MLAC’s First Summer Internship Program
by Chris and Olive Carandang
May 11, 2015 marked the beginning of MLAC’s first summer internship program. The program, which ran for two months, focused primarily on one of MLAC’s core advocacies, that is, to build caring communities through mindful parenting and play. More concretely, it sought the accomplishment of three interrelated objectives: to provide close supervision and training to undergraduate and graduate Psychology students; to use play as a form of intervention as well as a means of examining a child’s psychosocial processes; and, lastly, to generate research on the value and effectiveness of play.
This project entailed a close collaboration with Mr. Edsel Ramirez, President of Philippine Toy Library, Ms. Gemma Mendoza, Project Coordinator of Barangay Loyola Heights, and the families from the Barangay Loyola Heights community. Mr. Caesar Marquez, Barangay Captain of Loyola Heights, also offered valuable help by approving the regular use of the barangay’s Toy Library during the course of the program.
MLAC’s Practicum Supervisors, Dr. Chris and Dr. Olive Carandang, trained and closely supervised eight undergraduate Psychology students from Miriam College along with two volunteer graduate Psychology students (one from Miriam and one from UP Diliman). The undergraduate students’ training included workshops on interviewing and listening skills as well as the basics of free play guided by Dr. Honey Carandang’s Child-Directed Play Therapy (CDPT) approach. This was also the first time that the MLAC Institute offered a program for undergraduate Psychology students.
To launch the collaborative project with the Barangay Loyola Heights community and Philippine Toy Library, a parenting seminar entitled, “Paano Maging Mahusay na Magulang?” was held on May 13, 2015. Dr. Honey Carandang, the event’s main speaker, discussed helpful guidelines on effective parenting. Families from Loyola Heights’ nearby communities, namely, Park 7, Marytown, Daang Tubo and Rona’s Garden, participated in the seminar. During the event, the mothers eagerly asked questions about discipline, computer addiction, self-care and other parenting-related topics. They were also given a chance to share their stories with other mothers during the small group discussion facilitated by MLAC team members and two graduate students from Miriam College. It was also through this event that the children who took part in the subsequent free play sessions were selected.
The succeeding weeks were charged with the vibrant atmosphere of play. The MLAC interns conducted regular free play sessions guided by the principles of CDPT. Each intern partnered with a child from the community, a number of whom were also present in the parenting seminar held the previous week. Practicum supervision continued through the weekly intensive clinicing sessions as well as the careful observation and guidance of the interns during each free play session. Each session teemed with joyful and inspiring encounters with the children, and, as a fitting conclusion to weeks of play, a culminating celebration was held at Jollibee Katipunan on June 23, 2015. This was to show gratitude and recognize the commitment of the mothers, children, interns and other people who each played a vital role in making the project a deeply meaningful one.
Pictures c/o MLAC Interns & Chris and Olive Carandang 🙂