Rockbridge parents form learning pods

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 6:28 PM EST
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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Inside a church activity hall, it sounds a lot like school right now, because in the age of remote learning, it sort of is.

“We try to stick with the schedule like they have at school," said Stephanie Dameran. "I’m not here to teach them, I’m here to help them learn and to navigate their new learning platforms.”

She’s the teacher in a learning pod, one of eight currently in Rockbridge County, organized by parents.

“You know, the pod is really about the whole child," said pod organizer Rosalea Potter. "It’s not just an educational pod. We’re focusing on spiritual needs, social needs, mental needs, physical needs of these children.”

Dameran explained, “A lot of parents have struggled with child care since all of this stuff started, all the COVID started. It’s been seven months since they’ve been out of school, so getting back in and relearning those social skills I think was important.”

And that local churches had nice, open rooms available was more than a coincidental benefit.

“Because of this pandemic, and our church was just treading water and we realized we had this facility, we have our people, and how can we serve the community?" asked Rev. Patrick Lanaghan of the Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church. "And we had just been talking about it a couple weeks before, when all of a sudden the Lord brought this to us, so it is a gift.”

They’re having to adapt now, with Rockbridge returning to part-time in person classes, but there continues to be a need, even for only a couple days a week, and the pods are prepared to respond.

“All the pods in the county right now have spots available for students to become members of those pods,” Potter said.

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