In this day and age of environmental awareness and conservation, you often hear adults talking about leaving a better planet for the children who are going to inherit it… but is anyone talking to those kids about how to love and protect the planet and the life it sustains? Actually, yes, someone is! Junior Explorers Inc., a Brooklyn, NY-based edtech social enterprise, is dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards by developing products and digital experiences that connect kids to the planet. There has never been a greater time – or a greater need – to connect kids to nature and wildlife.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb
What is Junior Explorers all about?
Rooted in the belief that you only protect something that you love, and that you only love things you feel a connection with, Junior Explorers engages children through fun and interactive missions through which they learn all about the earth, its ecosystems, and all of the species of animals that share our planet with us. This program incorporates both digital and tactile components, reaching child learners exactly where they are and how they learn best through adventurous stories.
Every mission starts at home with a kit arriving in the mail that includes collectibles, activities, and information about that month’s mission. Kids then go online and complete their mission through a rich gamified learning experience accessible on computers and mobile devices. This approach of combining engaging, educational offline materials with an immersive online experience means that your kids won’t be glued to a screen all day, and their screen time will count! In each mission, kids solve mysteries in nature that involve the eco-challenges facing the habitat and the animals that live there. Kids hone problem-solving skills, gain valuable STEM knowledge, and learn what they can do to help protect the planet!
It took over two years of research and product development with a global team of educators, parents, psychologists, product designers, and science experts to create Junior Explorers. The program is customized for 5-11 year olds, combining storytelling, adventure, animals, gaming, and sharing, which lets kids have so much fun, that they learn without even realizing it! Because it encourages interaction with parents and siblings, Junior Explorers is a great tool for homeschooled children, but it is easily adaptable for the school classrooms, too. And because it’s aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, you can be confident in what your children are learning.
How can you get involved?
The goal of Junior Explorers is for this program to be in the hands of every student in every classroom across America… and the world. Over the past 15 months, more than 10,000 adventure kits have been shipped across 3 different countries, reaching thousands of eager students. The program is receiving rave reviews – from parents and kids alike – and has even won awards. In order to get this curriculum set into more classrooms, the company has started a Kickstarter campaign, and you can help! There are fantastic pledge rewards for the different levels of giving, and every dollar raised during this campaign ensures that more adventures will be created, encouraging kids to become better stewards of our planet.
The Kickstarter campaign continues through the end of June 2016, and within the first week of going live, met its initial goal of $35,000! Junior Explorers currently has eight adventure missions ready for your kids to explore, but they are continuously developing more missions, and that’s where your donations will go to work. And Junior Explorers gives back… as a certified B-Corp, they use their business for good. At the end of every eco-mission a child completes, he gets to donate the points he earned to a frontline conservation effort of his choice, and those points are matched with a $1 donation by Junior Explorers. Their goal is to become one of the largest contributors to nonprofits focusing on conservation work on behalf of kids around the world.
Calling all teachers!
Do you know an elementary school teacher who could put Junior Explorers into action? Could your homeschool charter benefit from an interactive science curriculum centered around environmental consciousness? Are you a teacher who would love to use Junior Explorers in your classroom? Teachers can sign up here during the Kickstarter campaign (ends June 30, 2016) to receive the Junior Explorers program and supporting curriculum guides for FREE! Hop over to the Junior Explorers Club facebook page to find more information and read what parents and teachers have to say about the program!
Junior Explorers is just one way to keep our kids engaged. Continue to keep your kids’ minds open this summer with these 8 Tips for Avoiding the Summer Learning Slump.
Photo credits: Junior Explorers