What is pep school v2?
PEP School v2 is a progressive, child-centred school that follows the Montessori approach to education. We are redefining the school experience to empower each child to discover and achieve their unique potential. We invest in what really matters for joyful, effective learning for each child: hiring and cultivating outstanding educators, designing thoughtful learning environments and adopting a deeply personalised approach. Recognising that children take different routes to mastery, we help craft Personalised Education Paths for each student. Our students then take charge of their own learning, set rigorous individual goals, track their progress and pursue excellence. In the process, they learn to be independent, imbibe the life skills essential for success, and develop a lifelong love for learning.
why “school v2”?
Today, schools are not much different from what they were a hundred years ago. In the last 100 years, the world has changed enormously. Yet a teacher from 1900 would not find today’s classrooms or schooling experience particularly different. Could we say the same of a doctor from 1900 entering a hospital today? The world has changed tremendously, technology has radically changed the nature of jobs, and yet our education system remains the same.
In several countries like Finland and Singapore, there has been a conscious, thoughtful approach taken towards improving schools and bringing them into the present day. However, in India, our schools rarely innovate on core educational matters; instead, they invest in opulent infrastructure and showpiece technologies that do not fundamentally improve the education experience. We believe that the time has come to upgrade schooling in India, and create a new and improved model of what schooling can be.
is pep an alternative school?
No. PEP is a Montessori school centred on the child’s learning experience, not on the convenience of adults in school (as in traditional schools). We believe that PEP School v2 is a natural and logical evolution of the existing school model.
what programs do you offer currently?
We currently offer 3 programs for children aged 15 months upwards - the toddler program, the early learning program, and the elementary program (Grades 1 - 6).
Parents also have the option to opt for an extended day-care facility.
do you offer daycare?
Yes. We offer an extended daycare facility till 6:30 pm from Monday-Friday.
when is your full school going to launch?
Grades 1 - 6 have launched and are operating from June 2018 onwards.
are you affiliated to any board?
We plan to seek affiliation with an international board (IB / IGCSE) and an Indian Board, most likely ICSE.
Montessori: Academics & Learning
what is personalised education?
It is a model of education that recognises that children learn differently and have different interests and abilities — this is in stark contrast to what happens in most schools today, where students of the same age are herded into a single class and “processed” in batches.
In personalised Montessori education, students are in charge of their own learning paths, and are immersed in activities, projects and experiences that have deep personal significance and rich learning potential. Students advance to more advanced material at their own pace by demonstrating mastery as and when they are ready.
Educators are integral in designing the learning environment, providing resources and guidance, closely observing and documenting learner progress, and defining rigorous progress goals in unison with parents and students. Each student’s progress versus their goals is continually assessed by educators. Rather than relying only on tests or exams, our educators closely observe students’ learning processes and the generated artefacts of learning (projects, written work, models etc.).
how is the pep experience different from a typical school?
The classroom agenda in schools today is dictated by teachers who feel bound by rigid textbooks, timetables and efficiency-driven administrators. In effect, the student’s learning experience is treated as secondary to the convenience of adults.
At PEP, our staff, space and time are designed to be responsive to student learning needs, not the other way around. We do not adopt a fixed timetable with short periods; we recognise that 45 minute blocks are grossly inadequate for students to become deeply engrossed in any learning activity. Our learning environment encourages students of different ages to work together and learn from each other. Students work independently or in small carefully-chosen groups, with regular 1-1 time with educators for remedial work, enrichment or general guidance.
Periodically, students, parents and educators meet to define and review learning goals. This sets the guardrails for students to embark on their personal learning journeys, immersing deeply in their areas of interest, while achieving proficiency across all fundamental topics.
does providing choice to the student reduce rigour?
Providing students the choice to deeply explore personally meaningful ideas builds academic rigour when combined with well defined learning goals. Being emotionally connected with topics of study is a great predictor of long term retention; clearly defined goals provide structure for the learning journey helping students remain engaged for long periods of time.
what is your curriculum?
The Montessori ethos of developing a deep personal bond between the educator and the student, and allowing choice to the student is fundamental to our education. We adopt the Montessori curriculum to help students independently build capabilities across different areas.
what co-curricular activities do you offer?
At PEP, academics, arts, sports and life skills learning are seamlessly integrated. We strive to provide an inter-disciplinary, “real world” learning experience that provides both breadth and rigour.
We believe that students should engage in real-world learning and regularly interact with the outside world as part of their school experience. For example, cultivating and maintaining a garden is a profoundly affecting experience for young children, who become fascinated by the natural world
We believe that domains like arts and fitness call for functional expertise. We work with specialists who guide our students in these areas. We also invite parents with special skill-sets and experts from the local community to periodically visit our learning environments.
Montessori from Grade 1 Onwards
Are Montessori schools academically rigorous?
Yes, of course! Our elementary curriculum goes above and beyond CBSE/ICSE standards and encourages a deep understanding of the concepts that lie behind rote academic skills. Further, Montessori elementary graduates are appreciated for their strong character and sense of self, commitment to their education and their communities, and successful pursuit of academic and non-academic interests.
Are Montessori children free to do whatever they want in the classroom?
