If you’ haven’t heard of Miss Megan, she stepped onto the scene at the onset of the COVID pandemic and is now delighting and comforting thousands of children and parents around the world.
You can join Miss Megan’s Kindergarten Camp by joining her Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/510772009639053/
Miss Megan is a former kindergarten teacher and current preschool assistant, who wanted to help add routine to In this time of uncertainty and little structure. She goes live on Facebook regularly with her morning meetings to get your 3-7 year old’s day started! We will do calendar, counting, days of the week, months of the year, weather, morning message, letter(s) of the day, some guitar playing, and it all ends with a book being read.
Miss Megan’s Kindergarten Camp Interview
I want to go back into the way back machine and pretend it’s January 2020. Can you describe a day in your life?
Megan: Yeah, so my life basically was driving kids to school and picking them up. I have a preschooler and a kindergartner this year, and so between drop offs and pick ups, and I also had a little part-time position as a teaching assistant at my preschooler’s school. So between all of that and the extracurricular activities that my kindergartner was a part of, it kept me pretty busy on a regular basis.
And then came March and something changed. Tell us what happened.
Megan: Yeah, well, obviously Coronavirus came. And I think for a while, at least towards the end of February, beginning of March, nobody really knew what all was happening with Coronavirus as it relates to schools and closures. And here in Illinois, we had heard of some of the other states starting to kind of play around with what they’re going to do with school. And as mid-March kind of approached, it was getting a bit more real that schools would likely… something was going to happen with them.
And so it was right before St. Patrick’s Day, my daughter’s elementary school district made the decision that they were going to try this e-learning and we thought it would just be for a couple of weeks, like two or three weeks to start with. And so my background is in early child… I have a master’s in early childhood education. And I was a kindergarten teacher before we had kids.
I just really wanted for those three weeks to have something consistent in my girls lives. And so I thought, I’m just going to grab some of my teaching materials, which I didn’t have a whole lot of, but I had enough. And I’m just going to make a little morning routine. Something that I would do if I were in the classroom, a daily called a morning message with calendar and weather, and just a couple other things.
I threw the idea out to five or six of my girlfriends just because I thought it would be fun if my girls had their friends as part of this random learning thing that I thought maybe I could do. And they were really interested. And so I actually got really excited pulling out my old teaching materials. Because it had been about six years since I’ve actually had my own classroom. And so I got all that stuff out and ready and I put a post up on my personal Facebook page just saying, “Hey, this is what I’m thinking about doing. If anybody’s interested, I’ll be here at 9:00 AM on Monday.” And I had it on my personal page. As the day went on more and more people were expressing interest in joining. And so a friend was like, “You might want to create a group or a page.” I’m like, “I don’t even know how to do that.” Because I’m not the most tech savvy person.
She created a group for me and it just really snowballed. And by Monday I think I had thousands of people that had already joined the group without having even been live yet.
Sherri: Oh my God.
Megan: Yeah. It was really cool. I’m that Sunday too. As I was watching like numbers grow and grow and it was going from twenties and thirties of people to hundreds of people to then thousands of people I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to prepare myself. There’s probably going to be people that are like going to throw out negative comments because this group is getting bigger.” And I had no clue that it was going to end up in the hundreds of thousands.
I will say this is week 11, I think. And no negative comments so far. It’s been pretty amazing.
Sherri: I can tell you that the members of the Babbleboxx team, we always work from home. Now all of a sudden kids are not in school and all of a sudden everyone’s like, “Okay, it’s March whatever. We’re going to Miss Megan’s classroom.” So it hit our team and then everyone’s talking about you and I’m like, “We must talk to her. I want to know what’s going on.” Yeah. So it really helped a lot of our teams, our team as well and their kids.
So you jumped right away from 15 thousand to over 85 thousand fans?
Megan: Yeah, that was probably… So I think the first week went from 0 to like 40 thousand people. And then after a couple of weeks, it jumped up to 80 some thousand people. And now we’re at 101 thousand members.
How do you manage all the attention?
Megan: It was definitely crazy the first week or two especially. Because I gained local coverage and some national coverage and just lots of people reaching out. And I will tell you the first week I was a bit overwhelmed with everything.
But once I… And also I’m not tech savvy. So people would ask me, “Hey, how do I cast this to my TV?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” I don’t know how to cast it to your TV. So then I would try to like create a post of technology questions so that people could help other people, because I didn’t know how to help them.
People were asking if I had a YouTube channel. And at that point I was like, “Hey, I don’t know how to make a YouTube channel.” For some reason, Facebook felt just a little bit safer than YouTube. But I don’t even know if there’s any grounds for that to stand on.
Sherri: No, I get it.
