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Pitaara UnSkool

Studios

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Develop a pocketful of skills, explore interests and find your passion

Studios are facilitator-led short courses designed to expose children to different topics. 

  • 7-8 studios are introduced each month.

  • Children can choose as many of these studios as they are interested in, thus designing a learning program that suits them.

  • Each studio will have 1 session per week. Each session will be one hour long.

  • Studios follow a project-based and hands-on learning approach.

  • The duration of each studio is 1-month, with a few exceptions of some studios of 2 months.

  • All sessions are live and interactive.

 

What makes Studios important?

  • Studios enable children to develop skills, explore interests, and identify their likes and dislikes.

  • Exploring a wide variety of topics helps children narrow down their interests and potentially find a passion.

 

The studios are chosen after extensive research on different topics and unexplored areas. The aim is to bring a mix of courses that are exciting, expose children to new skills, and uncover niche skills. We have zeroed down on 8 broad themes. Each studio is part of one theme to ensure that children with different interests and inclinations are catered to.

 

Mentors

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Get an adult friend, and a safety net to fall back on!

If Pitaara UnSkool is a rocket, then mentorship is the fuel.

The role of a mentor is to create a support system for a child- stepping in and out as needed. Here is how:

  • Each student is allotted a mentor who works with them to create their timetables and learning journeys.

  • 2 mentor meetings are scheduled for each month with the option for more if required.

  • Each meeting is 30 - 45 mins.

  • Mentors assist children in setting up goals, reviewing their progress, and clearing any roadblocks hindering a child’s learning.

  • Children also get different mentors every few months to experience different flavours of mentorship.

  • Mentors help children take up new challenges and become their accountability partners.

  • Mentors also act as a bridge between parents and children.

 

Why mentors at such young age?

Mentors are crucial at every age because:

  • Children feel important and responsible when treated as equals by an adult who is not their immediate family.

  • They hone the skill of effective communication and learn to build relationships. They may also develop life-long connections with their mentors.

  • By discussing their plan, achievements, and failures, they develop skills to analyse their work and learn constructive criticism.

  • It helps them understand the meaning of mentorship and their need for it. They identify the areas in which they need mentors and where they are self-sufficient.

 

Learning Journeys

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Craft your learning program, and pick up resources from the Pitaara Open Library!

Learning Journeys enable a child to learn things outside the studios offered at Pitaara UnSkool.

  • After a thorough discussion with the mentor about time, interests, and curiosities; children make a list of topics they would like to explore independently.

  • Mentors help them find resources such as videos, books, pre-designed courses, etc., around the topic they have chosen.

  • Mentors also help them make learning goals and allocate time for self-learning in their timetable.

  • The Pitaara library is another resource available to the children. It contains videos, books, lesson plans, projects, and much more, on different topics.

 

What makes Learning Journey so important?

Learning journeys are the secret sauce of Pitaara UnSkool. Here is how:

  • Designing a learning program puts children in the shoes of a facilitator. They learn how to create a learning program from start to finish - including -  finding resources, setting up milestones and creating a learning plan. 

  • They learn how to learn, thus becoming capable of learning anything they want to.

  • They realise that they can learn on their own. This reduces dependance on facilitators to explore new things.

  • They identify their learning styles, their capacity, strengths and short-comings.

 

Timetable

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Design your days and weeks, the way you’d like!

Timetables bring in autonomy and accountability. Here is how they are made:

  • At the beginning of each month, children choose the studios to join and decide on the learning journeys they are taking up, along with their mentor.

  • Using excel, Kanban boards, and Notion, children create their weekly and monthly timetables.

  • Children look at their timetables every morning, make edits if needed and continue on with their day.

  • At the end of the day, children strike off things they have completed, from their timetable.

  • During mentor meetings, children review their timetables, add/remove tasks, reflect on the past week, and make required adjustments to their timetable.

 

Why Timetables?

Timetables are the most loved element of Pitaara UnSkool. Here is why:

  • Children enjoy having the power to plan their day. This makes them self-regulated.

  • Children love customising their timetable and decorating it in their own unique style. It becomes an avenue to express their creativity.

  • Children learn to plan more realistically and become better at estimating the effort and time required in a particular task.

 
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Announcements

Listen to the daily announcement and plan your day!

