Learning boxes for preschoolers created by East Tenn. teacher

Preschool during a pandemic can feel chaotic.
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 7:38 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 11:34 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Preschool during a pandemic can feel chaotic.

”He needs that structure to be able to thrive in an educational setting,” said Haley Hill, a South Knoxville mom.

Hill’s four-year-old son, Oliver, will learn in the classroom this fall.

”I’m a little worried to be honest with you because Oliver was born two-and-a-half months premature,” explained Hill, “So he does have asthma. He does have a couple of lung issues. And we’re still seeing specialists for that. But according to his doctors and everybody else they’re on board with me, you know, school is the best bet right now.”

The mom of three said it was not an easy decision.

“With Ollie being in Pre-K I don’t really have the resources to know how to do that with him home. But if I was to get the resources, I would be willing to do that because with my first grader if it goes virtual, he would have to do virtual,” said Hill.

But there’s a helpful resource to help parents who elected for their students to learn virtually.

“I’ve taught preschool for 15 years. So I have figured out a way just to box everything up nice. And everything I would be doing with the kids in the classroom I got to send home with them in a box every week. So it’s awesome,” said Christa Black.

Black owns Stretch N Grow East Tennessee. She has sent learning boxes to families for $5.00 a day.

”The kids are learning so much and don’t even realize it,” explained Black, “Because they’re learning through fun. And as a preschool teacher that’s how I’ve always wanted to teach my classes.”

The company started off focusing on teaching physical education in preschools, but has offered academics this year as well.

“As a parent, I’ve really tried to pack everything that I would want my child to get into these boxes and this experience,” said Black.

There are STEM kits, worksheets and other activities. The program can be broken up into three days of learning a week. In that case, students would do seven projects each day.

“When I get to see them on Zoom in the mornings on Mondays, it’s probably my favorite time because they get excited, and I get to interact with them,” said Black.

Parents like Hill have another option if needed.

“So if it goes virtual I’m a stay-at-home mom, so it’s no big deal if for them to just come home and do their work here,” said Hill.

A fitness program was also included with the cost of the boxes so students get their physical education as well.

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