When schools closed their doors in March due to COVID-19, it was not just classroom instruction that students were missing out on. It was also the after-school programs, extracurricular activities and sports, all of which are shown to help students grow and develop.
Since the pandemic started, millions of families across the U.S. have been attempting to balance their jobs with childcare responsibilities. More than 7 in 10 parents report that managing their child’s online learning is a significant source of stress in their lives. While many of those same parents recognize the importance of enrichment, they simply do not have the capacity to work through soccer drills or help their child program a robot.
Unfortunately, even as some schools attempt to return to in-person instruction, after-school enrichment programs and extracurricular activities hosted by public and private schools remain limited to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
That’s where enrichment pods come in.
What is a learning pod?
A learning pod is a small group of students who gather together under the guidance of a teacher or instructor to learn, explore and socialize.
Learning pods (also known as “pandemic pods,” “micro-schools,” or “nano-schools”) are similar to homeschool cooperatives. They are formed by parents who want more control over their child’s education when the traditional educational offerings are not meeting all of their child’s needs.
With many experts predicting schools will rely on remote learning until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed and widely available, interest in learning pods across the country are exploding. Learning pods offer a compromise that parents are comfortable with: their student won’t return to a classroom packed with students, but they can still receive face-to-face support and social interaction.
Parents are reaching out to friends and neighbors to informally start their own pods, but trusted names in education, like KidzToPros, are offering learning pods in a safe and structured environment.
What is the importance of after-school enrichment?
Children learn best when they are happy, healthy and active.
The Harvard Family Research Project embarked on a decade of research and evaluation to determine whether participation in enrichment activities made a difference for children. The answer their research found was a resounding YES!
The study found that “children and youth who participate in after-school programs can reap a host of positive academic, social, prevention and health benefits.”
Three of the study’s main findings:
- After-school programs can improve academic achievement and can boost a child’s perception of themself and their attitude toward school.
- Participation in after-school enrichment is shown to decrease drug and alcohol use, violent behavior and delinquency.
- Participation in after-school programs tackle the growing problem of obesity. Students who participate in after-school enrichment are more likely to make healthy food choices and engage in more physical activity.
What is an Enrichment Pod?
While many learning pods focus on helping a student master their grade-level school standards, enrichment pods place an emphasis on learning through play.
Although they often incorporate time for homework or quiet reading, enrichment pods focus on active movement, art activities and STEM projects that help develop a child’s self-esteem and ignite their curiosity.
Enrichment pods work to develop the “whole child” by encouraging creativity and physical skill development in a group setting. They help students explore their interests in new ways and develop a love for learning that can translate back into the classroom.
Research from the National Center for Education Statistics suggests that students who participate in enrichment activities feel more engaged with their school. And when students feel an attachment to their school, they are more likely to succeed.
Many enrichment programs are taught outside of typical school hours. With schools limiting the time students spend in the classroom to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, enrichment programming is being put on hold at many schools until the virus is under control.
However, now may be the time that students need enrichment activities the most — as their routines are disrupted and they are struggling to feel attached to their school through a computer screen.
Benefits of KidzToPros Enrichment Pods
KidzToPros has been offering enrichment to students at California schools since 2016, and is now offering dedicated Enrichment Pods to keep minds healthy and active after a long day of remote learning.
Learning can be exhausting, but KidzToPros believes that students still need exercise, interaction and the opportunity to explore outside of regular school hours. KidzToPros promises to bring a mix of energy, patience and fun to each pod.
Listed below are four reasons why KidzToPros Enrichment Pods are a great choice for families.
KidzToPros has provided more than 1 million hours of enrichment education to more than 25,000 students since its founding in 2016. Over the past four school years, KidzToPros has developed a safe, innovative and fun environment to help children explore interests ranging from coding to arts and sports.
Each KidzToPros Enrichment Pod is designed specifically for the individual students involved. The schedule and curriculum is designed based on discussions with the families in the Pod and the needs and interests of each child. KidzToPros instructors are trained in the specific activities requested by the parents and students.
3. Top-notch instructors
The right instructor makes a big difference. KidzToPros only hires instructors who are passionate about developing the whole child and helping to foster a community of learning. KidzToPros instructors commit to put students first and ensure students are not only learning, but thriving and discovering a new world of opportunities.
KidzToPros works with each family involved in a learning pod to create and enforce safety protocols that include daily temperature checks, social distancing and face masks. KidzToPros has a strong track record of safety: During KidzToPros’ on-site summer camps, not a single one of the 3,500+ campers or 192 instructors tested positive for COVID-19.
How to join an Enrichment Pod
KidzToPros Enrichment Pods can support between 4 and 8 students in grades K-5. Pods can meet three or five times a week from 2-4 p.m. or 2-6 p.m.
While each Enrichment Pod is operated out of the home of pod families, pods will visit neighboring parks and fields for fresh air and more space to play.
Families can start a KidzToPros Enrichment Pod with friends and family they already know, or KidzToPros can help find other interested families from their school or geographical area.
KidzToPros also offers two other types of learning pods:
- Distance Learning Pods, which support students as they work on their school’s remote learning assignments
- Micro-school Learning Pods, for students no longer enrolled in their public or private school.
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.
To learn more and register today, visit the KidzToPros website.