StartupStory #60: Progressive Edge- In Founder Priyanka Khandelwal’s Shoes

 

Founding gen next pre-school Progressive Edge early 2016, Priyanka Khandelwel is proud of her all-woman and mostly moms’ organization. She worked extensively in HR with corporates like Credit Suisse and Wipro before taking her passion driven plunge into shaping young minds.

Describing entrepreneurship as a constant roller coaster ride, Priyanka says, a day without a problem makes you wonder if there’s a storm brewing! “For me, it’s not just about the kids. It is also about the parents – guiding them, reassuring them and even helping them with their challenges, all much part of my responsibilities,” says Priyanka, walking us through a typical day in her busy life.

Startup Essentials

A next gen preschool, Progressive Edge has state of the art infrastructure, conducts smart classes with visual aids and has an Xseed Curriculum.
They have programs on Cartooning, Life Skills, Yoga, Music, Dance and expose kids to 5 languages.
Their centre in Baner has Playgroup and Nursery programs. Progressive Edge commences a Playgroup class at their Koregaon Park centre this month.
The school conducts events in the city promoting better parenting and a platform for kids. With a Progressive Mom and Child Contest in August, their Super Mom and Dad Contest kicks off next month with S.Q.U.A.T.S (a revolutionary online fitness platform).

“My mornings start with coffee and an hour of research work,” she admits adding that working in education and training demands daily research and planning. “After sending my son to school, I’m off to work where a couple of hours have me tending to paperwork.

Afternoons are essentially brainstorming sessions with the teachers. “I schedule most meetings early evenings. Post 6 pm, I spend time with the kids in our day care centre.”

Playing, teaching or simply working with them is such a joy!

The pre-school has eight teachers and nine support staff at their Baner and Koregaon Park branches. Speaking of their curriculum, she discloses that they’re working on structuring music and fitness programs that stimulate overall development in kids.

Quiz her about the idea of introducing tiny tots to 5 languages and she explicates, “The Human brain develops almost 90% by the age of 6. Kids have an immense potential to learn, so we provide them with a variety of experiences that stimulate their brains and life skills. We expose our kids to Hindi, English, Marathi, Japanese and Sanskrit to stimulate development.

Their Growth Mantra

“Limiting our intake and increasing the quality consistently is the key. We want to grow slow and steady while maintaining our quality.
The simple logic being – the bigger the school, more the number of teachers you will need. Can I get 15 awesome teachers for my kids? YES! But if you grow in thousands, can I get 100’s of awesome teachers? Probably not!
When dealing with kids so young, personal attention to each is of utmost importance and we are known for that.”

Touching upon the work culture, she shares that Progressive Edge is pro-creativity. “Our USP is our TEAM, their enthusiasm, dedication and motivation. When hiring, all I look for in my teachers is passion for making a positive difference! The rest can be trained. We have doctors and even engineers on our team. My objective is keeping them motivated and to give them freedom and some direction. This freedom of expression drives them to make magic with the kids at Progressive Edge!

She declares flexibility of work is a key perquisite that lends a phenomenal output. She doesn’t believe in counting employee leaves and shares that no salaries have been deducted since their inception.

“Yet no work was ever compromised. Of course at the end of the day, I am the eternal back up for everyone!” she smiles.

“Entrepreneurship has no room for weekends,” says the lady who admits Saturday is the week’s most hectic day for her.

CEO After Hours

Director at an education company, Priyanka trains students in Global Research and Immersion Program with NTU and NUS, Singapore. Most weekends see her traveling to different parts of India for this.
When in town, Sundays mean indulgence in the form of cheat meals with her family.
She enjoys watching movies, helping her son study and organizing her wardrobe.
Weekend getaways with her husband have taken her to Jabalpur and Nagpur recently.

“Shuttling between the two centres, juggling meetings, inquiries and events takes up all of my time. I’m also an avid networker. So I like to catch up with as many people as I can, with every spare moment

“Running a preschool is not a job, but pure passion,” explains Priyanka.“You need meticulous planning and immense motivation to execute things with great finesse.

“At the end of the day, the most satisfying thing is to see the little ones enjoy and evolve,” she signs off.

Pune365 takes this opportunity to wish this passionate entrepreneur Priyanka Khandelwal and Progressive Edge much success in the years ahead ! 

 

Aditi Balsaver

Aditi Balsaver

A rapacious reader and animal lover, Aditi is a traveler on weekends and a writer at night..
Aditi Balsaver

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