with its grassroots in Indian culture. This emergent curriculum is the symbiotic outcome between the Reggio Emilia approach, IB © philosophies constructivist theories of learning, child development, and evidence-based practices from modern day educational psychology literature. Grassroots has adapted its curriculum to better suit the cultural and educational expectations of Indian preschools and early learning departments of private schools.
This innovative approach to education is based on the Reggio philosophy that believes children must have some control over the direction of their learning. Children are typically given opportunities to learn through inquiry and the experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing, have opportunities to explore material items in the world and form friendships with other children, and be provided with endless ways and opportunities to express themselves. Emphasis is placed on the interrelationship between children, teachers, parents, and the immediate environment. They work together for a common purpose – to create a learning culture that respects every child as a thinking and competent individual, capable of participating in his/her own learning.
With the dynamic changes that take place in the global environment, innovations in curriculum become inevitable. International curriculums like the International Baccalaureate© are rigorous and offer unparalleled education, when compared to any other curriculums as they are well-researched and founded in sciences. Hence a number of specific factors influence the rationale to choose such a demanding and qualitative curriculum for the Grassroots Primary levels. Some of these factors are as follows:
- Abundance of Knowledge - Changes in knowledge is so rapid that knowledge learnt becomes obsolete every 5 or 6 years. At any point it is counter-productive for the curriculum to contain outdated knowledge. As new knowledge is supplemented, alterations need to be made to modify and adapt the old. New pedagogies are also emerging to address these changes and it is imperative for a school to stay abreast; for constant revision of curricula; and for keeping pace with this tremendous transformation.
- Changes in society - Macro changes in the global environment produce micro changes in the immediate society. This too is happening at a constant pace and is fundamental to any and all modifications made to the curricula and the education system at large.
- Social influences - Social influences have always played an integral role in curriculum development. The key focus in curriculum development has been directed toward updating, revising and replacing specific content/subject matter that are addressed in school programs. There is equal concern for greater efficiency and effectiveness in delivering instruction especially given the increased use of technology in classrooms.
- Awareness of child growth and development - Current scientific knowledge and our understanding of human development contribute towards curriculum development. Several studies have established the critical connect between the physiological development of the child and the influences that his/her family, community, school, and other social agencies have upon their growth. With this is mind attention should be given to the child’s emotional well-being and to the factors that influence his/her social development. It is only through such a holistic approach to curriculum that any school can attempt to make all-rounded changes to learning.
- Intellectual Blending - Intellectual influences are a vital part of social settings. The prevailing intellectual ethos of our society is that of technological rationality. This is becoming evident with the upward trend of our electronic mode of existence. A chosen curriculum has to be concerned with such an affective domain and with the quality of learning within the school settings.
- Changes to Content - Education and knowledge in a content area are evolving rapidly. There are discoveries on a daily basis lending to this evolution of new knowledge. It is hence imperative that a curriculum should also stay updated with current information.
- Design of Courses - The chosen curriculum has to be responsive to meet the needs and aspirations of a dynamic society like India that constantly undergoes change so as to be on par with global entities. In addition, Grassroots caters to a diverse group of children with varying abilities (gifted to special). Given the above requisites, schools should provide flexibility within the curriculum, depending on the content at hand. It is also necessary to adopt a horizontal versus vertical learning modality.
- Selection of Curriculum materials – Traditionally in India curricula materials included only a paper and pencil method. In order to meet global standards in education such as “learning styles” and multiple intelligences,” one has to adopt a variety of materials that meet the individualistic needs of learners.
- Development of new educational methods - In India, lectures and recitations were the familiar teaching methods of the past. These were appropriate given the somewhat static nature of our society and to cater to a curriculum based upon the fact that rote knowledge is education. These methods are inappropriate if the aim is to help students develop 21st century competencies. Today’s learning should focus on - the development of independent and critical thinking; the ability to discriminate right from wrong; and the ------ of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
- Education and Decentralization - There is currently a global trend of decentralizing education systems. In a world where most governments have experienced the pitfalls of centralized education service provision, mainly: opaque decision-making, administrative and fiscal inefficiency, and poor quality and access to services, the theoretical advantages of decentralization have become extremely appealing. India as a country is experimenting with or contemplating some form of educational decentralization. This, taken in conjunction with the demand for greater freedom of student course may well offer the school more scope in determining parts of its own curriculum, more flexibility in organization and perhaps greater financial freedom.
Education is concerned with the transmission of knowledge. It is always a deliberate attempt to modify the individual for the better or in terms of what is thought to be desirable. It would be a bad mistake, however, to view this knowledge only in terms of curriculum content; because education transmits other knowledge as well. Curriculum is basic to the intellectual, emotional, ethical, physical, social, aesthetic, spiritual and vocational development of the child. The child of today is the creator of tomorrow. It is only through a well-designed and effectively implemented curriculum that a child can be equipped to realize his/her inner potential and to contribute to society meaningfully.
Read more to learn more about IB-PYP
As Charles Handy the Irish philosopher says “Instead of a national curriculum for education, what is really needed is an individual curriculum for every child,” and further believes “We should see schools as safe arenas for experimenting with life, for discovering our talents... for taking responsibility for tasks and other people, for learning how to learn... and for exploring our beliefs about life and society.”
* Disclaimer: Only schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate can offer any of its academic programmes. Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted.