5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
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 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.
For a few moments each day, my children can be transported to countries like Egypt to learn about the Nile River, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx. They learned to make morir soñando, a very delicious drink from the Caribbean islands. And they are rediscovering their Indian heritage by learning how to write in Sanskrit, about the origins of yoga and that Ganesh is the Hindu god of wisdom, success and good luck.
Steve Wolfe Pereira and Susie Jaramillo co-founded Encantos to educate and entertain young learners. Both Pereira and Jaramillo are purpose-driven Latino leaders who joined forces to build a company that would encourage kids to become citizens of the world. They are self-described “storyteachers,” who focus on the power of storytelling to unlock children’s imaginations and drive their curiosity and passion for learning.
Here are three of the things that impress me most about Encantos.
1. It provides a seamless transition between digital and physical learning
When my children have had enough screen time, it’s important to be able to seamlessly pivot from watching an animated series to moving on to worksheets and puzzles. Encantos provides a variety of tools to help my kids play, explore, be inspired and not get bored or disengaged.
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 three brands: Canticos (a bilingual preschool brand), Tiny Travelers (citizens of the world) and 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,” Pereira says. “We are active allies with parents in building their children’s learning journeys through play, curiosity and engagement.”
2. It offers accessible and affordable price points
The pandemic continues to exacerbate the inequities that exist in our educational systems. Economically privileged families have had the means to provide extra schooling support for their children. When schools closed and moved to virtual classrooms,the demand for private tutors surged.
At the same time, low-income families continue to struggle for access to WiFi 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.
The Encantos brands offer affordable puzzles, books and toys ranging in price from $6.99 to $39.99 (they also make great gifts.) The Canticos app is $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 versus the classroom,” Jaramillo says. “Even so, teachers love our free resource materials. 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 giving back. So I know every time I purchase an Encantos item, I am also helping give back to the broader community.
3. It teaches our children about communities in our broader world
“Black Panther wasn’t just for Black people, and Coco wasn’t just for Mexicans,” Pereira says. “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 and so many other cultures. “We know that 50% of kids in the U.S. under the age of 18 identify as multicultural,” Pereira shares. “And yet, we don’t tell enough inclusive stories. Dora The Explorer was created over 20 years ago. 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 who were the family storytellers have passed on. Encantos helps 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 this platform, 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.
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