Head Start Educational Academy was founded by Riad Mahmood in 2005. It began its journey in a single room with ten children, sharing space and facilities with Head Start Montessori House of Children, Koramangala, a pre-school and obviously not planned or designed for children ready to stretch beyond the pre-school level.
However, the ‘spirit’ behind an enterprise is always what gives it strength and momentum and this spirit carried it out of the first single room into the first floor of a rented house and survived with multiple usage of common space before its founder was able to organise a permanent campus.
In 2009, the first learners of Head Start Educational Academy along with those who had joined over the first four years, moved into the unfinished current campus, amidst cordoned off areas where construction was still happening. The children, along with our very supportive academic and administrative team braved being in an undeveloped area with meagre facilities. The pioneer parents were encouraging and bore the anxieties that come with strange places, and the rough and tumble of an unknown region. There were ‘out of bounds’ areas where the children were not allowed to tread and some amount of construction noise. Food was cooked at our Koramangala campus every morning and travelled sixteen kilometres a day to Sarjapur by van. Delays caused by unexpected traffic or the railway crossing being closed often caused a disruption in the timetable but children are resilient and waited, bearing hunger and some amount of excitement from the unknown. Looking back at those early days one realises how a family must come together to make something happen; it was indeed a close knit family – the HSEA team, the children and the parents. In fact, it was the bonding and the relationship that all members shared that established the foundation on which we built. In spite of being in India’s Silicon Valley, cell phones never worked at the campus and communication with Bangalore city was difficult. Any pioneers have to be strong and we look back at our first teachers and parents with gratitude and affection. The fact that they are still with us, despite the hardships endured, speaks volumes of their fortitude and character. It also shows belief and faith in our school’s philosophy.
Understanding the philosophy and uniqueness of an organisation helps the parent and the school work together keeping the child in mind. It is this understanding that spreads into the future and remains with the child; not necessarily just the principles of math and physics, but the principles of life. And to quote Montessori, education is for Life, not for the classroom.
In our tenth year, our pioneer parents, their children and our hard working team are still with us. A few may have passed on to what they consider ‘greener pastures’ but those who have remained are steadfast and true and continue the HSEA journey. The campus is beautiful, the children even more so. And how the family has grown!