Case Study: Peekapak at NOLA Micro Schools

Introducing Amika Kali, Elementary Studio Guide at NOLA Micro Schools in New Orleans, LA. Amika talks to us about how she uses Peekapak at her school.
 

The Need for Character Education

I was motivated to use Peekapak after having a discussion with our school founder, Kim Gibson, about implementing a character education program that our students could relate to. We needed the program to be flexible, able to be used with some independence, and, most importantly, not be boring for students!

I realized that Peekapak fulfilled that need and more.

 

Modeling Character Traits

The first thing we did when we started Peekapak was to do a character analysis. We discussed the characters, and the teammates (what we call our students) told me how they relate to the characters and their descriptions.

I found that character needs to be modeled while it is being taught. I selected middle school students that exhibited the traits taught by the Peekapak lessons. For example, when we did the Peekapak unit about Courage, I invited a middle school student that showed a lot of courage to help me read the story and lead the lesson activities.

 

Peekapak’s Impact at NOLA Micro Schools

Peekapak’s program has made a positive impact on both our elementary students and middle school students. The middle school students enjoy being a guide and the elementary students enjoy having someone with a different approach. This allows me to implement leadership and communication skills, and foster healthy relationships.

One middle school student recently told me:
“I liked teaching the class and I was happy that they were learning the things that we learned last year but in a new and fun way of doing it. I love that the story was about something that can happen to anyone and that the other half of the story was about how to solve it.”
Even our younger students told me that they would teach the lessons to their parents or siblings!

 

Encouraging student participation in different ways

I would encourage schools with multischool systems (i.e., elementary and middle in the same capacity) to replicate what we are doing with the Peekapak program by involving students from different grades and allowing older students to teach a lesson. This emphasizes the importance of having a voice and instills leadership skills in students.

 

The importance of learning character education from a young age

Character and Social Emotional learning is important to teach because it fosters communication within children. I think that without the ability to communicate what/how they are feeling, children are left with a sense of emptiness. Character and Social Emotional learning allows them to develop good relationships with themselves and others. The earlier that it is taught and modeled in a child’s life, the more aware they become about themselves, their environment and others.


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Ami Shah is a Co-Founder & CEO of Peekapak, an edtech startup that teaches social-emotional learning skills like self-regulation, empathy and team work in the class and home. Peekapak is backed by; Silicon Valley based accelerator, Imagine K12, the Edtech vertical of Y Combinator and; the Unreasonable Institute.