Parents, teachers turning to 'pod learning' as an alternative during COVID-19
LONDON, ONT -- The fear of the pandemic and having too many kids in a classroom has led many parents and educators to look at alternative ways of learning and one educational academy in London, Ont. says they have that alternative.
Kelly Gallagher is a mother and a certified teacher and as such is a little nervous about the upcoming school year for her daughter Carys.
“I am a little hesitant to send her back to an environment that is clearly unknown as far as outcomes go,” said Gallagher.
She has decided to take a different route and for the first time, Carys will be part of a micro class, also known as pod learning.
Gallagher will be teaching her daughter along with 4-5 other students.
“My daughter thrives with individualized attention, and while I am her mom which makes it a little bit more complicated, I know she really enjoys having someone beside her for that extra motivation and extra inspiration to learn and that’s what I can provide to all the students that come to my hub,” said Gallagher.
Kelly used to work for a local school board, but since the pandemic, she has decided to join Magnolia Academy in London.
The academy is an alternative kindergarten program that is now expanding to offer micro classrooms from students from kindergarten to Grade 8.
“I was reading on lots of mom Facebook groups that there was that need for a smaller and safer setting for their kids. I heard that side and I also heard from educators who were scared to go into the classroom,” said Devin Walsh, founder of Magnolia Academy.
How it works is approx. 5-6 kids are paired up with a certified teacher, who will teach them curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education.
The small group would stick together at all times as their own little pod classroom.
“Education can be outside of a school, and it doesn’t have to be thirty kids in a class, you can have really rich education from a teacher and five children and that teacher can really connect with the kids and meet where they are and meet their needs,” said Walsh.
As for Gallagher she says she is making the decision that feels right for her.
“No decision is a bad decision but I feel like our learning hubs offer a lot more of a relaxed environment because every child needs a safe place to learn,” she said.
Pod learning at Magnolia Academy costs approximately $40 per child per day.
So far the Academy has had hundreds of inquiries, and is now looking for more certified teachers and early childhood educators to join the team.
Anyone looking to enquire about pod learning at Magnolia Academy can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org