I also have to acknowledge that the review did not start out with the same joyous outlook.
Not because I had complaints.
But because I had hangups.
I am a control freak. I admit it.
And I admit I sometimes use the single parent label to get away with those hangups.
Y’know. No time to be messy. Color within the lines. That sort of thing.
I tend to lean towards subject matter that has some sort of outline or structured lesson plan. At least, structured enough that I don’t have to create it all from scratch. Yet, still flexible enough to tailor it to our unique family.
I didn’t immediately see that with PandaParents MESSY Learning.
And that was because the steps were so 1-2-3-Simple. Just Read/Watch, Learn and Create.
PandaParents offers short, simple preschool learning by using stories, pictures, and videos. Your child’s learning is enhanced with reading, math and art activities.
With a monthly subscription, you receive (once a month) one course with original stories, art projects, and learning activities.
So there definitely is structure. I just did not immediately see it within the MESSY Learning formula.
Because MESSY Learning does not start with a subject, then stop, then move to another subject. In other words, it is not linear learning. MESSY Learning more closely resembles a spider web.
But that does not mean preschool learning is all over the place. That was my initial concern.
Actually, MESSY is an acronym for:
Mixed preschool subjects for integrative learning
Engaging questions and activities for effective learning
Simple 1-2-3 Steps: Read, Watch, Learn/Create
Smart designs for creative learning
Yeah! A new way to promote preschool STEM education and early brain growth.
If you’re new to the acronym STEM, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.
(Wondering how MESSY Learning can teach a preschooler engineering? We’ll get to that.)
While it took me a little time to get with the program of MESSY Learning, my 5-year-old was instantly taken with the vibrant colors of the storybooks, workbooks and learning videos.
I love the thematic approach of each course where multiple subjects are learned. That is the integrative approach of MESSY Learning.
Within each story, there are questions and games to continue to hold the child’s interest. (The E of MESSY.)
And at the end, bonus activities.
This is all before you and your child even get to the workbook.
My little one loved answering the questions sprinkled in the Scotty the Skunk storybook.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the Learn to Build Using Basic Shapes sections in the workbooks. That’s a wonderful start to the normally elusive engineering part of the STEM acronym when teaching younger children.
Each one of the videos we received held her attention. She loved the recurring characters: Davy, Little Muffin, Linlin, Emma, Mr. Juan and Amanda. They started and ended each video. There was always an introduction to the main subject and a review of what was learned.
What saved me was the fact that the videos were downloadable. I did not have to rely on the Internet to watch them from my computer. Which is great now that the rainy season has started in my neck of the woods.
One evening, when the power went out, we had A Jolly Jingling Journey videos 1 and 2 on a continuous loop.
We received the digital download of 3 courses. A Jolly Jingling Journey, Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound (don’t you love alliteration?), and Mommy’s Baby.
Because color printing can get expensive, we opted to stay on the screen for some things. We used the Fill and Sign options in Adobe Acrobat Reader to circle and enter numerical answers. Other times, I used the snipping tool on my computer to cut out a section and work with the shapes and lines tools in PowerPoint.
But I did not want to become dependent on the screen. Possible rainy season power outages and all. So, we printed out several of the Little Artists coloring pages in the A Jolly Jingling Journey workbook.
My household is all about the Christmas holiday, so we chose to start with that course.
My personal preference would have been to have the printed workbook so that my student could get the full experience. But not to worry. The physical, printed product will be available soon.
In fact, PandaParents is currently taking pre-orders for those who would like a printed workbook, storybook, or both. And you will still have access to the downloadable PDF versions.
I think it is great that PandaParents offers the option of a full digital package, a full pre-printed package, or a combination of the two. Each of those options is on the site along with a list of what you get..
Even more amazing…you can gift a course or two (or more).
That’s even more (structured) MESSY Learning for younger children.
More integrative learning to completely engage and instruct your preschooler.