Sharing of most things is discouraged in the midst of a pandemic. No sharing a warm embrace with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, no sharing small spaces with a co-worker and definitely no sharing a bag of popcorn while watching a movie.
However, many families have found it easier to start sharing one thing because of COVID-19: The responsibilities of educating their children.
As schools closed down last spring to prevent the spread of the virus, parents quickly learned that it really does take a village to raise a child. As they attempted to juggle their full-time job while helping their young students through remote learning, parents started reaching out to their social networks for help.
Returning to a packed classroom is not safe yet, but online learning comes with its own challenges. So, parents are pooling their resources and their children together to keep their kids learning and healthy.
What is a micro-school?
The definition is in the name: It’s a small school.
According to Meridian Learning, “a micro school is a purposely small school led by a trained professional and focused on meaningful, sustainable, whole student learning.”
Micro-schooling is not a new concept — in fact, there are even similarities between the micro-schools popping up today and the one-room schoolhouses of the 19th century.
While one-room schoolhouses existed because long-distance travel to a larger and centralized school was difficult, today’s micro-schools are making a comeback for other reasons.
By limiting the number of students learning in a single setting, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is reduced between families. In a micro-school setting, students still receive personalized attention from a teacher and opportunities to socialize with their peers, but they are far less likely to be exposed to COVID-19.
A growing trend
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only about 3 percent of the school-aged population has been homeschooled in recent years. The pandemic could cause that number to skyrocket.
A poll by USA Today/Ipsos found that 60 percent of parents were “likely” to continue with home-based education through the 2020-21 school year.
Since schools have only started re-opening over the past few weeks, it’s too early to tell how many families followed through with home-based education.
However, one thing remains true: Families are looking at education differently due to the coronavirus — at least until a vaccine is available.
How does micro-schooling differ from other learning pods?
Learning pods are a hot topic right now as parents and educational institutions navigate the best and safest way to reopen schools for in-person instruction.
Many of the learning pods (also called “pandemic pods”) popping up across the country are designed to supplement the education that students are receiving through their remote learning program.
Micro-schools, however, operate more like homeschooling. Students who choose to enroll in a micro-school are not concurrently enrolled in a public or private school.
What are the benefits of micro-schooling?
While many families started looking into micro-schools for safety reasons, they soon discovered a multitude of other benefits associated with the learning model.
The average student to teacher ratio in the United States is about 16 to 1. Assuming a micro-school has just 5 students enrolled, that means a student receives three times as much personalized attention from his or her teacher.
During the late 1980s, a group of teachers and students in Tennessee were randomly assigned to different class sizes. The study found that the students placed in the small classes outperformed their classmates from the larger class sizes.
“This is equivalent to students in the smaller classes having received about 3 months more schooling than the students in the regular classes,” according to a Brookings Institute analysis of the experiment.
Micro-schools are not bound to the same standards or laws as public schools, so they have more flexibility in what and how they teach grade-level content. A micro-school teacher can develop curriculum around the interests of each individual student rather than focusing on what will be on an upcoming standardized test.
Even in large classrooms, teachers often ask students to complete work in small groups. That’s because students can develop more self-confidence and teamwork skills in a smaller setting. In a micro-school, students will feel more comfortable with asking questions and working as a team.
How does a KidzToPros Micro-school Pod work?
Each KidzToPros Micro-school Pod is assigned a background-checked and certified teacher with no less than 3 years of teaching experience. The teacher is responsible for developing grade-specific curriculum and providing the necessary materials.
KidzToPros teachers are equipped with a basic library of research-based lessons that meet state standards, but they will also individualize each lesson based on a student’s interest and how well they are grasping the material.
Teachers will develop project-based lessons for students that allow them to see the real-world application of what they are learning. STEM projects, physical activity and crafts will also be worked into the schedule to help develop the whole child.
KidzToPros believes the Micro-school Pod concept aligns with its mission of supporting each child’s creative, academic and emotional potential by providing a highly-personalized and diverse learning experience. Teachers are charged with igniting curiosity and inspiring students to explore the world around them.
KidzToPros Micro-school Pods meet in the homes of pod students, which are set up to ensure the health and safety of all students, staff and families. Each family must agree to take appropriate preventive measures against COVID-19, both during school hours and at home, including social distancing and the correct use of face coverings.
Interested in learning more about KidzToPros Micro-school pods? Check out the information below!
How to join a Micro-school Pod
Micro-school Pods Structure
STUDENTS PER POD: 4-6
SCHEDULE: Half day (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) or full day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
DAYS: 3 days per week or 5 days per week
Parents interested in learning more about KidzToPros learning pods are encouraged to register for one of our free 30-minute “Introduction to Home Learning Pods” webinars.
KidzToPros also offers three other types of learning pods:
- Distance Learning Pods, which support students as they work on their school’s remote learning assignments
- Enrichment Pods, which provide enriching and fun activities like STEM, arts and sports, beyond the school’s learning hours
- Park Pods, which are designed to keep children active and engaged after the school day ends. Park Pods meet at your neighborhood parks and fields for afternoons filled with physical activity and play.
To learn more and enroll today, visit the KidzToPros website.