Children must be taught how to think, not what to think”- Margaret Mead
The Start-up School curriculum has been designed with much care ensuring students enjoy learning within an enriching and supportive environment, yet at the same time succeed in their IB curriculum. We have spent months in review meetings, brainstorming sessions and also meeting with a focus group of parent mentors to seek their inputs.
The heart of the curriculum is ‘life entrepreneurship” which includes the development of life, leadership, business and technological competencies in every child. The curriculum also includes capsules on ethics, climate change and data science built into every module. While there should obviously be a logical sequence of units and rigour built in gradually, the novelty of the curriculum also required careful planning. Further, as this is a dual (twinning) programme, we have had to ensure students are able to manage the demands of and succeed at both, the IB and Start-up School curriculum.
We looked at what we expected students to achieve and the transformation that we intend to see in them at the end of this course. From there, we began working backwards while designing the curriculum. We also realised the need for flexibility at different levels- one where periodic adjustments and tweaks based on the live streaming feedback we will collate and analyse, and also the need for flexibility when it came to the parent mentors in how they wanted to guide the students.
The framework on which the curriculum has been designed is a 40:20:40 model. The first 40% includes experiential and collaborative learning experiences, the 20% includes mentoring, coaching and feedback from the mentors and the remaining 40% will include self-directed learning. The latter involves teaching student entrepreneurs how to think, how to learn and how to ask the right questions. This will also make them more responsible for and reflective of their learning journey.
An age specific curriculum has been designed, separate for Grade 12, Grade 11 and the third for Grade 9 & 10 together. The variations include more of business competencies woven into the curriculum for the senior grades and also the pace at which the curriculum will be delivered.
A critical tool for curriculum delivery will be design thinking. Every module will see students of both Track 1 and Track 2 pursue design thinking projects. This is the best way to enhance creativity, collaboration and critical thinking in students. Further, the relevance of what they are studying is brought out better through design thinking projects (DTP). To compliment DTP, experiments too will be designed and plugged into the curriculum for students in the coming months.
A unique aspect of the curriculum includes a Leadership Series which will includes people within as well as from outside the organisation come conduct a session on various aspects relating to “life entrepreneurship”. This will include talks and workshops on education of the mind which includes topics such as vision, higher purpose, pursuit of excellence, lifelong learning, performance psychology as well as talks on risk taking, coping with failure, moral imagination, the role of cognitive diversity in team building, etc. Deep reading is also a critical component of the curriculum design. A prescribed reading list has been shared with all students and this will be supported with resource packs that we put together for every module.
Furthermore, every module will culminate in a business competition, exhibition of DTP projects and a book critique session. These will be announced at the beginning of every module which will allow the mentors and students to plan and execute a winning strategy in advance. DTP projects can be based on business, life or technological based competencies. Students will be required to maintain a journal which will include their reflection on their deep reading and self-directed modules. These could be in any creative form they would want to, be it via a blog, a brief essay, mind maps, portraiture, spoken poetry, etc. Our track 2 students will subscribe to their own blockchain accounts which will help track their journey as lifelong learners. Students will have the courses they successfully complete credentialled and blockchained which will benefit them immensely both during their university applications as well as in their careers later on in life.
The curriculum is novel and immensely exciting. We are confident that our student entrepreneurs will benefit immensely and also the parent mentors will enjoy the process of guiding and coaching students in their innovation journey.