Cookie preferences

HundrED uses necessary cookies that are essential to use the service and to provide a better user experience. Read more about our cookies.
Accept cookies

Papagoya Micro-School

place India + 2 more

Bringing Play focused education into India and celebrating the unique potential of each child.

Papagoya is a community focused, play-centric micro-school that incorporates the Pedagogy of Play Framework alongside the IGCSE. Papagoya is an innovative school model showcasing how education can be imparted keeping child wellbeing at the centre. Papagoya aims to move the needle in India from rote learning & singular notions of success to a model that allows every child to learn differently.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
Students lower
May 2024
At Papagoya we are strong proponents of “each child in their own time”. We believe children are all born to learn & will learn at their own pace. We believe that when a child's social and emotional needs are met, they feel heard and validated. This gives them ownership and validation over their learning journey and they invest more deeply in their own learning when they feel joy.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Education in India was becoming overly competitive and the metrics to measure success were created to support one specific kind of learner, ignoring the many kinds of learners children can be. The focus on the child and their wellbeing was being ignored to a the point of children feeling a huge sense of failure and stress far too young. We exist to bring joy back into learning.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

We have a strong conviction that learning in smaller communities enables better quality education, focuses on the child & allows an entire community to be built & participate around the child's learning.

The day is designed to be holistic in nature with 50% of the day spent on core learning skills, 30% spent on exploring other skills like music, art, sports & 20% of the day is spent on life skills & wellbeing.

The core Papagoya value is to keep the child at the centre of all we do. All decision making starts with the question “is this good for the child?”

Children have agency, voice and autonomy in the school and participate in creating school rules, food menu’s & feed into the curriculum of what they would like to learn.

The adults who lead the explorations are all experts in these fields from within our local community & come to work with the children on a weekly basis.

Parents are considered core to the community & participate in the learning journey.

How has it been spreading?

Papagoya is increasingly being recognised for its child-centric approach to education with many educators reaching out to us to spend time in our campus and learn good practices that can be incorporated into their spaces.

The school model is being developed in an open source manner that will allow practitioners to experience our practice and incorporate it into theirs or to develop more community-centric schools.

Papagoya actively supports past educators and parents who have been inspired by our model & have started similar spaces of learning. Papagoya is part of networks like the Playful Schools to share our practices, and is also recognised by UN Women India's anthology of 75 women creating impact in leadership.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Reach out to us, we believe the more we collaborate on education, the more we can all work towards paving a new path. We invite you over to spend sometime with us to experience life at Papagoya. As you decide on how you would like to create a community space for learning, we will support and share our approach and assist you in getting your space started. Write to us on

Implementation steps

Organise Student Cafes
This is a space for children to express concerns, discuss changes they would like or rules they want to change (e.g. menu changes, exploration requests, resource requests). This also acts as a space where educators can talk to children about concerns like bathrooms not being kept clean or children getting hurt more frequently during play. A space to brainstorm and come up with ways we can all better our school and the environment for everyone, and where everyone feels heard.
Create a Feelings Room:
This is a quiet sensorially pleasing space, with books on feelings, tools to draw & colour, sound machines, bean bags, lava lamps, and soft carpets. This becomes a space within the school environment where children know they can go to if they want alone time. It also becomes a non verbal call for help as an educator sees a child there they know to intervene. It is also a space for quiet 1:1 conversations or to help resolve conflict without being in front of everyone.
Feelings Circle:
This is a once a week space that is created in smaller cohorts, or as a whole school where children are encouraged to speak about their emotions, things they want to share or behaviours that are being exhibited by others that they don't enjoy. This is not a space of naming or blaming, but a space to navigate conflict & emotions as a group, with children all sharing ideas on how a child could navigate a struggle or validate a feeling. During the pandemic many conversations focused on fears.
Children are encouraged to journal on a weekly basis. There is time carved out in the week and they are encouraged to keep a personal journal for themselves. The idea behind this is is that our emotional needs can be met in many ways - by talking to our friends, by expressing themselves in our feelings circle, or at the feelings room, however sometimes its about articulating them for ourselves and also finding an inner way of navigating our challenges or feelings by using the written medium.
Wellbeing Coach
A specific educator holds the role of wellbeing coach, and while the environment is created in a way that a child goes to any adult they connect with, we found that one person who also has the time and focus as part of their role can then be available for children through the day. This person is also critical in creating a bridge between parents and the school community by supporting parents, but also helping them understand their child's needs within school and the support their child needs.
Healthy Amounts of Outdoor Time
A key aspect to our children's happiness has been plenty of outdoor time and play time. Social & emotional wellness and ability to sit in class, absorb content and complex subjects has become easier when children are physically challenged in the outdoors & their energy needs are met. When children come into school they don't go straight into routine - we have a flexible drop off and start in the morning with free play time at both ends. This allows children to have control over their day.
Choice Time:
A big aspect to wellbeing is the ability to have some control over your day. Schools often become largely dictated with children having little to no autonomy in their learning journey or their day. Often the vocabulary we use makes a huge difference to the way children view their learning spaces. Choice times are pockets in the day where children have full autonomy over what they would like to do during that time, which allows for a sense of self and autonomy that contribute to wellbeing.

Spread of the innovation

loading map...