EMBRACES THE MONTESSORI PHILOSOPHY TO MAKE LEARNING ENJOYABLE, ACCESSIBLE, AND MEANINGFUL
Montessori education, a popular technique developed by Italian doctor Maria Montessori, equips children not just for success in school but also for lifetime learning and success in an everevolving world. It sees children as naturally curious and capable of starting their own learning in an atmosphere that is both adequately prepared and supportive.
This innovative method is ideal for children who do better in a more creative and interactive structure because it emphasizes self-directed exploration, tailored guidance, and hands-on learning.
Pebble Creek Life School has carved out a niche for itself in alternative education with Montessori pedagogy at its core, re-routing from the usual rat race and making the process of teaching and learning a joyful experience for all.
An inspiring and innovative business leader Moiza Rafath, Founder & Director, laid the foundation of this innovative endeavour in 2005 with the aim to support every student by fostering their innate drive for development and providing a carefully designed environment for each stage of growth.
Pebble Creek Life School has 500+ students across three campuses – Pebble Creek Life School, Pebble Creek High Montessori School, and Indah Erdkinder- A Montessori Centre for Work and Study is renowned for educating with its impeccable pedagogy, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and advanced study and learning equipment. They proudly wear the tag of being the only Montessori school in Hyderabad to also have a CBSE affiliation.
THE AREA OF EXPERTISE & EXPANSION
Pebble Creek is affiliated with CBSE, and it has three branches. Its newest campus is situated on a farm and serves as a Montessori Center for Work and Study for Adolescents.
The school is divided into three campuses. The first and oldest are located in the crowded Dr. A. S. Rao Nagar neighbourhood and span 1100 square yards and 9000 square feet. Its primary focus is on early childhood education through elementary school.
The Thumkunta branch has a built-up area of 46,000 square feet and is situated on 2 acres. and caters to students from Preschool to Grade 10 offering a CBSE curriculum. For the adolescents, Pebble Creek Life School’s extension, Indah Erdkinder – A Montessori Centre for Work and Study, provides a farm-based learning environment. This campus covers an area of 8 acres.
The state-of-the-art environment provides adolescents with a work- and study-ready atmosphere where the primary objective is to develop the fundamental life skills needed to integrate into society. Social identities, awareness, and economic independence are key aspects of learning and development.
Students take on managerial responsibilities for housing, agricultural maintenance, and accounting. They produce goods for trade and production, conduct research to solve problems on the farm in real time, and work on construction, housekeeping, cooking, academic studying and exploring expressive arts.
THE SCHOOL HAS NEVER HAD DEBT AND IS RUN BY A SOCIETY.
Because all of its campuses are operated out of leased space, they are able to charge a reasonable 1.5 lakh per year in fees. With a fleet of twenty-five buses, the school attracts pupils from all around the city who come for its distinctively engaging curriculum.
THE GUIDING LIGHT BEHIND THE ORGANIZATION
A visionary who has dedicated herself to Pebble Creek’s mission and adhered to it since the institution’s founding in her living room in 2005. Moiza Rafath started along this route many years ago by creating learning environments that were in perfect alignment with child development and the NEP 2023 policy.
Implementing NEP has been a cakewalk for the school leadership because everything that takes place at Pebble Creek is developmental for every single child—genius, slow learner, or neurodivergent. She has put forth an effort to draw a varied group of teachers to the institution, fostering the development of a vibrant learning atmosphere.
Prior to entering the specialized field of alternative education, Moiza began her professional career in the banking and hotel sectors.
She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education after earning an AMI Netherlands diploma at three different levels—3-6 yrs, 6-12 yrs, and 12-18 yrs—and a bachelor’s degree in economics.
AN EDGE OVER THE PEERS
Elaborating on the key differentiating factors of the Pebble Creek school and spilling some secret sauce behind its success, Mrs. Moiza Rafath quips, “As a school, we keep in mind Dr. Montessori’s philosophy of The Four Planes of Development while designing the learning experiences and classroom for our students. Textbooks do not restrict or limit us; instead, the curriculum we adhere to is specifically designed to meet the needs and speed of each learner. Extensive research that surpasses the contents of grade-level textbooks and several going-outs encourage pupils to learn via inquiry.
