Superpower Academy founder and CEO Pamela Joe has launched the next phase of her creative educational subscription box based on social and emotional learning (SEL) and is seeking additional crowd-sourced funding to further develop curriculum and support classroom learning.
SEL is increasingly recognized around the world as the process by which children and adults are able to gain and apply knowledge, attitudes and skills to different situations. This provides a foundation for them to set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions, according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (https://casel.org/).
“I am amazed at the research coming out of institutions like Stanford and Yale and wanted to get it in front of parents and teachers as quickly as possible,” said Pamela, who researched at and graduated from Stanford University’s Psychology Department. “I have been working in the renewable energy start-up space for a decade and have seen these skills at play. In fact, they were often more critical than traditional STEM competencies. We can’t wait another decade for this stuff to make its way through traditional curriculum development cycles. It is too important.”
Attorney-turned educational entrepreneur Pamela Joe is among parents everywhere who realize that each child has a unique learning style. Some are receptive to one-size-fits-all teaching methods, but many are not. Some kids are wiggly and would rather learn by doing. Others are still and attentive, but may not be fully engaged. “We need to recognize these differences and do our best to teach to them all,” said Joe.
Using Superpower Academy kits, “I taught a class, because I wanted to see for myself how the kids engaged with the curriculum,” she said. “As we explored each kit, you could hear a pin drop,” she said. “I have never seen kids so engaged and excited. One extremely shy girl bloomed with the hands-on creative projects, and by the end of the course, came out of her shell when paired up with another student on a design project,” Joe said. “It was simply amazing to see this kind of progress over just a few months.”
Superpower Academy is an award-winning* series of kits containing “Secret Missions” that teach children lifelong skills like creative risk-taking, settling emotions, working through frustration and finding the courage to stand up for what they believe. These serious life-lessons for children 5 to 10 years of age are taught through fun and engaging hands-on projects, comic books, stories of real heroes and additional surprises that spark imagination. [*The Academics’ Choice Brain Toy Award as well as a Parent and Teacher Choice Award.]
“All of the projects are open-ended, there’s not just one right way to do them,” Joe said.
After exceeding a $10,000 goal in the first 14 hours of a Kickstarter effort, Joe decided to continue the campaign with the mission of using additional funds raised to develop further curriculum for more Superpower Academy subscription boxes and lesson plans for classrooms. The Superpower Academy concept was developed in collaboration with the nonprofit HopeLab in California, a member of the Omidyar family of organizations specializing in development of products for the health and well-being of children, and Daylight Design, a leading product design firm in San Francisco with deep educational expertise. The team behind Superpower Academy comprises teachers, experts in early education, child psychologists, community leaders, a librarian and designers. Each team member either works with kids or is a working parent — and in most cases, they are both.
“Super Sight” is one of the superpowers featured in the kits. The featured comic character is Evie Explosion, who tends to explode when she gets upset. Through building a Mindoscope and Mood Lantern with Evie, children explore flaring emotions and will practice calming them to earn Super Sight. Then, real-life hero Gandhi offers a lesson about how calm and peaceful ways can help change the world.
“Long after other toys come and go, the joy of succeeding after ‘failing’ and innovating will last and serve our children well,” said Lisa, mother of eight year-old Chelsea. “Superpower Academy missions inspire Chelsea to create, experiment and innovate, all while having a blast! She is able to discover her own path with project-based super-fun activities, which ignites her creativity, openness, and resilience.”
Through the Kickstarter campaign, pledges are available from as low as $5, while a box can be purchased or gifted starting at $27. Learn more about the Superpower Academy Kickstarter campaign at http://bit.ly/SuperpowerKS. Find more information about Superpower Academy at https://www.superpoweracademy.org/.
Pamela Joe is available for interviews. Video and high-resolution photography for media coverage also is available.