Thursday, May 17, 2018


I am an advocate of learning through play, especially in the preschool years. Any reviews for that age need to be fun. I like to keep my kiddos not just engaged and learning, but enjoying the process, as well. It's that love of learning that I long to instill in them while they're little.  

We don't do a lot of formal schooling when they're young, however, we've been learning with a new curriculum subscription from PandaParents, specifically for those little ones, called MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS.

Many preschool educational resources focus on single-subject learning and often rely on digital apps and games or television shows. PandaParents designed their curriculum to ensure a better learning experience. Their method minimizes rote memorization and screen-dependent learning, while building fast, neural brain connections. Instead of teaching only one concept before moving on to the next, their lessons are more like unit studies for little ones. Lessons teach letters, words, math, reading, science, behavior, emotions, music, and art, along with additional skills such as matching, sorting, patterns, comparing, coloring, tracing, cutting, gluing, and more. This multi-sensory curriculum can be summed up as follows: 
  • M -- Mixed pre-school subjects for integrative learning
  • E -- Engaging questions & activities for effective learning
  • S -- Simple 1-2-3 steps: Read, Learn, Create
  • S -- Smart designs for creative learning
  • Y -- Yeah, a new way to promote early brain growth! 

Each month of the curriculum includes 1-2 storybooks, 1-2 story videos, and 1 workbook. So far, we were sent three months of the service: A Jolly Jingling Journey, A Mommy & Baby Story, and Spring Is Here. We started with A Jolly Jingling Journey for no other reason than it was at the top of our download list, and I assumed that meant it was first. Further research would have shown that the lessons can be done in any order. So that totally means that we can do Christmas-based learning in April and May, right? Ha.   

A Jolly Jingling Story comes with 2 storybooks: A Jubilant Surprise and An Epic Journey. Both stories feature a boy name Davy and his dogs. In the first story, the group travels to the North Pole to find Santa. There are a learning aspects along the way, such as pointing out a pattern, finding hidden pictures, and answering questions based on pictures. The story focuses on J words and makes each one begin with a red letter. Jelly, jaguar, jubilant, joyfully, jump, and job are a few that are included. In the second story, Davy and his pets follow tracks to help Santa find his missing reindeer. 

There are also 2 read-to-me videos in this course. The first one shows a juggler who juggles candy canes that look like the letter J. The second video is substantially longer as it is the retelling of the 2 storybooks and includes activities like finding specific letters and counting reindeer.

The workbook is a 40-page book filled with many activities to help build complex brain functions and hone fine motor skills. The children are encouraged to recall the stories as they complete the  pages. Activities include reading, writing, tracing, sequencing, matching, counting, completing patterns, and sorting colors and shapes, along with others. There are also pages that have pictures with dashed lines that can be cut out and glued to be used as "stickers."

I've been using our PandaParents subscription with my 6-year-old and 3-year-old. Currently, everything is digital only, as the company is taking orders for printed materials. Because of that, we're having to read the stories on the computer, as well as watch the videos. The A Jolly Jingling Story PDF workbook is filled with colored pages, so printing each page is not feasible as it would eat through our ink. We're doing the majority of the activity pages on the computer, as well, and printing only a few. Instead of circling objects, my boys point to them on the screen, and instead of drawing lines to make matches, they use their fingers. It loses the fine motor practice, but the other skills are still being taught. The other workbooks we were sent includes many of the same type of activities and incorporate others like matching tails to the animals, simple art projects such as creating a sailboat and making a panda, short educational stories, and more.

The storybooks contain simple, almost primitive artwork. Many of the characters have eyes that are different sizes, giving them an unsettling look. As I much prefer to read physical books that the kids can hold in their hands, flip the pages, and enjoy at any time, these digital ones just do not have that appeal.

The videos include that same artwork and are simple images on a screen. Honestly, the voices themselves are somewhat unpleasant to listen to. In fact, if my older kids are in the room while the younger ones start watching, they will leave so they do not have to hear it. But, they purpose of the curriculum is not to entertain older kids and adults. Its purpose is to educate preschoolers. The real test is how it holds the attention of that age group. And my little ones love it! Seriously, my 3-year-old would sit and watch his "Santa movie" every day if I let him. They have watched all 3 of the videos we have and enjoy them all. 

I have mixed feelings about this curriculum. It would be much more user-friendly if it were printed materials, for sure. The fact that they are trying to offer a program that is not screen-dependent, yet we use the computer screen for the majority of it is ironic. There are no set lesson plans involved, as parents are encouraged to use the activities that are best for their families. A rough schedule of 30-60 minutes a day 2-3 days a week is suggested. It's short enough to keep their attention, yet covers enough skills to keep them learning.

I can overlook the visual and auditory aspects of the program that I personally don't care for since my little ones are interested and learning. 

You can connect with on the following social media sites:

You can see additional opinions of homeschoolers of this program by reading more reviews on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Crew Disclaimer
Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment