Published: 10th August 2020
How Indore-based ClassMonitor is helping parents teach preschoolers better using DIY learning kits
ClassMonitor's learning kits blend traditional teaching methods with advanced and modern technology to aid a child's transition from preschool to formal schooling
While kids are spending time at home with schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are looking for learning solutions to keep them engaged. This EdTech start-up from Indore might just have all the answers. Founded by young entrepreneurs Vijeet Pandey and his childhood friend Vikas Rishishwar, ClassMonitor is using Do-it-yourself (DIY) kits to provide holistic learning experiences for preschoolers and help parents keep their children away from the screens.
Vijeet returned to India in early 2016 after completing his Master's in Accounts and Finance in the UK and working in the retail business. He wanted to become an entrepreneur and do something in the field of education, which, he says, has always been close to his heart. Vijeet along with his childhood friend Vikas Rishishwar, an expert in technology, set up ClassMonitor in March 2016. "We wanted to do something in the education sector where technology would be the backbone. We then decided to enter the EdTech segment to solve the parent-teacher communication problem that was major back in 2016. Schools had been connecting parents and teachers through Whatsapp groups and that was quite unprofessional. That's how the ClassMonitor platform was born as a means of communication for parents and teachers. We called it Version 1 of ClassMonitor then," explains Vijeet.
ClassMonitor was growing as a platform gradually, but the founders wanted to solve larger problems in the sector. "Around early 2017, after interacting with our clients, mostly parents, we saw that the major pain point was for parents of kids between the age of 1-7 years — early learners. They wanted to participate in a child's progress but didn't know how to do so. At the same time, they were looking for solutions which would keep the kids away from mobile phones, computers and tablets," says Vijeet.
And that's when ClassMonitor's hybrid learning model came into the picture, as a combination of online and offline tools. "The technology aspect is meant completely for parents, educators, mentors but the learning kits are meant only for kids/preschoolers. Through technology, the parent would understand what, how and when to do something, and the kits help children to perform hands-on activities and learn in the process," adds Vijeet.
The learning kit comes in four different product variants for children aged 1 to 8 years. Each box contains over 200 DIY activities, including flashcards, rhymes, stories, fun worksheets, art supplies, and games for kids to play based on broad categories like plants, animals and more. The boxes also come along with a subscription to the ClassMonitor app that has Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality features and a QR code scanner. "All our worksheets and flashcards have QR codes that can be easily scanned on the app to get the instructions needed to complete an activity. The product integrates the online and offline teaching approach to bring interactive learning content for kids. The activities progress in sequential order — easy, hard, etc. As a parent one can use the app to learn how to help your kid to perform these activities such as how to use the AR feature of the application. The app also provides details on the child's learning outcomes after each activity — would it improve vocational skills, what is the learning your kid will have after he/she completes a single activity," Vijeet explains.
These kits are meant to last for a year and thus comes equipped with numerous activities. The learning kits are priced at Rs 3,499 per annum including the ClassMonitor app subscription. They also have specific kits, called the Skill Booster kits for children between the ages of 6 and 8, as they would have already begun attending formal schools. These are priced at Rs 1,099. "These focus on a particular skill of a child. Schools are already teaching them a detailed curriculum, parents want something that will help polish certain skills of their children like logical thinking. Some of the new boxes we are coming up with can also be completed in two or three months instead of lasting a year," adds Vijeet.
Unlike a few others, the pandemic has proven to be profitable for ClassMonitor. "Sales have gone up during the pandemic as parents are looking for more solutions like this because they know the toddlers won't go to school at least till the end of this year," adds Vijeet. Recently in May, the start-up has also launched online live sessions for parents on their app to guide them on how to get their children to perform the DIY activities in their learning kits. "Instructors take these classes three days a week to conduct particular sessions. People are purchasing the kit and the live classes feature together now," concludes Vijeet.