The world of work changes and progresses at a sustained speed and with it the professionalism, needs and skills required by the market change. Consequently, as an impact strategy, Little Genius International School has developed an ecosystem suitable for promoting the psychological and cultural development of the child in the context of the society of the future that is already present, rather than proposing a mere educational system.
Their training offer includes the promotion of active participation, the development of awareness and the increase of knowledge regarding environmental, economic, social, professional and cultural urgencies.
Schools are certainly the human organizations with the greatest potential for social and environmental impact. They direct individuals and their social aggregations towards the progress and improvement of civil, economic, scientific and environmental life. If human society suffers or fails, the role of education is primary, in the success as well as in the failure of human communities.
Little Genius International was born with the DNA of a Benefit Society ante litteram, with the conviction that, in a context of strong contraction of state welfare, education is the best tool to spread practices with low environmental impact and high social impact in a positive way. Little Genius International was born, above all, for a precise and explicit will of the founders, strongly influenced by their studies and research and by Antonio Genovesi’s theses on the civil economy, the pre-unitary Neapolitan socio-economic system and interest in international ethics and social systems.
Little Genius integrates in its corporate purpose, in addition to profit objectives, the aim is of having a positive impact on society and the environment. In particular, through attention to shareholders and stakeholders, measuring their results in terms of positive impact on society and the environment on a par with economic and financial results, also voluntarily pursuing one or more purposes of common benefit in exercise of the activity.
The Daunting Road
LGI (www.littlegenius.school) consolidates in 15 years of activity in a very broad reference market in which to position itself as a leader, and with a highly innovative structure rooted in its own educational system protected by copyrights, trademarks and patents, but also on a solid basis theory for learning in the digital age.
Little Genius International was born in October 2004. Capital is private and personal and the shareholders of the company were all women. After the issuance of authorizations (24 months of bureaucracy hindering company efficiency) and the hygienic-sanitary adaptation work and restructuring of the first headquarters in Grottaferrata (RM), in 2006 the activities of the kindergarten began.
2007 – 2009:
The company reaches ‘break even’ during the second academic year (2007-2008). The teaching and ATA staff are trained by the team of Prof. De Bono of the World Center for New Thinking in Malta to use lateral and creative thinking techniques and to stimulate these aspects in the child’s mind.
2010 – 2012:
In 2010, the first Little Genius logo was registered at UIBM and the first ICE® Infinite Child Evolution methodological basis was defined, developed and filed in SIAE.
Elementary school is added to the nursery. The school goes from the initial 250 sq. meters to the 1000 sq. meters of the current location and is setup in a brand-new bio-architectural structure – the first ‘breathing building’ built in Italy, in the center of the Tor Vergata-Frascati research area, integrating the school structure with a high rate of innovation in a territorial context of basic research.
2013 – 2015:
LGI formalizes its organizational model and the criteria for the adoption and application of the ICE® proprietary teaching methodology thanks to a co-financing from the Lazio Region which allows to create a reference model that can be transferred to other licensed schools, to define and adopt an organizational system and management to guarantee the high qualitative standards of the didactic activities deriving from the ICE® methodology. At the end of 2014 it was a certified B Corp with a score of 114/200.
LGI became the 6th Italian company to be a Certified B Corp, with the highest score in Europe and the first Italian company in the center-south to become B Corp. Since 2014, Little Genius International pupils rank above national averages in the INVALSI and international Cambridge Assessment tests. In the same year, the school adopts the flipped classroom approach, a factor that will prove to be key during the pandemic, in which LGI was able to deliver its school services through an online educational platform without any technological impediments.
CLGI creates the first “edutainment” games (https: // www.youtube.com/watch?v=irliMAJyyQI) based on ICE technology and introduces the first low environmental impact policies through an organizational procedure that indicates and monitors the actions daily tasks that each stakeholder must carry out to reduce the environmental impact.
LGI’s score as B Corp exceeds 140/200. LGI obtains certification as Cambridge International School. The Classe365 platform comes into operation which integrates and enhances the flipped classroom activities. The staff grows and reaches 15 units, the school exceeds 100 students.
July 2016 saw the first visit of 30 teachers and principals from Seoul (South Korea) which inaugurated an important new benefit branch.
Verso Technologies and Little Genius International launch a research project to bring wearable technologies into the classroom. The school reduced the consumption of plastic for canteen supplies by 91% in 2017 and activated the paperless classroom policies in elementary classes from September 2018.
