What Parents Need to Know About Learning Pods
The school year is fast approaching, and teachers and parents alike have some important decisions to make about what education and learning will look like for their students this year.
While high school students can expect a balance of blended learning in the new school year — a mixture of both in class and at home education — primary and junior students under grade 8 are being asked to choose between in person or online learning .
With students all having different learning styles and parents having differing comfort levels with sending kids back to school, many are opting for alternative education through learning pods at this time.
Learning pods — which some refer to as pandemic pods — refer to small groups of students learning in a controlled environment. With the future of education changing rapidly, parents are opting to establish learning pods to ensure consistent learning. More often than not, these pods get facilitated through small-group tutoring, as parents and private tutors like Prep Academy Tutors are working together to create a safe, contained, and consistent learning environment.
At Prep Academy Tutors, we offer both online tutoring services and small group tutoring services to meet the varying needs and educational preferences of parents and students across Canada, and in areas of the US.
What Are Learning Pods?
CNBC describes learning pods as “small, in-person groups of students learning together with the help of an in-person tutor or teacher.”
This education and learning method is the growing preference of parents looking to opt for remote learning in the coming year. Learning pods help maintain flexibility, safety, socialization, and a sense of normalcy in a more controlled environment, all while still having a professional educator’s leadership.
When you opt for Prep Academy Tutors’ group tutoring services, you can have peace of mind knowing that our tutors are certified teachers and subject area experts.
Where Are They Happening?
Learning pods are happening all over the world as parents, teachers, and school boards worldwide are making changes to adapt to a new learning situation.
The History of Learning Pods
While learning pods have risen in popularity in response to our new normal, the concept of small group learning is not new. In 2019, Maureen O’Shaughnessy, Ed.D., published a book about this learning style titled Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids. O’Shaughnessy is a founder of the Micro-School Coalition, and states that micro-schools and learning pods should “reflect the values of the community that they serve.”
The Benefits of Learning Pods
Flexible with Virtual Learning
If you are opting to continue with virtual learning this year, you can establish learning pods with select students at the times that work best for you. The flexibility and consistency can help you enforce a schedule and routine for your child to maintain the upward trajectory of their education.
Learning pods also present the opportunity for children to socialize, which they may not get when learning remotely. In learning pods, the ratios are also smaller, which allows teachers to provide more personalized education.
Parents are coming together to encourage their students to continue learning with others who can help support their educational journey. After selecting a small group of students, they hire private tutors to lead these pods. Prep Academy Tutors offers small group tutoring to bring small groups of students together to guide their education and encourage them to learn from one another.
The trend of overwhelming class sizes often leaves teachers overwhelmed, and students without access to personalized education. Learning pods allow teachers to work closely with a much smaller group of students and cater to their learning styles.
Prep Academy Tutors maintains the educational philosophy that every student learns differently and is capable of learning. This is why our tutors approach education with a personalized approach and create small groups to ensure students get the level of education they need to reach confidence and academic success.
In this new normal, we are looking to minimize our exposure to others. Learning pods with the same small group of individuals allows students to build a bubble to maintain education and safety and socialization for a sense of normalcy.
There are various ways that the new normal has impacted the mental health of our students. Not having that support, encouragement, socialization, and relatability can be challenging, especially for students who thrive from collaborative learning. By creating a learning pod and engaging in small group tutoring, you can help your child connect with other students in a safe and comfortable environment for all.
Sense of Normalcy
In many ways, learning pods signify what our new standard will be for the considerable future. This learning style allows us to facilitate routine and socialization at a smaller scale to help students slowly regain a sense of normalcy.
Pods offer flexibility as they may accommodate for different ages, levels of learning, and schedules. This flexibility also makes the small group tutoring ideal for both parents with kids at home learning virtually, and parents with kids returning to the classroom.
The location of learning pods and group tutoring can be flexible based on the needs of the group. They can be held indoors, in backyards, parks, etc. It depends on the convenience and preference of the parents involved.
Prep Academy Tutors Small Group Learning
Prep Academy Tutors offer small group tutoring for groups of 3-5 kids at a time. These groups can facilitate the collaborative learning of siblings, friends, and students with similar needs. We work with you to establish a group that suits your needs and will match you with the perfect tutor to lead the group.
You can have peace of mind knowing that, when you opt for private group tutoring with Prep Academy Tutors, your child will receive an education based on the current curriculum. We provide curriculum-based learning to ensure your child is learning based on existing standards, and so that we can help fill any gaps in their knowledge with personalized explanation and guidance.
We are committed to the health and safety of your child and work with you to create an educational atmosphere that is sustainable and comfortable for all involved. Our tutors keep in contact with parents to discuss progress and accommodate changing needs.
What Families Need to Know About School Reopening in New York State
On Monday July 13, Governor Cuomo released guidance for school districts to reopen K-12 facilities in New York State. Based on these guidelines, your school must submit a reopening plan to the state by July 31. Schools will be allowed to reopen if their region has entered Phase Four and if the daily infection rate in that region (averaged over a two-week period) does not exceed 5%.
What your school will be required to provide in the fall:
- A mix of in-person and virtual learning
- Social distancing and 50% capacity of any space
- Increase distancing to twelve feet during activities like singing, playing band instruments and gym class
- Utilize face coverings and provide them to students without masks
- Post health instruction signage throughout school
- Limit the use of shared objects like workstations or tool
- Provide sanitizing stations & training on proper hand & respiratory hygiene
- Frequently clean and disinfect shared areas
- Hold mandatory health screenings including temperature checks of students, staff, contractors & visitors
- Immediately send home any student or staff member who becomes symptomatic
- Notify state and local health departments of any positive test results
- Have plans to assist in contact tracing
- Expand social distancing, disinfecting and face-covering protocols to school buses
Schools are also encouraged to:
- Expand their physical footprint if necessary
- Stagger arrival/departure times and altered schedules
- Build “cohorts,” or small groups of students who learn together to minimize cross contamination
- Use “one-way” traffic lanes in hallways