework of living out the core values of catholic education by upholding and actively advocating in human relationships: Justice, Ecological Integrity, Engaged Citizenship, Poverty Alleviation, Gender Equality, and Youth Empowerment. These advocacies are aligned with the core values of the DepEd: MakaDiyos, MakaTao, MakaBansa, and MakaKalikasan. 

In the absence of guided attention, the philosophical, legal, and moral perspectives in upholding the standards of catholic schools amidst the demands of climate change and taking care of Mother Earth and her resident- human cultures can be exhausting: cognitively, psychologically, and even spiritually on the part of the managers of basic education.

 Learning how to teach children to cope with natural disasters and social unrest can be a painful stretch of knowledge and patience among teachers, parents, and students in basic education schools. 
The Tipping Point, On Reverse? Seminar-workshop was an experience that proved effective in helping teachers rationalize their tasks against prescribed standards of excellence in responding to the call of rallying together in taking care of our ourselves and Mother Earth in school and beyond.

With my Assistant Director, Fr. Solomon Jardinero, on behalf of RCAMES Cluster 8, the organizational lead convenor of the Tipping Point, On Reverse? Seminar workshop, I highlight the immense social and material capital that our collaborators invested on the success of the seminar-workshop. 

I thank with deep appreciation, His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, for his transformational leadership in promoting Laudato Si Awareness in Schools as President of MaPSA  (shown in his mandate for a 3-day Laudato Si Seminar-Workshop, penned by Rev. Fr. Nolan Que, PhD, the Chair of the MaPSA Commission on Curriculum and Instruction). I appreciate deeply, the lively presence of the delegates from the participating MaPSA-CEAP schools, our partners in the Department of Education, Bureau of Learning Delivery and the DepEd Division of Bohol Camayaan National High School, the Philippine College of Physicians, the SOARZM International Regenerative Development Company with the Philippine Association of Researchers and Statistical Software Users (PARSSU) and the MaPSA Executive Secretariat, the Global Climate Change Movers – Asia, and the Democratic Kingdom of Bhutan: The 4 Pillars of Gross National Happiness, through Mr. Sonam Tobgye. We thank Most Rev. Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr. for his lecture on Laudato Si for Humanity, An Expression of Faith and Culture, and Msgr. Manuel Gabriel for redefining Religion as the Core of the Curriculum; and lastly but not the least, Atty. Dominador Buhain, Living Patriarch of REX Bookstore, the educational publisher that again showed during the 3-day-event a hands-on advocacy in taking care of our common home.  


The Laudato Si Schools.
RCAMES Cluster 8 is pleased to be informed that Pope Francis has marked May 2020 to May 2021 as the Laudato Si Jubilee for the Earth Year. He will specially recognize Laudato Si Schools that are concretely active in the implementation of the Laudato Si Multi-Year Development Roll-Out Plan that intends to see its fruition by year 2028. 


Regenerative Development Projects 
An Araling Panlipunan and Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics  Sourcebook, a Journal and Learners’ - Teachers’ Guide with the theme “Caring for Our Common Home” will be launched in collaboration with REX Book Store, by May 2021 for all basic education schools in the Philippines. The Sourcebook will also serve as a reference manual for Local Government Units in collaboration with local community schools and colleges in formulating and implementing the Municipal and City Comprehensive Land Use and Forest Use Plans that roll out medium- to long term programs in caring for human communities, protecting local cultures, and ecological environments. 

My dear colleagues in basic education,  let us work together in this…
so we can confidently say: YES!!! We helped in putting the Tipping Point on Reverse!