Like many parents, one of my biggest concerns a year into this pandemic has been: Are my children learning anything?
By Mita Mallick
Like many parents, one of my biggest concerns a year into this pandemic has been: Are my children learning anything? How can I help them survive Zoom meetings when I am Zoomed out myself? And, the bigger question haunting me: Do they even enjoy learning anymore?
Our family discovered Encantos during the pandemic as we scrambled to find new ways to engage our then 4 and 7 year olds. Between boxes of arts and crafts and preparing for holidays like Halloween months in advance, we were running out of ideas. Encantos’ Tiny Travelers series of books and worksheets came to our rescue.
My children for a few moments each day can be transported to countries like Egypt to learn about the Nile River, and historic sites including the great Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx. They are learning to make Morir Soñando, a very delicious drink from the Caribbean islands. And they are rediscovering their Indian heritage, learning how to write in Sanskrit, the origins of yoga, and that Ganesh is the Hindu god of wisdom, success and good luck.
Co-Founded by Steven Wolfe Pereira and Susie Jaramillo, Encantos is an award winning educational technology company grounded in entertainment, culture, and purpose. Both Pereira and Jaramillo are purpose-driven Latino leaders, who joined forces to build a company that would inspire kids to learn 21st century skills, including how to raise inclusive leaders and children who become citizens of the world. They are both self described “storyteachers,” focused on the power of storytelling to unlock children’s imagination, driving their curiosity and passion to continue learning.
Here’s how Encantos is transforming the future of education—and making allies of parents, and leaders of children, along the way:
- A seamless transition between digital and physical learning
When my children have had enough screen time, it’s important to be able to pivot from watching an animated series, to move onto worksheets and puzzles in a seamless learning journey. Encantos helps provide a variety of tools to help my kids play, explore, be inspired, and not to be bored and become disengaged.
“We bring our stories to life via subscriptions, so we can grow with the kids, fusing both physical and digital experiences,” says Steven Wolfe Periera, CEO and Co-Founder.
The Encantos brands offer an assortment of ways for children to learn, through animated series, books, songs, apps, games, puzzles, and more. Encantos currently has built three direct to learner brands: Canticos (a bilingual preschool brand), Tiny Travelers (citizens of the world), Skeletitos (teaching children to conquer fear and anxiety.)
“We are focused on delivering personalized experiences, so children can learn at their appropriate pace and level,” says Periera. “We are active allies with parents in building their children’s learning journeys through play, curiosity and engagement.”
- Offering accessible and affordable price points
The pandemic continues to exacerbate the inequities that exist in our educational systems. For economically privileged families, they have always had the means to provide extra schooling support for their children. With the closing of many schools and the move to virtual classrooms, the demand for private tutors has surged where you can bring teachers to you.
At the same time, low-income families continue to struggle for access to WiFi service and computers. Additionally, many cannot afford supplemental help. Finding quality educational materials at a reasonable price point continues to be an ongoing battle for parents. That’s where Encantos can help.
The Encantos brands offer affordable puzzles, books and toys from the $6.99 to $39.99 price range (they also make great gift options.) The Canticos app is only $6.99 per month or $57.99 for an annual subscription.
“We believe that learning should happen everywhere, so Encantos aims to fill a need in the living room vs the classroom. Even so, teachers love our free resource materials,” says Susie Jaramillo, President and Co-Founder. “Our printables, music, and books are being used across the country by educators who want to teach bilingualism, citizenship, and other 21st Century Skills..”
Encantos is also a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC); each brand has a family-focused social benefit cause tied to it to give back to a community. So I know every time I purchase an Encantos item, I am also helping give back to the broader community.
- Teaching our children about communities in our broader world
“Black Panther wasn’t just for Black people, and Coco wasn’t just for Mexicans,” says Periera. “You can tell a story that’s culturally authentic that also has universal appeal. Our super power at Encantos is storytelling.”
Pereira says that as a Latino, he felt like nothing was out there authentically representing his culture and so many other cultures. “We know that 50% of kids in the U.S. under the age of 18 years old identify as multicultural,” Pereira shares. “And yet, we don’t tell enough inclusive stories. Dora The Explorer was created over 20 years, we can do better.”
As a parent, Encantos has been an ally in my journey to help my children discover their Indian heritage. During the pandemic, it can be harder to connect and learn from our relatives who are so far away. It can also be difficult when loved ones have passed on who were the family storytellers. Encantos helps to play the role of another family member, helping to pass down stories from one generation to the next.
Finally, teaching our children about communities in our broader world is critical to building the next generation of inclusive leaders. Hate starts at our kitchen tables, and we must be intentional about how we speak to and teach our children. We must stop “othering” those who might appear to be “different” from us on the surface.
With Tiny Travelers from Encantos, my children are learning to deeply appreciate, respect and love cultures that are part of our broader community. We are adopting new traditions, learning new languages, and marking down on the map the places we will visit post pandemic. Thank you, Encantos, for helping me build citizens of the world.