Agastya has built its reputation on programs designed to take advantage of the innate curiosity and creativity of children. Many of its programs, however, are most beneficial for older students. Enter Maja Box.
While Agastya’s labs and curricula are geared largely to students in grades 5-9, the Maja Box promotes experiential learning, or discovery through exploration, for children 7 through 11 years old. It translates well for siblings to play together, or for parents to play with their children. Where the Lab-in-a-Box is designed for the school, the Maja Box is for the home. Ownership endows the child with the responsibility to care for the items, so that s/he can return to the box again and again with a joy of learning. Repetitive play encourages a child to explore, break, build, discover, and share. Breaking and failure are intentionally a part of the Maja Box, because scientific discoveries that are not successful, or that disprove theories are also important to advancement in a field of study.
Maja Boxes contain games, puzzles, scientific toys, and do-it-yourself activities to amuse, entertain, and educate. Instructions are included as pictographs, taking the child through the steps of an activity. A Think Box at the end raises questions, encouraging thoughtful reflection on the activities.
The pilot program that first tested the Maja Box was introduced to children through nine Operation Vasantha centers. Initially scheduled for 45 minutes on alternate days, its popularity was so overwhelming that the schedule was changed to two hours daily for four weeks. Possibly the surest sign of its success, however, was that the Maja Box continued to be a popular activity after the pilot program ended.