The daily announcement acts as an agenda-setting mechanism. This helps to get the day started. Here is how:

  • The daily announcement is sent every morning via Whatsapp.

  • Children will receive a 1-minute video or audio with details about the studios of the day and other activities scheduled for the day.

 

Why?

Daily announcements act as a reminder, helping a child get geared up for the day. In the long term, it serves the same purpose as a timetable, which is, to help a child become more organised.

  • Sets the tone for the day - Notifies the brain about the happenings of the day and helps children organise their day!

  • Brings in Discipline - In the long term it develops the habit of planning.

 

Check-ins

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Have fun, Get inspired, and Decide Together!

Check-ins are another fun and important element of Pitaara UnSkool. These are an opportunity for children to come together and connect, outside the studios.

  • Each Check-in has 7-8 children and a mentor.

  • Check-ins are held twice a week via Zoom. Each check-in is 30 minutes.

  • During the check-in, children look at their timetables together. Each child shows their timetable to the group and shares one interesting thing they did.

  • Check-ins are also a space for children to play and hangout together. This is a space for self-organisation, with children choosing how they want to spend their time. 

  • Check-ins are a space for important announcements and decisions needed to be made as a group.

 

Why Check-ins?

  • Check-ins are deeply loved by children because it gives them the freedom to choose how to spend their time. Though check-ins are loosely structured, there is ample opportunity for children to self-organise. It creates a sense of ownership and responsibility in children. 

  • It is a space where children come to wind down and relax. Check-ins are also a space where new friendships are born.

  • The practice of looking at each others' timetables and knowing what one's peers are up to, acts as a stimulant and source of inspiration.

 
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Portfolios

If Pitaara UnSkool were a queen, then portfolios are the Crown!

Portfolios are the documentation of the child’s learning journeys. How is it done?

  • Each child has an individual portfolio in their student dashboard.

  • Every time a child completes something, they add it to their portfolio.

  • A portfolio allows a child to record all their accomplishments, however big or small. Whether it’s a book they finished reading, or milestones they achieved in their studios.

  • Mentors and facilitators can also add the child's accomplishments into the portfolio.

  • The portfolio becomes a beautiful compilation of the child’s learning journey.

 

Why is Portfolio important?

Portfolios are important for two reasons:

  • They become a document of the child’s learning. In the future, this can be used as a report card or evidence of their skills and capabilities. It can also help when they look for jobs or apply to colleges.

  • Portfolios help parents see and celebrate their child’s learning.

 
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Exhibitions

Take the stage and share what you learned over the week with the group.

Exhibitions are a space for children to share their learnings with the rest of the group.

  • Exhibitions are held once a week.

  • Each child gets a stage to present one thing they learned during the week.

  • Groups can present updates on their peer learning journeys.

 

What makes Exhibitions so important?

  • Getting on a stage is exciting for some children. For other children, it can help them overcome their shyness. They gain confidence, develop public speaking skills, and learn to present effectively.

  • Showcasing their learnings makes children accountable, and makes them feel celebrated.

  • Exhibitions expose children to what others are up to and becomes a space for them to exchange their learnings.

 

Advanced Programs

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Enjoyed an introductory studio? Go deeper through advanced programs!

Advanced Programs are for children who have completed introductory courses and are interested in pursuing a specific topic further. This can happen in three ways:

  • If a group of children asks for an advanced course, it can be designed and led by a facilitator. 

  • Children also have an option of creating Clubs (student-led sessions) - in which a group of children, with common interests, come together and pursue that interest.

  • A child can also independently work with a facilitator. The facilitator and child can mutually decide the terms of working together. Individual sessions are not part of Pitaara UnSkool- we help facilitate them.

 

Why?

Advanced programs enable children to dive deeper into a topic. They can go on an independent learning journey, do it with a group or choose to go for one-on-one sessions with a facilitator. They can learn the way that works best for them.

Each of the above choices has its benefits:

  • Clubs become a space for children to self-organise. Though it looks chaotic from outside, there is beauty in the chaos. They identify their own personality and role in a group without adult authority. They learn problem-solving, self-organisation and learn to take initiative. Their natural skills such as leadership, relationship-building, connection making, etc., become visible and useful.

  • In one-on-one sessions, children experience structured learning designed by an expert in that area. They also get personalised support on this learning journey.