Iwee Early Years: A Contemporary Preschool Promoting Inquiry-based Learning

Manjunaath Jamathi,  Founder & Director

Manjunaath Jamathi

Founder & Director

The concept of pre-schooling emerged in India a few decades ago and has been rapidly expanding in recent years. Parents are more concerned than ever before about their children’s futures. They often go to great lengths to ensure they provide the best start to their child’s education, one that prepares their children to boldly meet the rapid developmental challenges of modern world. However, children’s developmental needs are much broader and greater than their abilities to be ready for formal schooling.

Bengaluru-based Iwee Early Years is one such establishment that goes beyond ABCs and 123s and creates inquisitive learning opportunities for all children. Iwee Early Years is a ‘wee’ place for young children, that revolves around their childhood. “Iwee means ‘I am small’, it is a reminder that we are creating a young community of children. Iwee Early Years stemmed out of an idea that we need to create meaningful, diverse and inclusive experiences for children. Such experiences enable children to connect their learning to the realities around them and make them stronger, smarter and kinder”, says Manjunaath Jamathi, Founder Director.

Iwee Early Years’ philosophy is shaped by Brofrenbrenner’s Ecological Model of Childcare and Education. This community based approach not only places child at the heart of everything but recognises the complex effects of culture, diversity and various environments on children. It recognises that each day can be different for different children because of various eoclogical reasons. Thus, there is a need to be considerate of this challenge before attempting to educate the child. There is a need to adapt our systems to meet the developmental needs of children.

“Our people are sensitized to accommodate diversity and to collaborate with children, to respect their rights and to empower them. Our Pedagogy always cares and responds to the developmental needs of all children by connecting the ‘what’, ‘how’and ‘why’ of learning. Our state-of-the-art campus is mindfully designed as fluid spaces that enhances curiosity, choice and freedom among children. Our uniquely curated community spaces engage with families while focusing on their well being”, speaks Manjunaath.
Unique Methodologies
Iwee Early Years’ holistic way of working with children nurtures the delicate balance between their socio emotional and other developmental needs with Inclusion being it’s mainstay. The preschool adapts itself to create multiple learning paths to suit the diverse needs of each child. “We firmly believe that everything that the child learns need not be taught. We only facilitate their learning by creating an environment that encourage the children’s ‘voice’, respects their agency to learn and participate. We create such environment through conversations and collaborative learning with children”, says Amisha, Co-founder & Manager.

Iwee Early Years’ holistic way of working with children nurtures the delicate balance between their socio-emotional and other developmental needs with Inclusion being it’s mainstay

At Iwee, Learning is not forced upon children, but learning becomes inquisitive since children are curious to explore and know a few things themselves. During a typical day at Iwee, the team organizes ‘Indoor choice time’ and ‘Outdoor Choice time’ where children choose to do what they like, while other times are slightly more structured. This way the preschool establishes a balance between Teacher directed learning and child centric learning.

To promote socioe motional well being of families associated with Iwee, the preschool offers uniquely curated ‘Katha Rang’, an after school virtual story telling and book club that is not only loved by children but their parents too. Iwee oragnizes Yoga Shibiras called ‘Yoga Hive’ on periodic basis. Throughout the year the team organises a range of workshops for parents and children alike such as the ‘Child Safety and Child Protection’ through reputed organizations such as HAPCHI.

“We are not a ‘different’ preschool, we only do things differently. We do ‘wee’ things, with great love. We research thoroughly and continually regarding ‘International best practices in Early Childhood Learning’. We adopt and adapt such learning to suit our need and to our context”, mentions Sujatha R G, it’s chairperson.

Other unique experiences at Iwee includes an Inclusive playground that can be accessed by children with varying abilities, creating non discriminative and adaptive learning paths for children with additional needs, encourage physical development of children through a sport based pedagogy. Its key attributes as an early learning centre are ‘agility’, ‘openness’, ‘flexibility’ and ‘inclusion’, these factors sets it apart and give Iwee an edge.

Universal Design for Learning
Iwee is inspired by and follows principles of Universal Design for Learning. Therefore, it has an open door enrolment and employment policy for people and children with disabilities respectively. However, it operates in a nondiscriminatory manner and maintains discretion whenever necessary. Importantly Inclusion in Early Years must not be restricted to just accommodating children with disabilities. We need to constantly remind ourselves that even children without disabilities can get excluded for many reasons such as linguistic barriers or whenever we fail to create opportunities for them to contribute to their own learning.

“Our Pedagogy is crafted to progressively enable children to ‘Communicate’,‘Connect’ and ‘Care’ so that they grow to become ‘smarter’, ‘stronger’ and ‘kinder’”, signs off Manjunaath Jamathi.