LGI received 17 presidents, principals, directors, vice-presidents of various educational institutes from Yunan, China, eager to deepen the innovative teaching method of Little Genius. LGI begins testing Keepers – a parental control app based on Artificial Intelligence that protects children from cyberbullying and pedophilia. LGI is among the 10 B Corporation Italian companies that have held conferences, meetings and useful comparisons on the subject of sustainability.
September 2019 to August 2020:
LGI is nominated (among stall B Corporations) Best for Italy and Best for the World for the third consecutive year. LGI is considered among the Italian companies that obtain the best scores in one or more areas of the B Impact Assessment (BIA) – Governance, Workers, Customers, Environment and Community. LGI participates in Heroes Maratea, the Euro-Mediterranean festival of innovation that involves the most inspired heroes of our time: business leaders, business angels and investors, creatives, policy makers and the most interesting startups. LGI in Florence for the national day of Benefit Societies – to address the theme “Benefits for women: the key is in the business model”. HAW Hamburg – Fakultät Wirtschaft und Soziales teachers and students visit the school and learn more about the ICE methodology.
The teachers and students of LGI benefit from a direct and continuous comparison with international institutional partners from all over the world. LGI was the leading participant among the world B Corporations, in the World Climate Conference (COP 25 UN Climate), and announced the ‘zero emissions target’.
LGI launched, in collaboration with the Ronald McDonald Children’s Foundation, an initiative to support families and children hospitalized at the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Palidoro. The Chinese language is introduced in the LGI curriculum from kindergarten starting since the last year of kindergarten.
The “Io Donna” insert of “Il Corriere della Sera” hosted an exclusive interview with the Director of Little Genius International – Ruhma Rinaldi, on the topic ‘Ethical Business’.
All the children in the school have access to teaching at a distance. LGI offers distance learning as part of the Digital Solidarity project, to 450 children outside the school. The ICE™® methodology works alongside a blockchain algorithm. Pupils will be able to certify their studies and civic path, accumulating value in proportion to their efforts and results are profuse and obtained in the course of school and civic life. LGI has an austere Human Rights Policy.
The Inspiring Infrastructure
The school is housed in a ‘building that breathes’, the first in Italy for some innovations which were born from the dream of creating a structure in-line with organic and bioclimatic architecture. The founding idea is to achieve a profound harmony between anthropic activity and nature, a space for the free, creative, joyful and social life of man that develops with love, truth and freedom in organic and eco-sustainable continuity from the inside to the outside: “Ad intra ad extra”.
For the building that houses Little Genius International, the materials were selected according to some fundamental parameters: the absence of toxicity, the energy expenditure in the production cycle, recyclability, the characteristics of thermal insulation, the origin geography, durability, processing flexibility. It is also conceived with a view of saving energy, in fact it has been designed, calculated and built to fall within the energy class A. Building in class A and using toxic materials, as it happens commonly, means increased rate of infections, the causes of disease, malaise and discomfort. The school building is built with photocatalytic materials that reduce pollutants and the bacterial load present in the environment, with obvious benefits for the health of pupils.
Having a bioclimatic building available has greatly facilitated the complex safety procedures during the pandemic. The following are other measures taken to combat Covid: Closed number of classes; smart working for all staff and DAD as required by DPCM continuous staff training on Covid safety procedures; structure sanitation (although not mandatory); PPE (masks, visors, gloves, gels) available to staff, students and parents; temperature detection gear at the entrance of the school; installation of additional devices (air purifier, germicidal ceiling light, horizontal and vertical signs, decontaminating mat, parafiato for desks).
How To Nurture Champions
Little Genius International guides the learning and development of its student’s talents also via a range of extra-curricular activities such as:
- Homework Club (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
- Evening classes (6+) with limited enrolment: music band, cooking and etiquette ( Bon- ton), Fab-lab, survival skills and theater.
Fab-lab at Little Genius International is a workshop of experimentation and prototyping for the young (6 to 11 years old).
The development of practical skills and aptitude to self-construct allows students to discover robotics and familiarize themselves with the functioning of electrical circuits and digitally controlled devices. LGI aims at making its students conscious of their potential, providing them with the opportunity to experiment with the real perception of objects and technology that surrounds them in light of their ever changing and evolving variables and in direct consequence to their acquired knowledge and creativity.
- English and foreign languages; individual or group lessons (for children and adults)
- Music courses (4 to 13 years old) dedicated to the study of: pianoforte, violin, violoncello, drums, classic and electric guitar.
- Saturday Playgroup (3 to 5 years old). Learning English while having fun with creative activities: songs, arts and crafts, and games.
