“The campus at Kuri affords us unrivaled advantages, one of which is the freedom to create learning spaces like the Garage Science laboratory, which is custom-built to enable young children in the primary years to explore freely. Another resource is our brilliant and engaged parent community, which steps up to design and co-create programs along side us that strengthen our teaching and help our faculty remain true to the ideals of an inquiry-based pedagogical style.
The people who send their children to Kuri stand apart in that way. This is a short video about a provocation designed by Eibne Sajjad and Amina Pasha (two incredibly creative and involved parents) for our Year 1 class, who were doing a Unit of Inquiry about professions and the tools used for different jobs. Since learning is transdisciplinary in the IB PYP, our study of electricians and what they do, led to an exploration of conductors and insulators.
Allowing kids to mess around with materials laid out for them, and seeing them work respectfully, with purpose, and with genuine curiosity and excitement, was amazing in itself. But then hearing them declare, and discover for themselves, what a textbook would have spelled out for them in a dull and boring manner, was priceless.
Headstart School, Kuri Campus
IB World School
“I’m so excited to be sharing this with everyone. Eibne and Amina have been doing stellar science lessons all year, and our first video is finally up. Here’s a peak inside Kuri’s Garage Science laboratory – these are 6 year olds (first grade) testing their predictions about the conductive properties of different materials, and drawing conclusions from their findings to classify said materials. As you will see, they tested many things that were not on the worksheet, like their hair bands (metal ones worked but plastic ones didn’t), the tables, their own skin, etc. They were supplied with 12v outlets that were safe and completely kid friendly, even for dipping into some Copper Sulphate solution. Garage Science is a curriculum that is deliberately created using the least expensive materials we can find because the co-founders hope that it can benefit schools across Pakistan some day.”
Programs Coordinator at Headstart School Islamabad
Parenthood has driven us to investigate multiple pedagogical theories and educational practices, however, our two children have been our best teachers! Blurring boundaries between the learner and the educator, we instinctively lean towards a hands-on approach to life and learning.
The truth is, we find kids absolutely fascinating! Their unrestrained wonderment, imagination and positive energy makes us want to be around them. Our home and workspace, in all the cities we have lived and worked, inadvertently become a play field for children. Working alongside children inspires us to develop creative learning tools that can empower these young explorers and discoverers to freely investigate the world of everyday stuff, for an enduring learning experience!
Our wish to open up the world for children to question, probe and pursue materialized when we collaborated with Nadine Murtaza, Programs Coordinator at Headstart School, Islamabad. Nadine is also founder of Dheere Bolo, a children’s publishing startup, which is working to develop curricula and content, in local languages for Pakistani students. She is the mother of two amazing children who are the inspiration behind her passion for early childhood education. Nadine’s enthusiasm for creative pedagogical practices and support for our experiments in hands-on learning facilitation propelled the conception and development of Garage Science.
During our kids’ summer holiday in 2016, we reprogrammed our house in Islamabad to create space for a studio, where the four of us started tinkering with everyday stuff, working on ideas and prototypes. For our initial exercises, cardboard was the perfect medium, until the need for accuracy and precision surfaced. In search for the right material, we discovered PVC foam boards. This material is lightweight, solid and has a rigid structure. It’s highly resistant to moisture, has a low flammability rate, while being easy to cut, shape, drill, glue and print. PVC foam boards are mainly used for signage and exhibition panels due to their easy fabrication and high quality smooth finish. These sheetscomes in bright colors and feel of this material is fantastic – we wanted to sink our teeth into the canary yellow sheets!
We began developing a range of learning implements including workstations with inbuilt low voltage DC current, pressurized air and water supplies. We designed, improved and fabricated each tool with continuous input from children, using locally sourced new and recycled materials. When The Dawood Foundation announced its first Magnifi-Science Exhibition in Karachi with the aim to promote the culture of science and informal learning through exhibits, experiments and expositions, we applied for a spot to exhibit our prototypes. In order to participate we needed a name, so we worked on a large red poster with the words Garage Science cut out and pasted in black and white – the name stuck and we went on to set up a Garage Science laboratory at Headstart School after the exhibition.
Participation at Magnifi-Science Exhibition proved to be a great opportunity to interact with a large body of students, educators, and science enthusiasts from all over Pakistan. Garage Science received an amazingly overwhelming response from people of all ages and also got a mention in the local newspaper. After the exhibition, The Dawood Foundation purchased a set of Garage Science workstations for use at Dawood Public School in Karachi.
Setting up the Garage Science laboratory at Headstart School turned out to be an ideal progression for not only did it provide opportunity to test new prototypes and receive instant feedback from users, our engagement with learners and educators presented many unexpected learning opportunities for us, taking our work through multiple design iterations.
A year later we assisted Generation’s School, Karachi in setting up a Design Thinking Studio at their school. We conducted a preliminary workshop for educators, the consequent reflections and discussions geared the faculty to adopt the use of the studio as an exciting resource for discovery and learning. These teachers find themselves enabled to collectively plan and create active leaning opportunities for their students which are relevant to their program.
Over the course of our interaction with educational institutions, our ideas and objectives underwent a rapid evolution, steered by our insights on learning, we began to refine our ideas and vision. We imagined creating a ‘knowledge-construction site’, a third space for relationship building between different groups and individuals to help view knowledge as something that does things, or makes things happen. We figured out that this could only be achieved through freeplay, devoid of standard school curricula and distinctions between educators and learners!
Since September 2017, our kids, Naiel and Sasha have been ‘unschooled’. This decision is the reflection of our fluxing and flowing philosophy and our effort to facilitate our children’s explorations and discoveries as we attempt to prepare them for life. Choosing to educate our kids from direct experience with the world has been an amazing journey for all four of us, triggering a series of crazy new ideas and possibilities as we live and learn!
Jugaar Adda is the manifestation of our adventures in building a ‘community’ for children and young adults because we believe they have the creative potential and agency to change the world for the better, under the right circumstances, and we want to help them do that!
Learn more about Jugaar Adda by following the links below