Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Spring 2011 Website
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
Producer: Age of Learning
Publisher: Age of Learning

This website took me by surprise. At first glance, appears to be a standard, cartoon-style educational website. Upon entering the site, however, the amount of educational materials, the organization of the classroom levels, the ease of navigation and available help features and sheer depth of activities available is almost overwhelming. This may be the first website that I have seen that is truly an online classroom, terrific for pre-school through kindergarten students.

Parents create an account and can add up to 3 children for a fee of $7.95/month (for up to 3 children) or $79.00/year. For each child, enter a name, create an avatar and assign him or her to one of six grade levels (Pre-K Level 1 through Kindergarten Level 2). You may also set preferences such as the amount of time a child may work on the site. Once a child is created, they may go to the classroom to begin working through a series of lessons appropriate for their grade level. For each lesson they complete, they earn tickets that can be redeemed to purchase clothing items for their avatar or items to place in their digital, on-screen bedroom. Lessons are offered in reading, math, the world around us, art and music.

There are also a number of activities to work on in the classroom, such as learning time with the clock, practicing computer skills, coloring, puzzles or learning music with the piano. In addition to the classroom, there is a zoo and a farm area, both of which include numerous songs, stories and activities to teach children about animals.

As children work through their lessons, the site automatically keeps track of their progress. Parents can also create their own lesson plans. There are over 350 lessons so there is no need to worry about your child running out of things to do. During the introductory video it is recommended that when your child uses the site, you establish of goal of having them complete one or two lessons per session as well as working on the other activities.

The site is incredibly well-designed for children to use and navigate, with an illustrated interface that is intuitive for them. As the parent of a toddler and kindergartener, it was interesting to watch them both work in their classrooms independently (at separate times) but also enjoy working on parts of it together. Each time we used the site we discovered more things to do. For parents looking for an educational website for young children, should not be missed.

Jessica Hensley   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Jessica Hensley is a web designer, yoga and fitness enthusiast and proud mother of two very active young boys. She has been working with family and educational websites for over 12 years.

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