Thursday, May 17, 2018

PandaParents: An Early Education Resource Review

PandaParents

When my oldest was a baby, I knew we were going to try homeschooling so I was already eyeing curriculum options.  From that time to now, when I have a 7, 4 and 1 year old, I can see a change in my perspective.  Finding just the right method or materials seemed really important - and yes it can be.  What I missed sometimes is what is MORE important.  It is more important for a child to have a positive connection with learning and the person facilitating the learning.  Whether you have one small book or dozens of them, with the right relationship and time spent most children will thrive either way.  My latest review from the PandaParents has kept that concept in mind with their MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS monthly program that includes a pdf book, online videos, and a pdf workbook for ages 3-6.
Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum

MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS is a monthly subscription that sends you a new set of resources each month.  Each set (book, video & workbook) relates to each other through the story combining various subjects and skills. The MESSYLEARNING title might give you the impression that it requires heavy clean up or something, but that is not the case at all. 
MESSY stands for
  • Mixed subjects & activities for integrative learning
  • Engaging activities that challenge minds
  • Simple 1-2-3 steps: READ, LEARN, CREATE
  • Smart designs for creative learning
  • Yeah, a new way to learn!
There are various arts and crafts activities but they aren't any more destructive than a simple cut and paste activity.  The workbook activities are really flexible in that you can pick and choose what you want to do without taking away from other ones.  Collectively, the workbooks provide a balanced variety of activities, but each can stand on their own when necessary.  

Having three kids to keep up with now, I understand all the more how tempting (and sometimes necessary) it is to find something educational for your kids and just leave them to it.  How else does anything get done, right? Still, the 7 years learning process of motherhood is still teaching me how valuable I am to their education no matter what they are learning.  The comfort and assurance of a parent combined with engaging activities sparks a love for learning that is rarely matched.  So, to that end, this is NOT something you can leave them to work independently very easily.  The videos you can of course, but the activities build on the story and those require a parent involvement.



 For this review, we received 3 months worth of stories, videos and resources.  We started with the Christmas themed story first and even in April, it still gets kids excited. Then we moved on to Scotty Skunk, which even in the title I half expected miss Z to turn her nose up at it.  In fact, she LOVED it.  According to her, there aren't enough books about skunks, I guess.  She has her moments of being scared about things so I think she identified with all of Scotty's fears.  The final story is Mommy's Baby that introduces a lot of different objects while highlighting children that age's most favorite thing, Mommy!



The storybooks and workbooks we received were all digital and I do think the system would work so much easier if they came already printed and bound.  I believe that option will be available eventually.  If so, I would opt for that!  Overall, it is a neat way to incorporate learning into a simple story time with all kinds of different options that reinforce a positive learning environment.


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