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This Edtech Start-Up Gives Children the Social-Emotional Skills Needed for Success

As the winner of the 2022 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Micro-Business Award, Ami Shah shares her story

By Sarah Cassidy


Growing up in Mississauga, Ontario, Ami Shah’s childhood set the foundation for an entrepreneurial mindset. As a child of two Indian immigrant parents, she learned early on the amount of work, dedication, and passion that goes into being an entrepreneur. She also learned what it took to build a successful business from the ground up. 

When she was nine-years-old, Ami’s mother began taking arts and crafts courses, working towards her dream of running her own business. Her mother then bought a flower shop, where Ami spent much of her time. Ami grew up working at her mother’s shop, learning to sell and create products, while also seeing the behind-the-scenes work and back-end of the business. Through her parents, she felt as though entrepreneurship was a goal to aspire towards. 

Ami’s start-up experience, in tandem with her time spent teaching children abroad, inspired her to start thinking about building her own company. She was further motivated when a friend of hers began writing a children’s book. Wielding child-like imagination, Ami wondered how she could utilize the power of narratives and storytelling to inspire children to want to learn. 

Ami realized the importance of equipping children with the emotive skills they will need in every aspect of their lives early on, rather than leaving them to develop these skills independently later in life. Taking matters into her own hands, she built Peekapak, an award-winning, Canadian edtech organization that teaches social-emotional learning skills in the classroom and home. Peekapak’s curriculum focuses on developing self-awareness and control, relationship and interpersonal skills, decision-making strategies, and empathy that apply to school, work, and life. 

Through Peekapak, Ami and her team are reinventing the pathway to children’s wellbeing. Her company harnesses the power of education and imagination to enlighten and inspire children to take an interest in learning and growing, while setting themselves up for success in their academic, professional, and personal endeavours. 

Based heavily on research showing that investing in the explicit teachings of social-emotional learning skills early on in children’s lives will help them not only in academics, but in everyday life, Peekapak incorporates its lessons into reading, writing, and vocabulary curriculum. For example, while developing literacy and vocabulary skills, students can read a book about  a character who learns how to work through his feelings of nervousness and anxiety around his first day of school. With this book, students learn to identify physical symptoms of stress, practice reading and learning new vocabulary, and they learn a relatable lesson about how to self-regulate their feelings. 

Elementary students also have a learning game they can play where they build their own avatar, who can express different emotions. In the game, students can practice doing a “self check-in,” with the data being shared with their teachers to gauge their social-emotional learning skills. Older students are able to read human interest stories inspired by real life experiences, allowing them to relate to and connect with the challenges experienced by others and learn to build empathic responses on a deeper level. 


Peekapak helps children become successful, compassionate, caring, and empathetic citizens of the world. Its unique platform teaches children important social-emotional learning (SEL) skills so that topics like gratitude, perseverance, and respect become not just something they hear about, but a part of who they are.


While building Peekapak, Ami coincidentally realized that she needed to work on her own social-emotional learning skills.  

“Being an entrepreneur in the early stages was very stressful and draining,” said Ami. “I had never started my own company and there was so much to learn. I had to take a step back and explore new strategies for self-regulation, and I dove deeper into the skills I needed to relearn.”

Ami found it rewarding to see the developed curriculums and applications of her teachings from Peekapak make a difference in her own life and wellbeing.

“If we equip future generations with the social-emotional learning skills they will undoubtedly need throughout their lives, they won’t have to backtrack, as I did and many others do, as adults.”

When the pandemic hit, Ami experienced the same anxiety that many business owners had. Her customers, primarily teachers and schools, became quiet, as they were dealing with their own pandemic-related challenges. She used the time to reach out to all of her clients, asking how they were and how Peekapak could help support them. 

Through Ami’s leadership, Peekapak was able to pivot quickly to meet their clients’ needs, adjusting their platform to support accessible remote learning. For the entirety of the 2019-2020 school year, Peekapak opened their entire platform for free. Although they did not make any income, they saw a huge influx in their platform users and community. 


Peekapak makes social-emotional learning (SEL) fun, easy and seamless for teachers, parents and especially children, so that kids learn without even realizing it.


Today, Peekapak reaches over 750K educators and students across North America, using stories, evidence-based lessons, and game-based learning. Behind-the-scenes, teachers receive real-time reports showing a student’s progress and emotional state. This empowers educators to be proactive in helping curb future mental health issues. 

As the winner of the 2022 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Micro-Business Award, Ami is honoured and grateful to be recognized. Since winning this award, Peekapak has continued to grow its impact, expanding internally, and internationally. In 2023, Peekapak is launching its high school curriculum program, making its impact stretch from pre-K to 12th grade. 

“It may feel like there’s never a good time to start, but when you work on something that you are truly passionate about, people around you will come and support you on your journey. You find people along the way who believe in you.”