The Papagoya Story
Bringing play-based learning to India.
Papagoya is an extension of a life lived in Norway. Exposed to a very progressive Scandinavian way of life where women represent 40% of all Board seats, men take pride in going on Paternity Leave and toddlers grow to be confident, independent and gentle little people - created much intrigue over what is the key contributor to such a balanced scandinavian life. The common thread that allows for all of this to happen seamlessly, is the Norwegian Kindergarten. And so the thought, why can’t this be so, even in India?
Papagoya is our endeavour to create a safe and welcoming environment for children where they are met with the recognition and respect for who they truly are. It is our space where we can appreciate the intrinsic value of childhood. This is our effort at supporting working parents and particularly mothers, to pursue their ambitions and passions. Where we hope to encourage true gender equality and see more involved fathers. Papagoya is our long-term dream to influence early childhood practices in India. This is our way of making an impact, by creating an ecosystem that supports the new Indian parent and child.
Papagoya is now growing into a full school - with our parents being our biggest cheerleaders. Buying into the philosophy of play based learning and seeing their children be happy, joyful, curious, independent learners - the question they posed to us was, why not school? And thus started our journey of working and developing a curriculum for school that incorporated play at the heart of it but also balanced out the Indian cultural requirements of school. Our first cohort started mid pandemic in June 2020.
So why are we called Papagoya? The name Papagoya is inspired by papegøye, the Norwegian word for Parrot. A parrot's character traits are amazingly similar to those of a children - they come in all shapes and sizes, love to imitate, are musical and colourful, they need environmental enrichment where play forms a large part of their learning, and they even walk with a rolling gait! Parrots are also highly intelligent birds and against common myth imitate the environment they are put in because of their superior intelligence, and hence need to be put in an environment that is enriching and worthy of imitation. Much like children, we thought. To our children, Papagoya means play. They eagerly arrive at Papagoya (we are not called “Kindergarten or School”) every morning to enjoy the day’s play and learning.
Founder & Director
Helen comes from a family of passionate and strong educationists who’ve worked towards equity in education and ensuring children get a relevant and meaningful education. Papagoya is the marrying of her long term passion to work with children, her vision of making learning a joyful experience and her understanding of the support a woman needs to be able to don the hats of career woman & parent. Helen has over 17 years of experience in marketing, entrepreneurship and education. Having worked and lived in Norway & Denmark she witnessed how the Norwegian Barnehage program allowed women to get back to work and ensure a holistic development for their children, a concept she knew India could greatly benefit from. In the past, Helen has channeled her love of working with children through kids theatre workshops, travel clubs and nature camps.
Marie Anne Ski
Norwegian Framework Advisor
Marie Anne is our Norwegian Partner and Curriculum Advisor. She has worked across Norwegian Barnehages (Kindergartens) for the last 21 years with children from age 1-6 years old. She has a master’s degree in working with children with special needs and a Masters in Management from BI, Oslo. She has also worked for 5 years as a language teacher in Norwegian Kindergartens helping children who are not native Norwegians understand and learn the language while helping them integrate into the Norwegian culture. Her expertise lies in working in multicultural kindergartens in Oslo. Marie Anne is passionate about children learning through play and developing independence, safety and care through the Norwegian Kindergarten Framework. Marie Anne’s passions lie in her love for travel, meeting new people and learning about other countries & cultures and loves the time she spends in India. Marie Anne works closely with Papagoya in ensuring the experience , pedagogy and curriculum in India stays aligned to the Norwegian Kindergarten Framework.
Ms Nivedita Mukerjee is an education advisor for schools, higher education institutions and ed-tech companies. She is a master trainer with CENTA, Center for Teacher Accreditation. Over the last 3 decades, Nivedita has taught life sciences, genetics and communication in high school and college, co-founded a Post Graduate Institute of Media studies, an IB world school and helped set up a private University in Bangalore, India. A fourth-generation educator, Nivedita has been a research scientist, a journalist with Doordarshan (National Television), Zee and CNBC Asia before switching completely to be an educator, writer and speaker on education-related matters. Nivedita publishes a popular weekly newsletter aimed at parents, students and educators. She believes that an enabling environment that nurtures curiosity to learn, coupled with the skill of communication will help each one of us with the ability of advocacy for self and others. We will be able to persevere, work in collaboration and with empathy to bring in change, solve problems and create an impact in society. Nivedita works closely with the Papagoya School in helping us combine curriculum with a play-based learning approach.
School Curriculum Advisor
Preksha did her Bachelors in Electronics Engineering from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and worked in the corporate sector for 7 years before she moved into the education field 10 years ago, something that she had always been passionate about. She has her Masters in Special Needs and Inclusion from University of Northampton, UK. During her time teaching in Primary School, ranging from grades 1-5 (aged 5-11), she found herself most inclined to work with children who struggled both emotionally as well as with their learning, and had worked towards finding ways of including them in her classrooms with the help of some wonderful co-workers and coordinators. She has worked with CBSE, IGCSE, ICSE and IB curriculum in primary school, and works individually with students with special needs in Middle and High school as well, mainly with Math and general life skills. Preksha is passionate about working with schools and teachers on creating inclusive learning environments. Preksha works with the Papagoya School in guiding our teachers to help create learning environments where all students can be included in the classroom and combining the IGCSE learning goals with our play-centered learning approach.