“What will school look like this year?”
“Am I comfortable sending my child back to in-person classes?”
“How will this year impact my child’s education?”
“What are my virtual learning options?”
“Should I homeschool my child or try to organize my own learning pod with friends and neighbors?”
The parent playbook for the upcoming fall is different. Families have been presented with a wide variety of options to choose from without much guidance or support. This year’s autumn months are a live ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story and in a global pandemic, that can be a bit overwhelming for even the most seasoned planner.
Families have been taking education into their own hands by looking for additional schooling options that fit into their specific needs. Enter parents organizing small group learning initiatives - like learning pods, pandemic pods, and microschools.
While the term ‘pod’ may be the new buzzword in education, homeschooling and microschools are not new concepts. If you’ve worked with the latter schooling options before, adjusting to pods will be a similar process. If you haven’t, we’re here to help you understand these systems and adapt your offerings to them.
At a time when information is not readily available and options are ever-changing, organizing a pod gives families more control over their child’s education and decision-making. Pods follow a small group instruction model — typically 5-10 kids — and can take many forms. Some host in-person groups whether at a private home or utilizing a local space, others offer a virtual at-home experience while maintaining smaller class size. To source teachers, some families look to local educators or familiar caregivers while others consult national firms to find top notch talent. All of these decisions contribute to the overall cost and accessibility of the pods - while some groups are able to offer inclusive pricing options, pods can feel more exclusive and not in the budget for many families.
What can provider businesses learn from pods?
We’re glad you asked!
A pod is simply small group learning that is organized and managed by families themselves. Pod leaders handle everything from selecting an instructor, space to host instruction, creating a plan and curriculum, and inviting other participants.
Businesses can choose to provide small group instruction and flexibility to take the burden off of parents. Review and reflect on your most successful programs from the last few months of booking data. How can you turn this offering into tailored instruction for small group learning? How can you market it to select groups of families in your area or online to extend your reach?
Similarly to individual families, pods are looking for supplemental instruction and extracurricular activities to create a more standard, albeit non-traditional school day. That’s where children’s educational businesses are a key factor in the pod equation!
With adjustments and cuts being made to after-school programming, there’s a wider need for plug and play options for families to extend their child’s school day whether in-person, outdoors, or through virtual at home learning.
Flexible booking features for fall
Consider your offerings like a course book or menu of services for families. Educators are in the perfect position to bridge the gap between pod and pandemic schooling by offering flexible booking options that compliment the new types of learning this fall.
There are so many ways to use Sawyer Tools to support pod learning! Semesters and camps allow you to utilize premium options such as weekly pricing, monthly billing, and payment plans. We also have two additional booking features that allow you to test offerings and merchandise small group learning options to see what works best for your customers.
If you’d like to offer specific availability for families to book tutoring, specialized instruction, space rental, or private lessons, consider using our Appointments feature.
Appointments allow you to set up individual time slots based on your instructor, program, or even space availability. Parents can book activities in custom increments. If you don’t currently offer one-on-one activities, you can use this feature to test parent interest, fill gaps in instructor schedules by offering lessons, schedule one off events based on specific availability, and more.
Parties and Private Events
If you’re looking to gauge interest from families by offering a few package options with more concierge-style service, consider using our Parties/Private Event feature.
Our parties feature allows you to create custom packages that support events, field trips, birthdays, and any other small group learning option you can dream up! Use it to organize groups, specialty events, pod requests, space rentals that allow families to submit a request to book a package with you before you schedule, and more.
Looking to add appointments and private group bookings to your repertoire? We’ve got you covered! Here are a few ideas to encourage you to put small group learning front and center this Fall. We’ve divided inspiration by type of activity, a marketing language for you to work off of, and the why behind each offering suggestion.
Performing Arts (Music, Theater, and Dance)
“Take your budding performer to the next level with coaching from our talented teaching artists!”
Families are looking for private lessons for instruments, vocal performance, audition technique, dance styles, and more!
“Give your little linguist a boost with private language instruction!”
Pods and schools may be looking to add a language special to their course catalog for Fall - think English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, and other international languages that you can offer parents.
“Let us be your artistic guide - from technique to mediums and beyond!”
Private art instruction allows students to deepen skillsets and explore artistic interests like painting, knitting, fashion design, woodworking, film making, scrapbooking, and more.
“Sous chef private instruction is now in session - level up your chef’s culinary skills!”
Small group learning works hand in hand with the culinary arts from organizing small-sized supper clubs, cooking or baking workshops, or theme inspired lessons like knife skills and recipe demos.
STEM, Robotics, and Gaming
“Even Einstein had help along the way - take complex concepts and make them fun, easy, and accessible with our private workshops!”
From building robots, science labs, collective group games, coding and computer programming, small group or private instruction supports hands-on learning to elevate these complicated offerings.
Fitness, Sports, and Mindfulness
“Our specialty fitness and sports instruction inspires a lifetime of healthy habits and family fun!”
Tryouts and team sports may be paused but families still want their children to experience fitness, movement, and mindfulness this fall - consider outdoor instruction, private yoga, swim, horseback riding, surfing, and beyond.
Education and Enrichment
“Test prep doesn’t have to be scary - book a private tutoring session with a seasoned instructor to compliment your child’s at home learning!”
With disruptions to standard schooling, families are looking to support educational subjects such as standardized test prep, math, science, language arts, and history through hiring specialists and tutors.