Widespread school closures have left parents across the United States grappling to find ways to continue their children's education. And for those who are now homeschooling kids due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Encantos' new learning hub could come in handy, offering a number of digital and physical educational resources completely free of charge.
The growing number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has forced at least 95,000 public and private schools to close, according to Education Week. As a result, an estimated 43.9 million students now have to transition to remote learning models and the situation has undoubtedly put a strain on many parents. In an effort to keep kids learning, and help parents keep their sanity, Encantos, a public benefit corporation that seeks to reimagine education using technology and entertainment, stepped up the company's plans to launch a learning hub.
"When we saw all the things that are happening right now and that everyone is homeschooling, we really accelerated our plans to launch the digital Encantos Learning Hub," Steven Wolfe Pereira, one of Encantos' co-founders tells Romper. "Where everyone is focused on the economy and business and brands, we're over here trying to think about kids and families because this is going to have a massive repercussion."
Encantos' free resources currently include video lessons and printable activities centered around geography, history, culture, and bilingual learning.
Parents, children, and educators can find free videos as well as downloadable and printable resources at the Encantos Learning Hub. Engaging bilingual learning resources for preschool aged children are also available under the Canticos brand. In the first lesson, for instance, kids can learn to sing a nursery rhyme in both Spanish and English.
Meanwhile, Encantos' Tiny Travelers brand has free social studies resources to help preschool and elementary school aged children learn geography, language, history, and culture. In Tiny Travelers' first lesson, children learn about the world's seven continents through a coloring activity.
While the Encantos Learning Hub is aimed at helping children, the company has also provided useful tools for parents, such as a customizable schedule template. Beyond making a schedule that works for your household, JS Garcia, Encantos' director of curriculum and learning design, tells Romper creating a dedicated work space for academic activities can also help foster a productive and supportive learning environment at home. "Make sure it has all of the supplies that are needed," she says, "so there's adequate pencils or crayons and paper are in this workspace."
To help children focus, Garcia also suggests defining zones where different activities might take place throughout the day. For example, the kitchen table can be designated an academic area while a comfortable corner of another room serves as the reading nook. An outside area or otherwise open space can become the zone for movement, dance, or gentle exercise while the couch is reserved for playtime and relaxation.
Using an "egg timer to manage different blocks of time" can also be helpful, according to Garcia. She suggests prepping kids for the academic activity ahead by telling them how long they'll need to focus on it and then setting the timer, adding a sort of rhythm to the lessons.
Of course, according to Garcia, some flexibility with timing is also encouraged if your child "is really deep into an activity." But having a "schedule as a starting place, so there's that sense of structure and rhythm," is also important, Garcia says.
Free educational resources from Enchantos' Learning Hub can be found here.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.