“At Pebble Creek, student marks and grades are kept confidential from the Primary Montessori through the Elementary years. Teachers are trained to provide in-depth feedback on the students’ written work, projects, and ideas in order to help them comprehend “how they learn” and “how they can progress.”
“In the high school years, we also do not have a concept of class toppers or rankings. We believe that every child learns differently, that children come from a variety of sociocultural and economic backgrounds, and that every child is fighting obstacles of their own. Rankings are not just misleading; they also create unnecessary complexes in students—both superiority and inferiority.
We support every child in establishing goals and offer remediation support to those who require it. We have found that when teachers are approachable and provide a secure emotional and intellectual learning environment, students are more likely to reach out to them than the other way around.”
Students’ motivation in the classroom is changed from external to internal via these support systems. It encourages excellence as opposed to competition and rivalry. Students can concentrate better on learning how to develop themselves when they are learning in an environment that is free from talk about scores and marks. When grades come into the picture, they are gently brought up to parents and students as educational resources that support the students in critically analyzing their own learning process.
PURPOSE-DRIVEN VISION AND MISSION
The school’s vision statement is as follows:
• To offer an environment that complements the natural development of the child.
• To provide a foundation for children to become conscious, socially adept, and selfsufficient adults.
• To make the process of teaching and learning a joyful experience for all
At Pebble Creek, what is most important is ‘a mind without fear’; the poem written by Rabindranath Tagore is therefore also chosen as the school poem. To uphold this value, it allows students open access to all members of leadership. Whether a child is in preschool or high school, every member in a leadership role will always find time to engage with them in a respectful manner. They provide them with an impartial evaluation and show them a democratic, non-hierarchical organization that they may feel a vital part of.
THE ‘MONTESSORI PHILOSOPHY AND EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION’: AT A GLANCE
Montessori philosophy is something that encompasses the education of the human potential from birth to adolescence and the elderly.
According to Montessori, every person has innate potentials and sensitivities that surface at different stages of development. Every stage represents a new facet of the child’s development that requires assistance.
Every learner, regardless of stage, is provided with an environment that fosters growth and allows them to reach their full potential. One special quality of the surroundings that are prepared at Pebble Creek is the transference of knowledge from younger to older learners and vice versa.
The goal of a Montessori education is to support a child in achieving the different levels of independence required at each stage of growth. For example, a young learner who is younger than six years old must have well-developed language skills and be functionally independent. Learning requires movement, especially for the youngest age range.
• The philosophy behind Pebble Creek’s slogan, “hands at play, minds at work,” enhances mind-body synchronization and development starting at a young age.
• Pebble Creek’s Elementary Years classes, which serve children in Grades 2 through 5, emphasize academic learning through one-on-one work in small groups and concept presentations.
• Learning by doing, given enough time to allow for observations, cross-disciplinary connections, and the formulation of original questions, therefore becomes an essential part of the student’s process of self-learning.
• Real-time projects in middle and high school, such as field trips, school activities, and projects, focus on multidisciplinary learning.
DEDICATED TEACHING TEAM WITH DIVERSE BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE
Backed by a team of passionate, hardworking, and dedicated teaching professionals, the school is ready to prepare each learner for future challenges that will enable them to reach their goals far beyond the horizon. The ability to adapt to their environment and time is what children most need to learn. Their confidence, expertise, and personality are all enhanced by working at Pebble Creek with a diverse group of people.
The team is made up of extremely skilled and knowledgeable specialists who are ready to take on any difficulties for the Core Principles and Values in an honest, transparent, and ethical manner. They discover the best ways to collaborate with a varied group of individuals and welcome their differing sensitivities and methods for diverse learning experiences.
