Every time children are “taught” something, we deprive them of the joy of finding it out for themselves. In traditional schools today, teachers instruct students herded into classrooms, joylessly receiving “knowledge” over short blocks of time. The quality of the learning experience of students sadly becomes secondary to the convenience of adults.
At PEP, our educators, environment and time are designed to be responsive to student learning needs, not the other way around. We believe that the role of educators is to facilitate individual learning and discovery, not to serve as authoritarian gatekeepers to information. Our educators closely observe students following individual learning paths, providing 1-1 time when remediation or enrichment is needed. Our learning environment is designed for interaction between children of different ages — research shows that peer learning is highly effective. We are not constrained by timetables with 40-minute slots; instead, children are free to work in extended blocks of time.
Each Child is Unique
Many children feel bored and disinterested in school today; yet, outside school, these same children develop deep personal connections with their areas of interest and cultivate great expertise. The one-size-fits-all model of traditional schools does a deep disservice to the individuality of our children.
At PEP, we recognise that all children learn differently and take unique routes to excellence. We believe learning is most effective when students work on personally meaningful material tuned to their individual interests and abilities. Our educators work towards deeply knowing their students, and craft personalised learning plans for each student in consultation with parents.
To discover their passions, children need to explore the world beyond textbooks. However, school education today is completely out of touch with students’ lives and interactions beyond school. It is little wonder then that schools can feel like an alien world to children — learning in traditional schools becomes dissociated from reality and feels artificial.
At PEP, we believe that students should engage in real-world learning and regularly interact with the outside world. Field trips are an important part of our curriculum: we regularly visit museums, parks, galleries and local businesses to give students an immersive experience. We also engage domain specialists that introduce children to art, music, theatre, sport; further, we invite experts (and parents!) to visit school and talk to students about their line of work. As students start demonstrating interests in new areas, our educators craft learning plans using a variety of resources to help them embark on their learning journeys.
The smartest children in class don’t always become the most successful. Indeed, decades of research have shown that prodigious talent alone does not guarantee greatness. Instead, what matters for success in life and career — above and beyond talent — are traits like perseverance, self-awareness and self-confidence. Traditional schools focus their attentions on academics and rarely help build these critical life skills.
At PEP, our educators make life skills development an integral part of everyday school life. They work individually with children to help them become self-aware, enjoy challenges, prioritise effort over outcomes, and to accept failures as an integral part of learning. Our goal setting process (in consultation with both parents and children) ensures that children define ambitious long-term goals and work relentlessly towards achieving them.