- Saturday English Course (from 6 years old): Reading and writing in English, story-telling and playing with numbers.
- Summer School (3 to 11 years old – from mid-June to mid-September): Multidisciplinary school in English with entertaining academic lessons and recreational activities.
- At the end of the English language courses, it is possible (upon request) to undertake a Cambridge Examination directly at school.
The Founder and Educator
In 2006, Ruhma Yusuf Rinaldi founded the Little Genius International School. Always passionate about issues related to the defense of human rights and, in particular, of women and children, she followed a training course, from 1996 to 1998, at Forward UK in London on the subject of the protection of African girls and women.
From 2000 to 2003, Mrs. Rinaldi was technical writer at the United Nations Rome headquarters within the departments of Sustainable Development, Women and Nutrition. She holds a degree in ‘Development Studies’ from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, with specialization in Sustainable Development.
In addition, Mrs. Ruhma Rinaldi completed Master’s in Sociology Health and Healthcare from the London Medical School University of London, with a thesis on the “Social implications of breastfeeding in the modern age”. Ruhma’s core passions are ethics and human, animal and environmental rights. She holds a qualified teacher status and is fire and first aid trained.
Enduring Hardships …
On the basis of a very far-sighted corporate strategy and valuing years of investments in technological platforms and detailed planning of teaching, Little Genius International has responded with great strength to the Covid-19 emergency.
Here are some of the numbers that photograph, only in part, the great efforts made:
- Over 2,000 hours of live video lessons and instructional pills and 300 didactic help-desk interventions.
- 64 hours of psycho-pedagogical helpdesk.
- 5,000 LMS resources available for 9 classes.
- About 1 Terabyte of academic data and information produced by pupils and teachers.
- Kindergarten pupils were also able to benefit from distance learning services. Extra-curricular activities were also guaranteed for internal and external students (art courses, theatre, Fablab, language courses).
- To ensure the proper implementation of distance learning, LGI offered tablets on loan for free use to all families who needed them.
The effort put in made it possible to not have any decline in academic performance in 56% of students, and also to find an increase in performance in 41% of students. Only 3% of the students independently chose not to use distance learning programs.
… And Rising Above
Since 2016, Little Genius International has obtained certification as a Cambridge International School, the result of the constant and professional commitment expressed in years dedicated to high-level education, investments and organization of an educational infrastructure unique in Italy and rare in Europe – a result recognized and certified at the highest levels after a scrupulous process and series of audits. A rigorous approach to teaching and continuous evaluation of results (annual, where many international schools use internal and non-certified evaluation methods) which now leads students to measure themselves against international, transparent and unambiguous standards, a factor rare in the world of international schools if not at very high levels (facts demonstrated by the high results found for students in the Cambridge, INVALSI tests).
A Microcosm of Values
Little Genius international offers an open mind method that guarantees the highest and most recognized quality of teaching. “We are committed to fostering a curriculum that adapts to present-day needs,” commented Mrs. Ruhma Rinaldi. “A curriculum that considers learning as an intellectual and social process, respecting the uniqueness and talents of each individual – which are recognized as values. A method that will meet the needs of the child, the adult, the family and the social environment,” she added.
Little Genius International is a microcosm of values, built together within the family context and the social fabric your child is living in. When the school chooses to look after your children’s education, it chooses also to care about their growth and future opportunities, which do not rely exclusively on the professional skills of the teacher and the validity of the method, but also and, most of all, on the fostering of critical analysis, creative thinking, and the opportunity and freedom of choice and mind for future generations.
The events of the last year, the impact and consequences of the pandemic, have confirmed the importance of the strategic choices made by the company over the last few years. In particular, the choice of developing an educational ecosystem suitable for fostering the psychological and cultural development of the child, always in step with the speed of changes in society. This has made it possible to readjust, in a short time, activities and operations to respond to the challenges imposed by the global pandemic.
Riding the EdTech Wave
The Little Genius digital program intends to promote the ICE methodology and the holistic development of children through a transversal approach to teaching and learning situations related to all age groups and all subjects through the promotion of a digital paperless class. This helps facilitate skill building and development through an integrated curriculum and hybrid models that go hand in hand with cognitive processes such as problem solving, self-regulated learning, coping strategies and reflectivity, all of which help to achieve increased and more productive learning. According to the weekly plans and schedules, students have the opportunity to practically “live” the ICE methodology. This includes and implies engaging in enhanced learning.
