From Pandemic Pods to at-home tutors to quaran-teams, this year has really challenged parents to get creative when it comes to educating their kids. It hasn’t been easy to say the least. Greenville mom Michelle Paddenburg totally gets it. She’s a local business owner with years of experience running programs specifically geared towards education and childhood development, she is now focusing on building Challenge Island in the community to help parents with elearning, virtual programs, and homeschooling.
Thank you to Challenge Island for sponsoring this article.
Challenge Island is an award-winning program specializing in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities and camps. With a focus on creativity, learning, and critical thinking, Challenge Island programs help prepare kids to excel at school and teach them real-world skills at the same time.
The Greenville Challenge Island center offers enrichment classes, homeschool classes, Kids Nights Out, family nights, Scout merit badges, camps, in-school field trips, afterschool classes, and eLearning pods.
There are three options to engage your child with Challenge Island programs: in-person at the Challenge Island site, virtual, or in-person at a place of your choosing. Michelle recognizes that everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to the best situations for their families and friends and she’s happy to work with parents on whatever fits their needs best.
The virtual programs are all live so kids and parents can ask questions and engage with the instructors in real time. Challenge Island virtual camps were voted the Top Virtual Camp in the country by Parade Magazine and their virtual camps also took the highest honor from Business Insider. In our new world saturated by virtual learning, these awards are certainly noteworthy.
Ages and Programs
Challenge Island in Greenville has programs specifically geared for preschool and Kindergarten all the way up through age 14. They also offer family night experiences where everyone can participate in educational and fun games.
Summer and school break camps include fun themes like Wizardry Camp, Mindcraft Camp, Icy Party Camp, and Space Wars Camp.
Other challenges that homeschooling families may like involve history and timelines that fit well within cross-curricular programs. For example, kids may take a visit to Time Machine Island where they travel back to ancient Egypt, learn about mummies, write their names in hieroglyphics, and learn about the geometric power of the mighty triangle before engineering Egyptian style pyramids to house their tribal treasures. As a parent, that sounds fun to me!
Michelle and Challenge Island have pivoted the company to address the needs of parents in the eLearning world. They offer classes where you can bring either your own kids or kids within your social bubble to participate in activities or receive help with eLearning.
These learning pods are typically three hours long and eLearning help is given while kids can also participate in fun STEAM activities.
New Partnerships + Sanitation Measures
Challenge Island in Greenville is partnering with The Health Dare and soon to be KitFit Nation in order to launch an Imagination Lab. The Health Dare helps parents choose healthy snacks and meals for kids while making it fun and easy to learn. They have been doing family nutrition for over five years and are partnering with Challenge Island to support parents as they navigate virtual learning and preventative healthcare during these unprecedented times. Big issues for them are raising awareness for childhood obesity, diabetes, and mental focus. I did one of their meetups at a local grocery store in Greenville and had such a blast!
For sanitation measures at Challenge Island, kids will sanitize their hands upon entering and will have their temperatures taken as well. Masks are optional but encouraged. There will be enough time between classes to wipe down tables and chairs and since Challenge Island focuses mainly on everyday materials such as popsicle sticks, cups, etc, most of these things are single use and will either be taken home or discarded once the projects are finished. Sharing of supplies will be limited as well.
You can see programs and classes available at this link. The cost for programs vary by length and time but enrichment classes are typically $10/$11 per class and eLearning pods are $25 for three-hour sessions with STEAM.
Challenge Island Greenville
530 Howell Road, Greenville