Our students are free to choose within limits, and have only as much freedom as they can handle with appropriate responsibility. The classroom teachers ensure that children stay on task while encouraging purposeful movement, excitement and conversations with peers. Each child progresses at his individual pace in all subjects
Meticulous record keeping coupled with individual and group lesson plans assure teachers know the progress of every child.
Are all these Montessori materials enough? Will our children ever be able to solve math problems on their own, or will they always depend on materials?
The elementary child benefits greatly from following a curriculum using Montessori materials. This method starts with concrete representation and moves toward a symbolic representation that allows for a rich understanding of abstract ideas. Through manipulating materials, the children receive the information they need at developmentally appropriate stages in order to grasp and internalise how concepts work. With repeated use and a variation of materials that reinforce similar concepts, the elementary student solidifies ideas and naturally progresses towards abstract work and the use of memorisation. These materials give children access to advanced concepts. The quality and level of work is far more sophisticated and advanced when the concepts are truly understood and not just memorised. Further, children leave the materials behind once a concept is understood at the abstract level.
Since Montessori classrooms emphasise collaboration as opposed to competition, how are students adequately prepared to compete later in life?
Montessori classrooms emphasise competition with oneself: self- monitoring, self-correction, and a variety of other executive skills aimed at continuous growth. Students typically become comfortable with their strengths and learn how to address challenges. As students get older they have increasing opportunities to give and receive feedback to and from their peers. They are aware of the importance and quality of their performance. This self-awareness, confidence and humility serve our students well in the myriad of intense and unpredictable situations life presents.
How do Montessori graduates fare in the “real” world?
The world of modern education and business increasingly favours creative thinkers who combine personal initiative with strong collaborative skills: exactly the characteristics that Montessori education nurtures. The cultural movers and shakers of tomorrow will need the ability to work cooperatively in existing settings, but also the skills of confidence, creativity and communication needed to make innovative and groundbreaking changes. Further, the multi-age grouping, the individual accountability of each child, and the way subjects are presented as interconnected disciplines mimics “the real world” and presents daily opportunities to be a contributing member of a community. All the disciplines are interconnected, as all things are interconnected. Montessori elementary graduates are proven life-long learners who exhibit academic preparedness, independence, confidence, social responsibility, environmental awareness and world citizenship.
Montessori Learning Environment
How many students are there per class?
We employ mixed-age environments with upto 30 students per environment.
Why do you have mixed age environments?
Research shows the learning from peers is highly effective, often significantly more so than receiving direct instruction from teachers. We believe that children profit when they are grouped with children of various other ages — they learn from older children, teach the younger children and develop a spirit of cooperation, sharing and teamwork.
what is your student-educator ratio?
We operate with a student-educator ratio of less than 10 to 1.
How do your educators work with each other?
We always have multiple educators in any learning environment, so that they can keep leveraging each other’s strengths, experiences and perspectives. This is particularly important when it comes to observing and recording multiple perspectives on the same set of students.
As a formal practice, we set up mechanisms for educators to collaborate closely outside class hours. We believe that it is critical for educators to talk to each other about their craft, to share resources, exchange ideas and truly build a community focused on relentless improvement.
how do you partner with parents?
We invest significant time and energy in building a true partnership with parents across multiple modes of engagement: regular “live” updates of important milestones reached by the child, planned face-to-face meetings to discuss goals and review progress, personalised email newsletters and so on.
Parents are also invited to be actively involved in the school’s formal feedback process; we believe that as loyal customers, parents are entitled to expect constant improvement in our services. We keep open lines of communication with parents, who are welcome to contact the school with appointments.
In dual-income families, parents’ free time with their children can often be rather limited; thus, using it effectively is paramount. Further, some first-time parents may find it useful to receive appropriate child development related guidance. We believe that our educators can support parents actively by providing relevant, personalised suggestions for parent-child activities that can naturally complement learning in school. We periodically conduct expert lectures and workshops relating to parenting. All parents are invited to join these free sessions.
How do you communicate with parents?
We use mobile apps to keep two-way communication lines open between educators and parents. Particularly in early years, children are unable to communicate their day’s experience; by sharing real-time updates (including pictures and videos) of important milestones with parents, we try to involve parents in the joyful moments of school life. Further, we periodically send personalised reports to help ensure that parents understand their child’s progress in school, as well as receive the right quality of support for continuing learning at home.
What is expected from parents?
We recognise that parents are important educators in students’ lives, and deeply influence their children’s attitudes, mindsets and habits.
Thus, even while we understand that time is precious in dual-income families, we believe that parents should strive to invest quality time in furthering their child’s learning at home; we work with parents to help them derive maximum utility with guidance, suggestions and personalised tips from our educators.
Face-to-face parent educator meetings are critically important mechanisms that help us jointly define student goals, agree on learning paths and review progress. These are 100% compulsory events for parents, and may last for several hours per student. Additionally, we also request our parents to spend atleast a day every quarter within our learning environments to get an up-close-and-personal view of how children are learning inside school.
In what other ways can parents be involved in PEP?
We are more than happy to invite parents to conduct special workshops for PEP students in their areas of interest. We see this as an important feature of “real-world” learning, where children can get exposed to different professions, passions and ways of life.