This Mom of 2 Created a School-in-the-Box Program Parents Everywhere Need

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The pandemic has hit everyone hard, but trying to supplement schooling is definitely one of the biggest challenges parents have faced. Cara Zelas knows this challenge and she knows it well. A mother of tow, an educator and an entrepreneur, Cara saw a specific gap in the social-emotional learning critical to the preschool age and decided to do something about it. Enter, the Kindness Learning Company and The Big World of Little Dude’s school-in-a-box. Read on to find out how it can help your child and children in need thrive.

As Cara says, “When I arrived in the U.S. nearly a decade ago, I spent a lot of time teaching and assisting teachers in the classroom, and it was there that I had a stark reminder about the importance of themes such as kindness, empathy, courage and manners. When learning about the core curriculum and other standardized teaching platforms, I noticed a gap and these social and emotional themes largely missing. It was out of this realization that I formed the Kindness Learning Company and from there, developed our first book series, The Big World of Little Dude.”

The books aim at teaching the core principles of topics like kindness, empathy, respect, manners and feelings. But with COVID-19 closures, Cara knew she needed to do something more. So she partnered with ACS (children’s services), New Yorkers for Children (501c3), to create school-in-the-box curriculum that not only entertains kids, but offers them stimulation, learning and support. Plus, for every school-in-the-box purchased, she donates a box and curriculum to children in the care of ACS & NYFC.

Every school-in-the-box offers:
  • 50 individual items that correspond to Little Dude’s “At-Home Lessons” curriculum.
  • Neatly organized and compartmentalized materials to make teaching out-of-the-box easy and enjoyable.
  • Ideas and tips to ‘up-cycle’ the box for additional activities with your child.

Check out The Big World of Little Dude for an array of at-home lessons geared toward preschoolers, including the complete school-in-the-box series, all of Cara’s wonderful books, and a way to donate even more. Lesson range from $49 to $150 for the complete box. Remember, not only will you help your preschooler thrive, you also help another little one out there get the learning tools they need. 

—Amber Guetebier

All photos courtesy Cara Zelas


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