It’s hard to believe that the first half of the school year is nearly over, and even harder to believe that with the recent nationwide spike in COVID cases, there’s virtually no hope for a return to “normal” schooling anytime soon. While there is some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to a vaccine, some education professionals have projected that schools willl still be part-time and/or hybrid come next fall. Even in the toughest lockdowns, Pandemic Pods and Learning Pods are the last to be disallowed by law. As we share this article, Los Angeles has greatly restricted dining, travel, business and gatherings, but is allowing learning pods to continue with enhanced safety requirements because they are a form of childcare! If you’ve been on the fence about exploring the idea of a learning pod (also known as micro-schools and pandemic pods), here’s our list of health, developmental and sanity-saving reasons to take the leap into the world of microschooling. For the sake of simplicity (and a little silliness) they all start with “s”.
If the proper precautions are being taken, learning pods have the capacity to be safer than schools and preschools. Here are some key safety benefits of a privately formed microschool:
- Controlled physical environment (contact precautions, sanitization, etc.)
- Controlled number of students (i.e., how many kids are in your pod)
- Adequate PPE
- Set COVID safety rules & guidelines that you agree upon with your pod and your pod teacher
- Shared COVID safety precautions both in & outside of school environment
For more microschool safety information, you can check out our free Emergency Preparedness Checklist here.
All of us, whether we’re 6 years old or 65, thrive in a structured environment. Just like babies sleep better on a schedule, kids behave better when they know what’s expected of them, and parents function better when they know when their kids are going to be taken care of by someone else so they can get work done or run errands. While it would be amazing to have a child who can stay on task with school work all by themselves (if you have one, please tell us your secrets), the reality is that most aren’t capable of that level of self discipline. And can we blame them? Zoom meetings are tough for adults by 2pm. We imagine the same goes for kids and algebra. A learning pod can help to provide the schedule and structure that many kids—no matter their age—need to stay on track for success, while also offering the consistency and familiarity that many children are missing in this “new normal.” It can also relieve parents of the task of memorizing an ever-evolving school schedule…… which we know doesn’t hurt either.
You can’t be everything to everyone all of the time. No matter how hard you might be trying, when it comes to schooling from home, your child may have educational needs that you’re not equipped to handle, and day-to-day supervision that you just can’t provide as a working parent. And you know what? That’s ok. Schooling from home can truly be a full time job, and for sanity-saving reasons alone, exploring a learning pod with professionals who know what they’re doing could be your saving grace. If the impending doom of another year of distance- or hybrid-schooling is making you lose brain cells at a more rapid pace than usual, give yourself the gift of a microschool. It’ll help. We promise.
Much to every parent’s chagrin, children behave and listen differently with authorities that aren’t their moms and dads, and your child’s success in this new part-time/hybrid world could be influenced by whether or not you, as a parent, can elicit the same positive learning behaviors as a teacher would. Even if you’re able to handle your child’s schedule with ease, consider the extra support that a professional teacher could offer to your child—especially when you take the time to match with one that fits their unique goals and aspirations. Have a look at our guide to finding the right teacher for tips on finding the perfect teacher match for your pod.
5. Social Development
One of the biggest concerns amongst parents in the current climate isn’t about their child’s performance in math or science but about their lack of socialization with peers. Human interaction, especially for children and teens, is an essential part of development and vital for mental health… and it’s absence is being felt across the board. Kids who are old enough to have attended school in previous years miss the human connectivity and camaraderie that came from their former day-to-day life. And children who are in preschool or just beginning grade school are yearning for connections that run deeper than a computer screen—even if they’re not aware that that’s what they need. A micro-school pod can offer a safe, small, controlled environment where a child can experience peer socialization, and encourage the healthy human relationships that so many are craving.
6. Scholastic Development
While completing school work in their own time and at their own pace may be valuable for children in many ways, there are proven added benefits to learning in a group. Being amongst others who retain and process information differently than they do, can encourage children to expand their patterns of thinking, and develop new learning behaviors. With a smaller group size than a regular classroom, and a teacher who understands the value of both individualized and group learning, you just might find that a learning pod can lead to your child flourishing in ways that they couldn’t on their own at a computer, under your tutelage, or in a bigger classroom at school.
7. Sports & Games
Physical activity for kids is vital—and not just to burn off some of that quarantine energy. It actually helps their bodies and their brains develop! While doing jumping jacks on Zoom is better than nothing, having an in-person teacher who can lead group phys-ed-style group exercises that cater to your pod’s needs is even better. Physical activities like sports, yoga or backyard obstacle courses can also help children to develop positive classroom skills like:
- Problem solving
At PodSkool, we believe that the transition into distanced and hybrid learning can be painless—especially with the help of some seasoned professionals. If you want to match with like-minded others in your area to pod with, or you already have a pod and want to find a great teacher, we’re here to guide you through the process, and help turn your microschool vision into a reality!