CONCEPT + CONTEXT = MAVERICK!5 years ago Harshita Goel
Early childhood education, a branch of educational theory relates to the teaching of young children up until the age of around eight, notable in the period before the start of compulsory education. At the age of 4-8 years, architecture of a child’s brain and the neural connections are profoundly impacted by the experiences he has while playing. According to research at Harvard University, while genes provide the basic framework, experiences in the early childhood determine whether the child will have a strong or weak foundation for learning in their life.
Now is a time where there is a dire need for a new way of thinking in education. In an ongoing metamorphosis in the Indian education sector, the emphasis is rapidly shifting from teaching to learning to discovering. In such a time, Maverick has initiated a novel idea. An idea that could revolutionize the way children learn. An idea where children play to learn!
Let the child’s self-expression and inquiry be preserved through play, says the founder of Maverick, Ravi Kumar Yadavilli, an IIM A graduate turned teacher.
After starting his journey as a teacher in his post grad days, Ravikumar worked with organizations like Teach For India and XSEED to understand how classrooms can be made better.
“If light is a form of energy, why can’t it move tables and chairs?”- This question asked by one of the students in his class led Ravikumar in his quest to make classrooms a better place to learn. He discovered that children possess tremendous abilities to inquire, if their self-expression is preserved.
With this sincere inclination and experience in the field of education, Ravikumar along with his mentors Rajeev Sharma, his professor at IIM A and Mr. Sundaram, an IIT-B IIM-A alumnus turned mathematics teacher, established Maverick Edutech to promote learning through play in 2013.
When Ravikumar came across Frederich Froebel’s philosophy and the special toys he created, he believed that play has the power to unleash a child’s potential in the early years. Froebel gifts are probably the only toys, which harmoniously stimulate sections of the brain that deal with the science and art of creation. Regular play with these gifts can radically enhance math, logic and communication besides improving their attention spans and honing their fine motor skills.
Maverick agrees that children need to have a strong foundation in the early years for them to excel academically. Among all the subjects, Math and English are the tougher ones, as they are more abstract. Froebel gifts augment a child’s ability to understand abstractions very well as he learns through play.
Few benefits of learning through Froebel gifts:
- Children develop intuitive ability for complex problem solving
- They develop Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) and creative thinking
- They raise interest levels in mathematics, logic and design
- Playing with them decreases overall stress and increases concentration
Maverick Edutech holds the credit of introducing Froebel gifts in India for the very first time as a play and learn curriculum for the age group 3 to 12, enabling parents to make their children learn while at play!
TIMELINE OF THE COMPANY
With firm belief that guided play using these toys can enhance a child’s understanding of the real world, Maverick has left no stone unturned to promulgate this idea to schools and parents. For the last year and a half, Maverick has approached students and parents across Hyderabad to help them understand the power of play through the medium of PlaynLearn carnivals and summer camps.
During December last year, a Froebel gifts exhibition was open to the entire Hyderabad population for playing and assessment of the skills that aided learning. Around 500 students across age groups participated in the exhibit. Last summer, Maverick conducted summer camps across Hyderabad for around 200 children. Through exhibitions, summer camps and PlaynLearn carnivals, Maverick reached out to over 800 students and has observed tremendous results at learning through play.
Motivated and inspired by the response, Maverick now partners with schools to take this school of thought forward, through a program called Amazing Classrooms designed for learning through play. It is a non-disruptive learning enhancement module; where the learning plans designed for teachers help them understand the ways to use Froebel gifts with children, to drive the concepts better. This way, a child gets an answer not only to what he is learning but also to why he is learning.
As a part of amazing classrooms, play sheets and playbooks are given to children to sharpen their skills beyond school hours. They also get assessed on age-specific skills and their ability to express and create. At Maverick, they work incessantly towards preserving the self-expression and the inquisitive nature in children.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Maverick Edutech is partnering and engaging with schools to help children learn English and Math till grade 3 through Froebel gifts. It plans to reach out to 100 schools before the next academic year and expand rapidly across geographies there after, by leveraging on schools, students, parents and teachers who are the existing users of Amazing classrooms.
Maverick believes that there has never been a better time than now to awaken the world to the light of Froebel gifts. They dearly hold the vision to make this method of learning reach each child to attain progress in literacy, creativity and make this world a better place full of novel ideas.
“If three hundred years after my death my method of education shall be completely established according to its idea, I shall rejoice in heaven.”- Frederich Froebel.
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