As we all work together to help flatten the curve by staying home, children have been thrust into a challenging situation. Schools were suddenly closed, after school activities were cancelled and birthday parties and social events were put on hold until we can all safely be together again.
The quarantine presents a number of challenges for families. Parents are standing in for teachers as they work to homeschool their children and navigating the ins and outs of Google classroom. For those working full time from home, and trying to homeschool, time management has never been more important. But perhaps the most challenging problem is finding a way to offer our children the routines and social interaction that they so badly need during this time.
Snapology, a Pittsburgh based STEAM education company, has embraced the challenge of keeping kids social during quarantine. While many educational services have transitioned to live stream videos or online content, Snapology has gone a step further by developing live online classes that allow children to interact with the teacher and their friends in a real time environment.
Snapology anticipated the school closures at the beginning of March and began working to adapt their popular STEAM programs for use online. Snapology co-founder and CEO Laura Coe and her team landed on the small online class model. “Social development is one of our core principals at Snapology, so we knew any online program had to incorporate a social element. We thought about streaming classes online but determined that a small class would benefit students more and allow us to hold true to our core values.” said Coe. By keeping classes to a maximum of 20 students, Snapology’s teachers are able to facilitate conversation between students and allow each child to present and share their project.
In addition to classes, Snapology offers private virtual playdates and birthday parties. Caregivers are able to reserve a time and share the event with friends. Families are sent a private link to join the event where a Snapology instructor leads the children in fun STEAM themed activities. ”Our virtual playdates and birthday parties are becoming very popular. Parents are using playdates so that they can focus on work or getting dinner ready while the kids are making their screen time count with S.T.E.A.M. activities and socialization.” said Coe. Virtual birthday parties have also become a popular option for children who had to cancel in-person birthday parties at the last minute.
"The response to our programs has been overwhelming. Our daily building challenges on social media are engaging tons of families in the Pittsburgh area.” said Jennifer Rogers, Snapology’s Director of Marketing. The free daily building challenges are posted to our Facebook page around 8am each morning. Children have all day to complete the challenge and post a photo. “At the end of the day kids and families can log on and vote for their favorite builds and comment on each other’s creative solutions” said Rogers.
As each states response to the pandemic evolves, Snapology is working to expand programs to meet the needs of families. A full updated schedule of online programs can be found at virtual.snapology.com.