Noopur Kanchan – Founder of iLEAP
Tell us about iLeap! What is it, and what was it’s genesis?
ileap (Integrated Learning Enrichment Achievement Program) is a comprehensive after-school curriculum that aims at child’s all-round development. The curriculum is self-developed .We are at 18 locations and currently cater to 1500 students. ileap focuses on helping students assess their strengths, capabilities and areas of improvement. This curriculum has been formulated to enhance learning and creativity in students. The program plays an important role in meeting developmental requirements of children that are critical for their academic success and general well being. We recognize the value of positive personality development. ileap aims at establishing a strong connect between the social and emotional development of students, which is also linked to their academic success. Our objective is to help them develop interpersonal skills, finer work habits and a positive attitude towards school. ileap strives to make an effort towards enhancement and improvement of opportunities so that students remain focused and motivated. I have been in working in the field of education for last 18 years. Over the years I realized that the pressure on learning the content is so high that the skills that are needed to make learning concrete do not get enough focus. To bridge that gap I starting working on a curriculum and established Ileap in 2009.
What is the importance of play schools and after school programs?
Education whether at a play school, school or after school helps achieve the most important goal of preparing the students for the world. These set ups not only work at providing the academic knowledge but also help develop mental, emotional, social and moral skills. Playschool works as the first base for learning. Students learn to live, learn and function in an environment with their peers and adapt to the surroundings that are beyond their home and family. After school program helps provide a setting for an individualised learning. It also helps students identify and explore learning areas beyond academics. It sounds like there are activities for a wide range of ages.
How young does iLeap reach?
The age range is 1.5 years up till 14 yrs. Programs offered are from pre school up till grade 8. For visual arts we extend it further and don’t restrict it to any age.
What is the most exciting workshop/activity you’ve conducted so far?
The most popular amongst students across age groups are either the ones that are based on animals or the ones that are based on popular fiction series. Last year we developed a series of workshops on popular characters and books – Dr. Suess, Eric Carle, Geronimo, Roald Dahl, 39 Clues, Ever after High, Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. We had students requesting to re register for these. This year we also introduced modules on animal world- Defence Mechanisms, Unusual Animals, Animal Mysteries, Symbiotic Relations and many more on these lines. All these have been very well received and we saw students asking for more. Messing with colors was another one that students had enjoyed. They were allowed to mess and explore mutiple mediums and textures.
How are your summer camps different from others?
Each and every module that we execute at ileap has skills as its main focus. We roll out around 25-30 new modules every year. These area combination of skill and concepts with multiple hands on activities. The modules focus on process more than the product. We understand that this period of year is associated with fun. The camp maintains that balance of fun and learning. Since the curriculum is designed by us and executed by our teachers, we are able to maintain and follow our teaching principles. This year we are coming up with 2 new series that are inspired by movie series – “Indiana Jones “ and “ National Treasure” and Greek and Egyptian Mythology.
What are the major challenges that India is currently facing in education sector?
Education is the back bone of any a country. Good quality education is completely dependent on good quality teachers. At this point major challenge the industry is facing is good faculty. Unfortunately we don’t see the youth getting excited about this profession.
What do you think are the good topics to talk about with young generation?
The change in scenario has brought with it many positives and many negatives. Instead of waiting for an event to happen or assuming that students will know how to react to a situation we should approach all topics of emotional well being, ethics and safety and address them. Cyber Safety, Social Media Ettiquete, Sex Education, Anger/Aggression Management, Time Management, Impression Management, Financial Literacy are some of the topics that should be addressed.
Please highlight on how does iLeap makes it’s students competent enough to face the challenges of the outside world?
The primary principle on which all programs at ileap are based is ‘skill development’. This essentially means that we focus on skills and use content to help achieve the objective. Students are able to learn, infer and associate the information. This replaces the need to rote memorise the content with a clear and better understanding of the content. Safe and structured activities in age-appropriate environment where children are encouraged to learn, play, explore and discover further helps achieve the above objective. Our aim is to help each child realize his or her hidden potential that appears enveloped even after attending school. Only the most innovative, universal approach to education is utilized to make learning an attractive experience for the kids. Aspects of play such as exploration, games, projects or presentations are used for integrating the age-appropriate concepts in children. By providing them with activities that correspond with their development needs and abilities, learning occurs easily and naturally. Our creative writing Program encourages student to think, explore, research, associate, sequentially organise and present their thoughts and ideas. This further helps them pen down their learning in clear and precise manner in school whether it be question and answer from a chapter or an exam. The visual arts program encourages imagination and discourages copy-paste. Students are thus able to develop their own style.