With teaching talent hired from across the country and different backgrounds, students learn to adjust, build tolerance and appreciation towards a teacher’s style of facilitation, accent, cuisine, attire, and culture. Leaders in the organization realize that adaptability is essential to achievement in a variety of environments and interpersonal relationships.
THE DISTINCTIVE LEARNING ATMOSPHERE – AT PEBBLE CREEK
Pebble Creek is a futuristic school, operating on the principles of mixed age groups and independent work, wherein children are allowed to move about, plan their day and work cycles, make choices, repeat at will, and perfect their skills. Teachers do not tell children what to do or when to do it; instead, they trust Nature to help them uncover their true interests and inner curiosity. Youngsters are free to pursue their interests for as long as they choose, encouraging persistence and concentration through skill development.
Pebble Creek does not have a school bell system that sounds off periodically to alert children to put down whatever they are doing and move on to the next activity. They do not have a timetable for any of the students under the age of eleven; instead, they work in blocks of three hours without interruption. Children can choose to move between topic areas at their own pace in small groups of three to four or independently during these three hours. Their skilled learning facilitators provide essential lessons during this time, and children can explore concepts through follow-up activities, discussions, and outings.
Since this is a Montessori school, taking care of the environment is a big component of the daily schedule. Starting from their own classrooms, the children learn how to clean up, arrange their shared areas, and work with a shared set of supplies instead of bringing their own supplies and stationery.
NURTURING THEIR CURIOSITY AND CRITICAL THINKING
At Pebble Creek, every classroom is intended to stimulate curiosity. Having access to hands-on learning and laboratory materials for experimentation, along with a fully stocked library that is open throughout the day rather than just during the “library period,” has been a terrific way to keep the spark of curiosity blazing.
Additionally, science lab supplies, microscopes, and reference materials are easily accessible to students in their classes. For all the students under the age of eleven, in particular, the team has done away with the fragmented technique of teaching in a certain amount of time. Instead, they make sure that nothing stands in the way of a child’s self-construction through education.
ACCOMPLISHING NEW BENCHMARKS AND MILESTONES ALONG THE WAY
“What we see as an achievement is that our students have chosen diverse educational streams and have not caved into peer pressure or what their friends are doing,” said the visionary leader.
The students at Pebble Creek are placed in prestigious national and international universities, pursuing a wide variety of education streams, including medicine, engineering, design, music composition and editing, performance arts, psychology, physics, law, commerce, literature, and business management.
They bring with them vital life skills like conflict resolution and democratic conversations and decision making that enable them to navigate difficult situations.
They excel in sports, have been selected for statelevel teams, and have performed well in their CBSE Board Exams consistently every year since the first graduating batch. They have excelled in the Science Fairs and Exhibitions held at the state and national level by CBSE.
Road Ahead: Ten Years down the Line
Within a span of 18 years, Pebble Creek’s has paved the path for the highest calibre of Montessori education. In addition to educating parents and school administrators about the critical need to teach without the use of screens, in the future they aim to provide their services to mid-sized schools already in operation, helping them to convert their classrooms into immersive learning environments. Additionally, they hope to do research on the effects of a Montessori education on children’s general development and life outcomes.
Sharing more on the future plans, Moiza Rafath stated “We also wish to foray into Teacher Training because that is one area where we see a huge need for improvement and vision. We would like to work on creating more teachers who can lead transformational learning experiences for children across the country.”
PEARLS OF WISDOM
Before signing off, the leader shared some words of wisdom for our readers out there by quoting,
“Parents must also not be oblivious consumers of anything that is sold as education, particularly online through a screen, regardless of the content that has a significant influence on the human brain.”
“Adolescents require special attention, and we have to plan their educational experiences to support them as they make the enormous physical and mental changes that come with growing up. Our roles as parents and educators is to look at their interests, offer them a positive and enriching environment so that they are supported in making right choices.”
“If we treat children with respect and value their thoughts and support their activity, we will raise the most confident children, truly capable, emotionally strong and most importantly righteous and honest by nature. They will walk in and out of their adolescence with composure and go on into the society as strong thinking individuals.”