Before eating his peanut butter sandwich, four-year-old Lucas Badajos said a little prayer.
?Lord, please help Silver feel better. Lord, please protect her and keep her from getting sick,? he prayed for a classmate who had just been brought to the clinic.
Badajos is a Nursery 3 student of Leaders International Christian School (LICS) in Taguig City.
Prayer is an integral part of LICS education. Badajos was the prayer leader when the Inquirer visited. He first prayed for a classmate to ?become good and smart? before praying for Silver, who has autism.
Eligh Yu, academic head and owner of the school, said, ?We focus on lessons from the Bible? and their application, not on religious traditions.
Her husband Steven Ivan Yu, LICS chair, said the school aimed to produce Christian leaders with integrity.
Silver?s mother said her daughter found it difficult to socialize but they had seen improvements since she entered LICS. ?We were so happy when we saw her participating (in school activities),? she said. In the ?Leaders Wanna Be? program, Silver, dressed as a chef, sang with her classmates.
Silver has a shadow teacher, who accompanies her to class and assists other teachers in handling her special needs.
Steven said LICS accepted all kinds of students, regardless of background or religion.
Despite the name, Eligh said LICS was a nonsectarian school and not all students were Christians. ?We just teach the right values,? she said.
The classroom walls, worksheets, textbooks and storybooks all carry Bible verses.
Kathleen Robles, N3 teacher, said, ?God is part of the lesson plan.? Lessons from the Bible are integrated into classroom activities and lectures.
Every week, pupils have to memorize a Bible verse that starts with the letter chosen for the week.
For instance, when the letter of the week was M, the children recited every day of the week Proverbs 23:26, ?My son, give me thine heart.? The verse was also posted on the wall.
Eligh said, ?Knowing is not enough; you have to do it.? The teachers also taught pupils ways to apply the Bible verse by acting it in class or through photographs, she added. A picture of a person assisting someone was meant to show the meaning of the verse John 13:34, ?Love one another.?
Robles said she asked her students to hug each other to show love. Saying ?I love you,? hugging and kissing were usual at LICS, she added.
LICS uses a more personal approach. Faculty members, as well as administrators, know every pupil?s name and personality.
The school has only 25 students and two teachers are assigned to each class. N3 is the biggest class with 12 pupils while the combined K4 and K5 class is the smallest with just six.
The small size allows teachers to determine the mode of learning, visual or audio, best suited to a child.
Teacher Jun Evangeline Miguel sang the alphabet song with her N3 pupils while showing illustrations of animals. Some pupils formed letters with their hands while others swayed to the rhythm.
Shennette Hizon said her daughter Sabine, 2, enjoyed going to school. When they passed by the school on Sundays, Sabine would say, ?That?s my school. Can I go to school now??
LICS follows the A Beka Book (ABB) approach to Christian education, a Bible-based curriculum.
Robles said ABB also provided a daily lesson plan for teachers. ?We just need to present the lessons in a creative way,? she said.
Steven said the school used ABB materials such as textbooks, storybooks and music CDs shipped from the United States.
He was introduced to ABB by a friend from Dallas, Texas, when he went to a seminary there. He said his friend?s kids, who were home-schooled, were very knowledgeable and God-fearing.
The need for a Christian school here that would nourish students academically and spiritually motivated the Yus to establish LICS.
Eligh said, ?We saw the need to go back to what matters most in education?God.?
Genevieve Santamaria, mother of N3 pupil Kristine, said she liked the way LICS taught Christian values to children. ?Subtle but with impact ... it shows when she is at home,? she added.
?It?s (LICS) like a home? where parents could entrust their children, she added.
Maria Gracia Tagos, special projects teacher, said the faculty conceptualized ?Fun Friday? activities to promote independence and teach students life skills.
Eligh said pupils sold their artworks to parents and had the option to serve God by giving parts of the proceeds to church or charity, open bank accounts, or spend the money.
Lorraine Badajos, Lucas? mother said, the school ?instills leadership qualities and encourages children to take the lead.?
Each class has, aside from the prayer leader, a greetings leader, a tidy-up leader and a line leader. Teacher Carla Tagasa said the students ?will become future leaders of the country and the world. So, we teach them to put God first.?
LICS (tels. 8364535 and 4036569) is at G/F Philplans Corporate Center, North Triangle Dr., Bonifacio Global City.