By Angie Hultgren
Women’s LifeStyle Magazine
Being a parent is the only job in the world that you work twenty-four hour days, seven days a week, with no vacation, breaks, or required training.
When I tasked myself with finding the right educational materials for my child, I didn’t know what resources I had in my backyard. Well, not literally my backyard but close. I recently “bumped” into a very nice Golden Retriever named Charlie. Anyone who knows me knows that I greet every pet I meet (as long as its owner says it’s okay). I happened to adore this sweet pup; little did I know it was Charlie from Charlie & Company™.
Come again, you say? Charlie just happens to be the star character of an educational program for children from a Michigan-based company, School Zone. The family owned and Grand Haven based company is renowned for its educational based materials; School Zone is a leading publisher of workbooks, software, flash cards, books and now mobile learning apps.
Now that we live in this digitally savvy world, I have a toddler who wakes up every day, points to the computer and says “puppy.” This is when I search for puppies on YouTube or ask Siri to find photos on my iPhone. As a parent and self-diagnosed pet lover, I am on the lookout for opportunities beyond YouTube and Siri that will make me a better parent and make my child a bit smarter. I was originally opposed to letting my child interact with technology, but with publishers such as School Zone keeping children’s education in mind, I have learned to embrace some of the experiences technology has to offer.
What I like even more is that School Zone has a love for dogs like I do. They even bring them into the office like I wish I could. When I met Charlie, I thought he was just a cute puppy and while he is, he also helps to educate our children. School Zone knew Charlie was the right pup for the job. He just has that sweet disposition and he invites a lot of love. If you are a kid, you can’t help but fall in love with Charlie.
Charlie has no easy task. He, along with eight of his other “character” friends, are put together in a series of television programs that chronicles the learning adventures of the group. The programs are produced to help teach children between preschool and first grade learn about math, reading, creativity and more. The time spent with Charlie & Company is made to be an adventure. They take the children on an imaginative path to places like the gym, a construction site, and even the fire station.
The important part of this learning tool is you are in charge. As a parent, you know what content your child is viewing. The episodes are 22 minutes long, so you also know the length of time your child is viewing each show.
Several episodes of Charlie and Company are available through the School Zone “Little Scholar” tablet. The tablet also includes music and other educational materials for children.
It is okay if you are on the fence about using technological tools for education. Exploring a variety of options is a step in the right direction.
For more information about School Zone, visit http://www.buylittlescholar.com.
By Angie Hultgren