Ever since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chelsea Petrozzo-Wilson, a kindergarten teacher in New York City who lives and tutors in East Hampton during the summer, has noticed her students having trouble with sitting still, taking turns, navigating the playground, and asking for help. These skills seem to be lacking, she says, among a generation of kids who missed out on traditional classroom experiences and preschool programs early on.
“When you’re taken out of the school setting, you realize that these things are taught. It is a learned behavior,” Ms. Petrozzo-Wilson said. “I saw kids who were really, really struggling to do the basic things that are taught and not just innate. What is it that families need at home that can help them?”
She recently launched the Wonderers, a tutoring and small-group educational program for children in elementary school and those who are younger. One of its features is a subscription-based video series in which families get monthly access to content and activities that incorporate everyday household items as learning tools, so that parents don’t have to spend money on extra materials. The goal is to help young students get set up for success in school.
Summer programs are in the works to prevent the “learning loss” that often occurs when the last bell rings for New York students in June. She also does curriculum consulting for teachers and developmental coaching for parents.
Her offerings “bridge the gap,” Ms. Petrozzo-Wilson said, between school and home life, and connect early childhood education to elementary education. “A lot of it is based on what I do in my kindergarten classroom.” She teaches at the Brooklyn Arbor School.
There are songs to sing together, art, language, and math activities, and questions to jump-start age-appropriate discussions of books and other topics. There’s even a video on creating an “emotion book” that students can use to help express themselves. She started out with activities in the area of social-emotional learning because she sees it as the most pronounced need.
“The more programs there are for little kids who are going to be going into school, the more cohesive a classroom becomes, which is so helpful for teachers,” Ms. Petrozzo-Wilson said. “I want to get kids excited to learn and feel confident in a classroom.”
A subscription to the Wonderers program costs $30 a month for 15 videos. More information about
Ms. Petrozzo-Wilson’s offerings is at thewondererseducation.com.