Strong Olivia and Lion are characters that Ms. Redmond, a Seattle Public School teacher, created to virtually interact with her students, or “scholars” as she calls them. She is a traditional classroom teacher but watching her on video one would think she is actually the star of a children’s show. Mr. Rogers comes to mind. But this time as a woman of color with a beautiful singing voice and a manner that makes you wish you were a child again.
“Oh, she could have her own show” says Emily Dills, founder of Seattle Nanny Network Inc, which has recently pivoted to offer a Virtual Nanny service in the wake of Covid-19. “She is so amazing I told her she needs a talent agent” says Dills, only half joking.
Ms. Redmond teaches math to 2nd and 3rd grade students and like many others, she is working from home these days, and getting creative with how to reach children it turns out. She now spends evenings reading bedtime stories live to kids virtually.
Dills invited her to help launch her Virtual Nanny service, an idea for which she readily credits her family clients and nannies for coming up with.
“Kids are off school, at home for who knows how long. Many parents still need to work, but any parent doing it knows how tough it is” adds Dills. “Our nannies are already K-12 teachers, grad students, and by nature, career early-learning educators. Why not make them available to children remotely? They engage in a way that no computer can.” This means help with homework, educational games to make up for academic loss, singing songs, teaching languages, reading books, teaching yoga and mindfulness.
The Virtual Nanny can flex to meet the needs of the kids in real time. Dills own son, age 11, has been connecting virtually for homework lessons with one of her star applicants, John. As a recent college grad in the tech industry, he is able to keep her son engaged for “a good two hours at a time.” Knowing its quality screen time helps.
Before the stay at home order, Jenn used to visit the homes of local families through the service. Now she is a Virtual Nanny who introduces her dog to viewers in her delightfully goofy promo video. She has a degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology and is a former STEM teacher and tutor; the concept of earning some extra income from home while still being able to connect with kids was instantly appealing.
Dills wants the service to be accessible, and the cost is a lot less than a tutoring service plus it can be booked with ease through an app they partnered with UrbanSitter.com to launch in the Seattle area last year. The booking process is simple, direct to consumer once the family is a member of the service. They can browse promotional videos and book directly with a Virtual Nanny for as little as one hour. Corporate accounts are available for employers who want to reduce the anxiety around their work-from-home personnel who struggle with juggling childcare and their jobs.
Safety is a critical aspect to the service, just as it is when the Seattle Nanny providers visit homes to work with children. Each Virtual Nanny has their own Zoom login account and each session is recorded and stored. Parents are required to complete detailed information before joining, and of course are not able to leave the home during sessions.
For more information visit seattlenanny.com or virtualnannynetwork.com call or text 425-803-9511