Sheba Thapar: Pioneering Education with Sacred Step Experiential Learning


What are you doing now?

Sheba Thapar, a seasoned professional with 27 years of experience in the field of education. Passionate about working with children, she has embarked on a remarkable journey as the founder and driving force behind Sacred Step Experiential Learning School. As a dedicated educator, Sheba’s primary goal is to create an enriching and engaging environment for young learners. Her preschool, located in Gurgaon, offers a wide range of programs tailored to children. Sheba’s expertise lies in designing age-appropriate curriculums to cater unique developmental needs of each child. She understands the importance of fostering a love for learning from an early age and strives to make every child’s experience at the school a joyful and rewarding one. At Sacred Step, Sheba has built a vibrant community of 270 children and a team of dedicated educators who share her vision. Together, they create a safe and secure environment where children can explore, play, and learn. She Recognizes the challenges faced by working parents.  She incorporates innovative teaching methods that focus on skill development and experiential learning. Children are encouraged to learn through hands-on activities, play-based learning, and engaging rhymes, preparing them for a smooth transition to higher grades. Excitingly, Sheba has embarked on expanding her vision by commencing the construction of a new branch, scheduled to open in 2024. This expansion reflects her unwavering dedication to providing exceptional early childhood education and reaching even more children with her innovative approach. Under her guidance, children flourish, parents feel reassured, and the future of education shines brighter with each passing day.

Pioneering Experiential Learning at Sacred Step: A Journey in Education

How did you reach or stumble upon your current profession?

Education runs in my family. My mother has been in the same field, working as a principal in a formal school. I grew up observing her dedication to her job, and it naturally intrigued me from a young age. I completed my schooling from Queen Mary’s in Delhi, pursued a BSc (General) from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and later earned an MSc in Mathematics.

Throughout my academic and professional life, I’ve always embraced every opportunity as a chance to learn and grow. I’ve had the privilege of working with various schools in Delhi, Noida, and Gurgaon, each with its own unique characteristics. For instance, I worked at a DAB school, where the teaching methodology mainly revolved around traditional chalk-and-talk. It was interesting to observe the age diversity among teachers, as many had been with the school for a long time until retirement. I had the opportunity to further enhance my skills and leadership abilities. I pursued certification from IIT Delhi, which helped me develop institutional leadership skills that have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth.

I also had the chance to work at an IT-based education school in Noida, where I developed my skills in computer literacy and integrated technology into the learning process. Furthermore, my experience with Mother’s Pride and Presidium schools allowed me to understand the business aspects of education. In 2020, I received the prestigious Certificate of National Committee Member from SIETIIE Innovation & Research Organization, recognizing my commitment to innovation and research in the field of education.

The profile I currently hold is a culmination of the qualities I acquired from these diverse organizations. I’m grateful to all of them for providing me with valuable learning experiences that have enabled me to establish my own school. In just one year, we have welcomed around 270 children, divided into morning and afternoon batches. The growth of our school has been primarily driven by word-of-mouth, as satisfied parents spread the good news within their circles.

I firmly believe that the lessons and culture I imbibed from college and the different places I worked have played a crucial role in shaping my professional path. It’s fascinating how the learning acquired along the way can contribute to your future endeavors.

Is this your ultimate dream career or just a vocation? Are you still in the search mode?

Oh, absolutely! Education has always been my ultimate vocation and passion. It’s not just a career for me; it’s a lifelong dream that I’m determined to fulfill. My vision extends beyond the current preschool to building multiple schools that act as feeders, nurturing and preparing students for their academic journey.

In the near future, I aspire to establish a larger school with a K-12 curriculum. This expansion will naturally bring in a greater number of students and a wider range of classes. It’s all part of my plan to provide a comprehensive and holistic educational experience that seamlessly transitions students from preschool to higher grades.

So, to answer your question, I am not in search mode anymore. I have found my true calling in the educational field, and I am fully committed to realizing my dream and making a lasting impact on the lives of countless students.

Did you find your calling? If yes, how?

Absolutely, I have found my true calling in the field of education. It was a culmination of my upbringing, experiences, and a deep-rooted passion. Seeing my mother’s dedication as a school principal, my own educational journey, and the diverse schools I worked with all played a significant role in shaping my career. Throughout my journey, I embraced every opportunity as a chance to learn and grow. Building Sacred Step Experiential Learning School and seeing it flourish, with happy parents and enthusiastic children, solidified my belief that I have indeed found my calling.

Best market trends and practices in your current profession?

The educational institution market is indeed vast, considering that every child has the right to education, and parents want to ensure their children attend a good school. Observing this aspect, I can see that the market is expanding, and there is an increasing demand for new schools. However, I also recognize the competitive nature of the industry. In the past, parents would visit one school for admissions, but nowadays, they explore around 10 schools before making a final decision, given the abundance of choices available. So, while the market is certainly there, we need to focus on how to maintain our position.

Running a school is not without its challenges. Initially, a school may pick up well, but over time, it becomes challenging to sustain its success. Managing a team of teachers can be a struggle, requiring effective communication and coordination. It involves dealing with parents, providing training to staff, and adapting activities to keep children engaged without monotony. Regular revision of the academic curriculum is essential, ensuring that it stays relevant and up-to-date. We need to embrace the concept of refinement with time, as rote learning no longer holds much significance. The upcoming generation wants to be actively involved, and we must stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the market. This is crucial for substantial growth in this field.

Additionally, the recent rise of online schooling has further transformed the landscape. Many schools now offer online classes, at least until the primary level. This shift has its own set of opportunities and challenges. Adapting to the virtual learning environment requires technological proficiency and innovative teaching methods.

The educational market is expansive, but maintaining a successful school requires continuous effort, adaptability, and staying abreast of market trends. By understanding the evolving needs of students and parents, we can navigate the challenges and grow effectively in this field.

Sheba Thapar