From Rough to a Diamond:
Bringing Out Your Child's Potential
We see GenWise as providing the set of tools required to provide the facets, and polish the rough diamond that all children are!
Clarity - World, Self
Emotional, Social Maturity
GenWise’s focus is on working with children in the age range of 10-18 years. Through the various programs we offer, we provide immersive learning experiences that help the child progressively gain:
clarity about ‘how the world works’
clarity about her ‘self’ - in terms of strengths, interests and dispositions
the ability to think critically, a crucial requirement for today’s times
a habit of result orientation and closing the gap between goals and efforts
emotional and social maturity- that allows him to be more composed, emotionally resilient in the face of challenge, and manage relationships more effectively (including peer pressure)
Nature of Activities in our Programs
The graphic below provides an idea of the diverse nature of activities children go through in a typical GenWise residential program. Apart from hands-on and minds-on ‘academic enrichment’ tasks facilitated by the master mentor, the child also goes through many other rich experiences with the help of the residential mentors. These rich experiences include both ‘active pursuits’ like cooking, gardening, music and dance, and ‘inward reflections’ through nature walks, journaling, facilitated dialogue and body awareness exercises.
Needs of Children: Different Stages
Children have different needs at different stages and GenWise refines its summer school offerings to cater to the characteristic needs of each age group, as outlined in the table below, while the major activities remain similar. The characteristics of each age group are largely inspired by Maria Montessori’s work on ‘Planes of Development’.
GenWise Summer School is mainly targeted at age groups 10-12 and 13-15 currently. Programs for age group 16-18 are also planned in the near future (though our experiential learning programs at Auroville already cater to this age group).
These immersive learning experiences are complementary to the efforts of parents and the school. Specifically, GenWise brings in the following elements that the child needs-
"The best way to learn from mentors is not to absorb what they know, but to internalize how they think. Collecting their knowledge helps you solve the challenges of the day. Understanding their thought process helps you navigate the challenges of a lifetime." - Adam Grant, Organizational Psychologist, Wharton
GenWise Master Mentors not only have significant experience and expertise in their fields, but are also life-long learners. For example, one of our mentors who teaches gifted undergraduate students, enrols himself as a student in other courses at the same institution to learn about new topics such as Gaussian geometry. Another example is one mentor- an accomplished computer scientist, who has taught himself Persian using a flash card system based on the principle of spaced repetition memory. These mentors understand how to break down complex ideas and skills to help young learners to learn these.
Authentic Tasks and Appropriate Challenges:
Authenticity of tasks provides motivation to the learner and an appropriate level of challenge results in 'stretch' to expand current capabilites, without being discouraging. Some examples of authentic and challenging learning tasks that our students have experienced include:
Critically comparing different types of money- from coins, currency notes to bitcoin, based on the ‘functions of money’
Calculating how long it would take to boil 200 ml of water in an electric kettle, verifying the theoretical prediction through experimentation and reviewing the possible reasons for deviation between theory and experiment
Designing a box that will protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a height, given certain materials, and evaluating the reasons for the differences in performance of various designs
Mapping the connections between seemingly unrelated things like the fat in biscuits, displacement of indigenous populations, and the air quality in South East Asia
Living Independently in a Residential Environment:
Activities like sharing a room with others, keeping track of their things, what they eat, working with others on activities outside of the classroom etc., help the child to take the first steps towards independence. Getting involved in activities like cooking, gardening or even doing their own washing opens up children to experiences they may have been closed to earlier, and improves their confidence in taking care of their own needs.
Deep change requires going beyond ‘mind-focused’ learning and enriches the heart, hands and body too. From tinkering with their hands, cooking, body awareness activities to living in a forest community in Auroville, we provide different levels of experiential learning in our programs. The experiential learning 'ingredient' completes the sequence of learning and action i.e. See- Become Aware- Develop Sensitivity- Take Action.