WestEnder interview – August 11-17, 2011
Launching Education 3.0
Pear Tree offers innovative after-school learning in Kits
Why did you decide to start Pear Tree Education?
We started Pear Tree Education for two reasons. Firstly, it is to address the need to modernize education to make it relevant to today’s society and the needs of young people and Canadian businesses. In order for this to happen, young people need to become proficient at using 21st century skills. This links in with our second reason which is to challenge kids to actually apply education and these skills to real-life projects connected to work and life. Consequently, we are hoping to inspire a generation of exceptional Canadian entrepreneurs that will make a positive contribution to the Canadian economy and society.
Can you tell us a little more about the principals of Education 3.0?
Education 3.0’s fundamental beliefs are grounded in skills which are necessary for someone to be successful in the 21st century: working collaboratively with others, learning by doing, creating new ideas, using technology meaningfully, thinking critically, and being able to apply knowledge to real life. Also, Education 3.0 treats subjects, such as math and literacy, as being interrelated – the way they are in real life. All of these 21st century skills are developed and applied through theme-based projects.
What kind of classes do you offer?
We offer group classes for students aged 8-16. Each class consists of combined grades (i.e., grades 2 and 3). Classes are based on themes such as ancient civilizations, sustainability, life cycles, etc. Students actively explore these themes – in depth – using 21st century skills. Furthermore, they constantly work on projects developed by their groups to reinforce the need to apply education to meaningful, real-life outcomes. This, in turn, helps students to understand and remember what they have learned.
Tell us about the teachers at Pear Tree.
Our teachers are the backbone of Pear Tree Education and set us apart from any other after school center. We only hire highly-qualified and talented teachers. All of them are equipped with nothing less than master’s degrees or high-level bachelor’s degrees. Furthermore, they have solid teaching backgrounds in the Vancouver school system. They are also passionate about 21st century learning skills and mentoring children to achieve a sense of their full potential. Our teachers receive regular professional development to ensure that they are constantly at the forefront of modern educational methodology. What is more, they play an active role in the improvement of our company.
Tell us about your facilities in Kits
Our learning center has been specially designed to encourage collaborative learning in student-centered classrooms. We have modern facilities with state-of-the-art technology. This technology is there to enable students to play an active role in researching, collaborating, designing, and presenting ideas.