May 15, 2018

PandaParents: Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum Kits {Review}

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In our home, each and every day brings about a new learning experience. It's so important to foster a love for learning early on, so I always like trying new and inventive ideas to liven up our homeschool lessons. Recently, we've had the opportunity to get a sneak peak at a new program from PandaParents called MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS.





MESSY is actually an acronym for the formula that PandaParents offers in their program:

M stands for mixed subjects & activities for integrative learning
E stands for engaging activities that challenge minds
S stands for simple steps, which are to read, learn, and create.
S stands for smart designs for creative learning
Y stands for yeah, a new way to promote preschool STEM & early brain growth.







Each lesson in the PandaParents program consists of three different components, a storybook, learning video, and educational activity workbook. We have been working through the digital version of the PandaParents program. Starting in December 2018, the company will be officially rolling out their program with physical products that can be mailed straight to your home in a flexible monthly subscription plan.

A typical subscription will offer you one lesson per month, complete with a storybook, video access, and activity workbook, for the remainder of your subscription term. Prior to this review, we had tried three separate lessons to start out with, A Mommy & Baby Story, Spring is Here (Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound), and A Jolly Jingling Journey.






A Mommy & Baby Story is a sweet tale about a momma panda bear trying to get her playful cub to sleep. The story is cute, because it is told in an endearing way that demonstrates the love between a mother and child, all while teaching basic educational concepts to younger children at the same time. The lessons include reading comprehension with an emphasis on the letters B, P, T, and K, as well as the use of "I am." There's even a little zoology lesson to be learned, which focuses on baby animals and their various characteristics. I personally found that this story would definitely benefit a much younger child, perhaps in the toddler age range, since it also covers basic shapes, colors, and the difference between big and small. While my son had already covered these subject areas quite a while back, he still enjoyed going over the topics, again. Of course, the activity workbook had plenty of additional ways for him to enjoy the lessons even more, including one of his favorite crafts, a baby panda bear (see below).



 


 





The workbook activities were definitely a hit with my son!  In the activity shown, above, he was asked to put the the animals in order by size and then count how many there were. Below, is a fun panda craft that he also did from the same workbook. These were both from the A Mommy & Baby Story lessons.



 












Spring is Here (Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound) is my son's favorite PandaParents lesson, so far. Little Scotty needs to find a new home after a long and cold winter. He begins to move from place to place in search of one, and is faced with all kinds of surprises along the way. This particular lesson offers a mix of reading comprehension, along with an introduction to the letters S and H. New vocabulary is introduced throughout the story (example words include: skunk, sound, see, home, hear, habitat, etc,). A series of math exercises are also offered, including sequencing and numbers. I personally appreciate that there were some science related activities included, that particularly revolved around nature, animals, and their environment. My son was able to practice his problem solving skills with activities such as creating a natural habitat for a skunk and helping him find the best method to cross a river.
 

 
 


Here's a fun boat craft (below) from the Spring is Here (Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound) lesson workbook that teaches children about different types of triangles. We got a little more creative with this one, adding in our own personal flair by using construction paper and some of the included stickers in the workbook.












A Jolly Jingling Journey is a fun lesson plan that could work pretty much anytime of the year, but is especially nice around the Christmas holiday, given the overall theme and content. A boy and his canine pals take a visit up to the North Pole where they meet a new friend and even help Santa Claus find all of his missing reindeer. Along with reading comprehension, there is emphasis on the letters J, F, and R. Activities will include completing patterns and sequences, as well as basic math like counting and addition. My son also enjoyed learning a little bit about the North Pole. I especially appreciate that the lessons also promoted positive thinking habits.



 



The lessons are quite flexible. Our typical lesson plan includes first reading the storybook. We usually do this more than once, sometimes going back to the story as we complete future lesson activities. In the back of each book, there are extra credit questions to see how well your child has remembered what he or she has read. This is a nice way to test their memory and listening skills.


 



After reading the storybook, we then sit together to watch the video for the lesson. The videos are a nice addition to the storybook, because they both closely match each other. After reading the story, my son can enjoy a fun, live cartoon version of what we've just read. Once we have done all of these, we then move on to the workbook. The activities can be completed in order from beginning to end, or you could easily skip around to the assignments you want your child to complete, first. A typical lesson can be done in one to two weeks or be stretched out to a few weeks at a time, depending on your child's schedule and individual learning level. Since this is meant to be a monthly subscription, the practical way to go about a lesson plan is to spread it out in a month's time span.





The workbooks are our favorite part, because they allow my son to apply what's he's learned in the stories and videos using a hands-on approach through a vast collection of fun and age-appropriate activities. Some of these can include anything from matching games, tracing pages, mazes, letter/word searches, and even complete arts and crafts projects. Physical workbooks will actually include stickers to complete some of the activities. Since we received a digital version of the lessons, we went ahead and printed the activities. If there were any that required the use of the sticker pages, we would just cut them out of the pages and my son would use glue in order to complete the activities.





Below, are two more activities from the Spring is Here (Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound) workbook. In the first one, my son had to match the stickers to their appropriate shadows. In another activity, he was asked to find a comfortable and safe home for Scotty the Skunk. The clues to completing this come from reading the storybook and watching the video. You can see how each lesson component connects to each other.













PandaParents is unique in the way that it approaches learning. The lessons don't just focus on one area of teaching, but instead help younger children develop major skills in a vast collection of different subjects, including language arts, math, fine arts, and science. I can definitely appreciate a method of instruction that offers a diverse group of subjects in one lesson. It almost reminds me of a unit study where you have one main subject or topic, and the lessons involved incorporate a variety of different disciplines. This method combined with child-friendly themes, make PandaParents a fun educational program that my son really enjoys.







Read What the Rest of the Crew Had to Say:


Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}

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2 comments:

Rodna Jean Allman said...

GREAT review!

Kelly (Our Everyday Harvest) said...

Thank you, Rodna! :-)