Thank you for showing interest in our school – Flourish.
We offer an alternative schooling experience based in Pune, Maharashtra.
To put it simply, we are a learner-driven, one room, mixed-age schoolhouse.
Before I share our philosophy around the school, I want to share our story for context.
My wife and I wanted a richer, more hands-on learning experience for our soon-to-be 6 year old daughter.
After searching far and wide, we came to the realization that none of the schools around us were a good fit.
It is ironic – I know. But the ones which were affordable were set rigidly in the 19th century industrial age of schooling, and the few which seemed like they may work were extremely unaffordable.
We did seriously consider home-schooling our children, but the learning that you get in a peer-to-peer interaction – especially in a classroom setting is magical. It can’t be replicated with adults.
As such, we dug deeper into finding alternatives for our own children (we have another, he’s 10 months old) – and finally decided to start a school ourselves.
Starting any venture is difficult. A school, doubly so. However, we strongly believe that such a thing must exist in this world. In India. And so, here we are.
A learner-driven experience
As adults, we teach ourselves new things all the time. Whether it’s how to build something by looking at YouTube videos, a new skill on Coursera and Udemy or a simple thing like replicating a new recipe from a cookbook. We are creatures who yearn to learn new things.
The joy that you get from picking up a new skill or building something you had no idea you could, is something we only get after our school and college days.
We want to build an educational experience where you experience this joy multiple times on a daily basis.
Our children are very capable of teaching themselves new things. We just need to equip them with the right tools and let them go as deep and wide in subjects that they wish to pursue.
That is the school we hope to build.
Learning for Mastery. Not exams.
If you look around you, you will find most children living under the shadow of unit tests & exams. I know, because my entire school-going life was like that.
We, as a culture, put children who score 95% marks on a pedestal. Hyper-competitive and toxic environments kill the joy of learning.
One of the primary goals of our school is for children to learn for mastery of a subject rather than exams.
We do not have any tests or exams at the Flourish school.
Our young learners prove their learning throughout the year – earning badges once they master a concept or subject and as a result, progress further.
Asking the right question is more important than knowing the right answer.
Anything you want to know today is available to you via a simple google search. You whip out your phone and type in your query.
However, to truly get to the right answer, you need to know the right question to ask. This is another driving philosophy behind the Flourish School.
At Flourish, we do not have teachers or blackboard learning.
The only adults present are called Guides. And a guide will never answer a question.
Instead, they will answer a question with another question and help your children reach the correct answer themselves.
Through Socratic discussions and deep debates on topics ranging from ethics to entrepreneurship to leadership, we hope to make our students more empathetic, kind and thinking people, not taking the status-quo for granted and always questioning everything.
Find your true calling. Go on a Hero’s Journey
We believe that every child is special and capable of changing the world in their own way.
You often hear the phrase: “This all sounds good. But not for average children.”
To this, I ask – what is an average child? There is no such thing.
One of the promises that we make to you at Flourish is that we will help your child find their calling in the world.
They will embark on a hero’s journey on their way to achieving world class excellence in the field of their choosing.
They will struggle, fail and fall — but they will always get up, stronger from their failures.
Celebrating failures and building a growth mind-set
At Flourish, we strongly believe that talent is never enough.
To achieve excellence, your children need to learn perseverance, dedication and hard work.
You will never hear insincere compliments like: “Oh! You are so smart / intelligent” at Flourish. We will praise the effort of the children no matter the outcome.
Failure is something that is celebrated at Flourish. We encourage our learners to try, fail fast, learn from their failures and use what they learn to do better and succeed.
So, this was about our philosophy and how we envision our school to function. It is definitely going to be challenging and we ourselves will fail, learn and pivot during our own journey.
If we can achieve the environment that we have envisioned, we are sure that the children will thrive and flourish.
As we do not have blackboard teaching, we use cutting-edge tools to help with personalized learning.
Our day will be divided into two major parts – each having 2 – 2.5 hour slots.
The first part in the day is for core-skills, that is, reading, writing and math.
Our learners use self-paced tools like Dreambox, Lexia, Khan Academy, etc. to set their own goals and targets to pick up core skills.
The second half of the day (about 2 hours) is for projects and learning together. Learners will generally work on group projects. We will explore history, civilization, the sciences, and undertake projects which often are a mix of many subjects in one.
Our school year is divided into 6 week sessions. At the end of each session, our learners present what they have learned to the outside world (parents and other interested people of our community) in a public exhibition.
We do not believe in compulsory attendance. Do you want to take a trip mid-year? We encourage you to do so.
With our systems and structure, learning never really stops when you leave school. You and your young learner can continue learning on your travels.
We do not have compulsory exams or tests.
At present, we will offer parity with NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling, India) and the Cambridge board, and your children may choose to take exams in any one of these boards.
We may also offer the Maharashtra State Open Schooling exam which recently became available – but we still have some years to get to those.
Overall, you need not worry. In studies at other Acton Academies around the world, it is not uncommon for children to be jumping 2-3 grade levels every year.
Given the mastery-based program and the ability for learners to really dive into subjects, you will soon see your child flourish.
Thank you for reading this far. I know it is a lot to digest.
We hope you are as excited about this journey as we are. We would love to hear of any questions that you may have.
Saurabh & Pritika
We had a wonderful discussion with the India Alternative Learning community recently.
Video is below.