“We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child’s spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendour during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.”-Maria Montessori
Within childhood and its spontaneity lie the greatest truths of learning and the secrets of the miraculous boundless human mind. Education must foster rather than curb this spontaneity, the unflinching innate childhood spirit of exploration and incessant learning. The way a child learns to walk, the way a child acquires language before they set foot in any school / even pre-school, is the way ‘real learning’ (John Holt) happens. At GEMS Education, we firmly believe in fostering learning through this very ‘spontaneity,’ this purest expression of ‘humanity’ continues to sparkle childhood years as we prepare children for life.
The world around us is changing. It’s turning increasingly volatile. We live in a continuous state of flux and uncertainty. Our world is becoming increasingly complex with greater levels of ambiguity amidst changing paradigms. None of us can compete with Google in terms of information. Gone are the days when knowing and memorising were highly valuable human skills. Today, we live in an era of Information overload. While everything is available at the click of a button, what’s not available is the sanctity / objectivity of all information. What we urgently need is the ability of critically evaluate and make logical sense of all the information around us. What we urgently need is the ability to comprehend bias and weed it out to get to objective facts from within a flood of biased jingoism. What we urgently need is the ability to think beyond the obvious, to think better than Artificial Intelligence can. Yes, we are competing with it! Would anything that can be converted into an algorithm remain a job for humans in near future?
Thus, no wonder today creativity, emotional resilience, collaboration, communication and critical thinking have risen to the forefront as top employment skills. Ten years ago, we called them ‘Life skills’ and CBSE introduced these through the CCE as compulsory elements of school learning in 2009. These were still grudgingly assigned one odd session during the school week filled to the brim with information and curriculum content. Curriculum itself needs to change today to make space for life skills within the teaching and learning of everything at a school. Allowing the child’s spontaneity to blossom, we create the ‘free space’ where children explore express and learn. The school is their free zone for creative exploration. Learning, creativity and thinking are natural outcomes as young eyes rapt in sheer wonder (the kind only children are capable of) observe, adding imagination to the experience of facilitated guided explorations of various concepts.
Our world is smaller, paradoxically over-connected and disconnected at the same time. While we may have social media friends from another part of the globe, we may not know the face / name of our next-door neighbour! The worldwide web and .coms have ensured that a very large technical head has occupied too much space leaving little for the human being, even lesser for the heart. Our digital footprints are indelible. While the personal is no longer private, the world around can be ruthless. Our children need emotional intelligence and strong resilience to survive this. As educators and parents, we must restore the balance.
As the Largest school education provider across the Globe today, our vision is simple,
‘to put quality education within the reach of every child.’ The question is ‘What is quality education today?’ Well the fact is we are all novices here. Each generation is smarter than the previous. None of us can predict the future and here we are trying to prepare a generation for a future unknown to us. Any learning to be meaningful, has to be engaging for learners, genuinely experiential, genuinely integrated (as subject boundaries don’t exist in the real world) and yet rooted in tradition. The question to ask is, ‘Will this learning last?’ ‘Will this prepare my child for life?’
As a CBSE affiliated school, at GEMS International School, Gurugram we build on the curriculum and the magic lies in the implementation. The exposure must ensure that children are global citizens in a true sense. Technology is here to stay and learning at school needs to blend it in. Technology is a tough wild beast. Our children need to learn to tame it or it can easily destroy homo sapiens.
Reading, language and communication are central to learning and development. If our children have sufficient exposure to good literature, seminal works of fiction and non-fiction, have developed research, analysis and observation skills, are able to articulate their ideas diligently, are able to evaluate various perspectives and engage in constructive critical discussions, they will be able to learn anything they want, anytime they want. They will have learnt to learn. Continuous upskilling and re-skilling is the need of the hour. Metacognition is thus a seminal aspect of education at our school.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”-Alvin Toffler
Our students have proven academic excellence over the years and more importantly, are successful happy citizens of the world. Their portfolios are noted by top universities and organisations across the globe. Their passionate engagement with global sustainable development and innovative problem-solving initiatives inspire. GEMSites are enablers.
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” –Margaret Mead
Learning is a culture. A culture of happiness. It’s evident when you walk into a GEMS school. Feel the vibrations as you walk into our school or meet our students anywhere in the world.