Three-year-old Kabir Khattar is negotiating traffic with the skills of an experienced driver. He stops before zebra crossings at every traffic light and slows down at speed breakers as he drives from the bank to the airport.
Don’t be surprised!
Little Kabir is the student of BumbleBees, a new-age playschool, and he is driving his toy car in the huge traffic park inside the school. BumbleBees, started this week in Greater Kailash Part -2 in the Capital by two young entrepreneurs, is a play school with a difference. What makes it different is not just its world-class infrastructure, but also the methods and the philosophy it follows: BumbleBees believes in experiential learning and igniting young minds.
“It’s a globalised world and the same old methods of rote learning do not serve any purpose. We promote learning through experience and exposure, which means we let children discover the world in their own way. All that we do is facilitate this process by exposing children to a range of stimuli,” says Akshaye Jalan, 32, the founder of the school.
The school has the infrastructure and specially designed teaching aids to support this process of discovery. It has as many as 11 rooms, painted in soft shades of green, blue and yellow. Many of them are theme-based rooms such as a house role-play room, a room housing a market with ATM, an indoor- outdoor room with tree trunks and swings and more. The house role-play room is equipped with small kitchen, a dining table, washing machines and an iron. “The idea is to give children the experience of day- to- day life and help them learn manners, etiquette and concepts of hygiene,” says Aakash Chaudhry, 30, co-founder of the school.
The school’s multi-activity room boasts of imported music instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, drums, single piccolo, etc. Professional musicians impart the lessons. There are book readings and theatre classes too. “We seek to discover children’s inherent talent...,” says Jalan.
The school’s huge traffic park, complete with toy cars, petrol pumps, zebra crossings and spread breakers, is its unique feature. “This school goes beyond ABC and rhymes; it has adopted whole new concepts of pre-schooling for little children,” says Payal Goel, whose one- and-a-half-year-old daughter Prisha attends the school.
The school has adopted an innovative approach to classroom teaching. In the class-rooms for pre-nursery, called Honey Bee, alphabets are taught through methods such as fishing, sand stencils and treasure hunts.
The school also conducts a mother-toddler programme, with a devoted room called ‘Baby Bee’. Here mothers come with children aged 6-12 months. “It is very important for mothers to be involved with child. At home we cannot do the kind of educational and developmental activities that we do here with our children. Besides, it’s a good place for mothers to share their parenting experiences,” says Kismet Chug, who attends the mother-toddler programme of the school with her 6-month-old son, Anhad Singh.