Infinite Child Evolution (ICE®) games: Infinite Child Evolution (ICE®) games represent a virtual platform of infinite lessons that take the learning of subjects to a higher and more detailed level, while remaining at the level of children. Lesson themes currently used and available include:
- Biodiversity – make informed decisions about your physical environment.
- The skeletal, lymphatic, muscular and circulatory systems.
- Band music – compose, record and layer music.
- Comic strip- encouraging reading and writing skills.
At Little Genius International, these games have been designed, tested and developed to ensure that our students’ skills are not limited to standard textbooks and teaching programs.
Digital natives support – Technology training with Apple Inc Technology at LGI.
Ms. Ruhma elaborated: “At Little Genius Interntional, we believe it is important to provide digital natives (children who are born in today’s technological culture) with the know-how necessary for the future. Given that information technology is rapidly transforming communication and the culture in general, as we know it, we aim to ensure that our students are familiar with the multiple uses of computers and learning their applications. For this reason, Little Genius International staff has been trained by Apple Inc in the use of iPads and Apple applications suitable for children.”
Apple Inc iPads at Little Genius International: Apple iPad will be presented to the students as a game. Behind a correct presentation and LGI’s supervision, while using the numerous applications for children, the school provides its children with a range of experiences that include games, e-books, garage bands, downloads in different languages. The diversification of lessons is based on learning skills, multiple skills, virtual science labs, simulation activities, arts activities, etc.
Electronics: Electronics completely permeates all environments of the modern life. Understanding what it is and what its basic principles are, will help children understand the world around them. The school plans to tackle the journey into the world of electronics with different supports, which are listed below:
- Little Bits: modular electronic modules useful forteaching how to master the internet of things (IoT) of the future.
- Lego Mindstorms: they are a system that allows you to build robots effectively and at a low cost. The brain of the Lego Mindstorms robots is the programmable NXT brick, which can be controlled via USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
- Experimental bases: perforated boards in which it is possible to insert electronic components and power them to test their functioning.
- MaKey MaKey: New support that integrates electronic components with commonly used objects. Children can connect this support to various objects to transform them into musical instruments or video game controllers, etc.
- Leap Motion: Device that allows you to interact with the computer by recognizing the movement of the fingers. Students use ‘Leap motion’ to complete skill and educational games such as recognition and interaction with three-dimensional shapes.
- Sifteo cubes: small cube-shaped devices, in which one of the faces has a touch screen. The screens display images or words that interact with those of the other cubes when they are moved closer or further away from each other. The possibilities for fun and above all for learning for all ages are practically endless, from applications on color recognition to those of composing words or sentences.
- Coding: younger students will be introduced to the programming language through games played outdoors and in the gym during which they will have to instruct their classmates as if they were interacting with a computer. From the first grade onwards, students will use online platforms and dedicated applications in order to become familiar with the language of coding through the use and finally the creation of videogames.
- Paperless Classroom: The school publishes information of various things on the site
- 3D printer: thanks to this tool, the pupils get to face the world of solids and the various ways to pass from the design phase to the realization phase, exploring the concept of ‘form and function’.
- Drones: drones now differ in countless categories related to the fields of application, this constantly evolving tool is part of tomorrow’s work. Children begin to know and fly drones of different types.
Little Genius’s educational ecosystem – Education 4.0 – is enriched with a new component by hosting the Big Data for Schools (BDS) project by Little Genius International. The project aims to help develop awareness and increase knowledge relating to urgencies and professional opportunities (skill shortage), through a hardware/software system for the acquisition and processing of data that can be detected in the school environment, and intended to feed a blockchain validation system of skills. BDS, an integral part of LGI’s complex and articulated Research and Development strategy, consolidates the activities carried out in the two-year period 2018-2019. It incorporates the results and growth prospects, integrating and leveraging some of the priority assets: the Infinite Child Evolution ICE® methodology and the ICE Blockchain patent owned by Little Genius SpA Società Benefit.
LGI adheres to the project promoted by ‘B Lab’ and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) which promotes and enables change, acceleration and tangible progress of companies in the direction of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.
The activities of Little Genius International are being analyzed and obtain, on the new evaluation platform born from the synergy B Lab and UNGC, a baseline score of 82.8%: a high value on human rights, labor practices, environmental management, and good governance, but which represents only a starting point for LGI.
The Millennium Goals LGI is contributing to, are:
- Quality Education (SDG4) with a score of 76.8%
- Gender Equality (SDG5) with a score of 26.8%
- Decent work and Economic Growth (SDG8) with a score of 43.7%
- Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12) with a score of 75.8%.
- Life Below Water (SDG14) with a score of 44.4%.