Megan: I ended up creating a YouTube channel and a lot of people have appreciated that. And I do too. Because all the videos are in one spot as opposed to having to scroll through a bunch of stuff. So as time has gone on, it’s become a lot more manageable and I’ve figured some things out. Like at the beginning, I figured out that I should… How to allow… Basically not allow anybody to post anything. Because at the beginning, anybody could post anything on the group page. And so, everything was getting covered by people’s posts and people would have watch parties and those would get posted and then people would be like, “I can’t find your live feed.”
Miss Megan’s YouTube Channel
Megan: I’m like, “I don’t know how to help you.” It’s worked itself out into terms of being manageable and just kind of… I do my hour. I have spent like a half an hour afterwards uploading to YouTube and making sure I check everybody’s comments and all that stuff. So it’s become a lot more manageable as I’ve figured it out.
Sherri: We just ran an article on our blog called The Accidental Influencer. So it must be very exciting. And also like, “How did this happen?” At the same time.
What about your children? How are they adjusting to the new normal.
Megan: In terms of understanding how big this is, they don’t understand it. I try to show them videos or pictures that people send to me just so they can see. And a lot of times the videos or pictures that people send will have us on their TV in the background. So my girls can see that we’re in other people’s houses, but I don’t think that they really understand the full capacity of what is going on.
Sherri: No, I meant how are they adjusting? But I guess it’s just kind of like they don’t really get it.
Sherri: Which makes sense.
Megan: Yeah. And I’m kind of glad that they don’t get it because it just protects their innocence a little bit more, I think.
Sherri: My son doesn’t understand what I do still. And he’s eight.
Sherri: We’re always like… I can imagine like GMA called you and did a segment on you.
One thing that I would love to know, is this at a point where you would say, “Look, I’m going to go get an agent.” Or you just want to kind of do that this on your own?
Megan: I haven’t really thought too much about getting an agent, but it’s definitely crossed my mind. If, let’s just say hypothetically, PBS were to be like, “Hey, we love what you’re doing. We’d love to have a new Blues Clues show, but Miss Megan show.” Would I jump on that? A hundred percent.
But I’m still in the trying to figure it out in stages. I also have my own music. That’s something that’s been kind of a dream of mine to put out my own CD. I didn’t realize it would be a children’s CD, but I’m okay. I don’t actually have a physical CD, but an album. And so there’s just a lot of moving parts for me personally, that I’m still trying to sort out. Which maybe an agent would be a good idea, but I haven’t really…
Sherri: I definitely think you’re going to have TV shows or someone coming your way to scoop this up.
Megan: That would be awesome.
Sherri: Hold on tight.
Have you put any precautions or control mechanisms in place now that you’ve had such high visibility? Whether it’s blocking certain things or anything like that?
Megan: Yeah, at the very beginning when this was all just kind of snowballing, I had… Well actually before I even put it on a group page, I had lowered my Facebook privacy settings so that people could view it on my personal page.
And then when it started to snowball, I was like, “Oh.” And I was just accepting friends left and right. Like, “Oh, they want to see my thing. Okay, great.” And I wasn’t thinking too much about safety stuff.
I haven’t had anything at all negative go on. But I had all of my life’s worth of Facebook pictures up on Facebook anywhere from college on and tons of pictures of my girls. And so I went through a purge of pictures on Facebook. And I kept some up. But not nearly the amount of pictures that I’ve acquired over the years. And it actually felt good just to do a deep clean of my personal page on Facebook. In terms of the group, I’ve set up a couple of just very general rules. Like be kind and no promotion of your own materials unless it’s in a certain spot and no spam and all that type of stuff.
So I’m pretty good about checking everybody’s, all of their comments. And if there’s anything that… I get a bunch of kids who will just push buttons and sometimes it ends up being weird emojis that pop up. And I’ll just hide that comment or delete that comment. And I think so far it’s okay.
Sherri: That’s great. Given what you’re doing.
What are some better ways that we can be engaging with our children during these trying times?
Megan: Well, I think that a lot of parents are feeling super overwhelmed right now, myself included definitely at time to time. And I think you just have to allow yourself to just be okay with it not being okay. I’ve definitely had to roll with the punches on my live show. And that’s been a challenge at times when my children are being children and siblings. But I think that our children are also just really… It’s a weird time for them and they don’t really understand it and we don’t really understand it.
So as best we can be there to help them through emotionally and mentally. I know it’s really hard for us to get off of our computers and put the work down. But as much as it’s needed to be done in terms of work, especially those who are actually working and not a stay at home mom or stay at home dad or whomever. I think it’s just really important that we make time to spend quality time with our kids during this time. Because I’ve seen a whole bunch of things on social media about… I do believe this, our kids are going to be fine in terms of academics. Everybody’s in the same boat. Everybody’s not getting the same sort of intense education that they normally would be. So we’re all in the same boat. And when we go back to school in September, whether it’s e-learning again or a different way to do learning, it’s going to be okay.
And I think that right now, people really need to focus on making sure that their kids’ emotional needs are being met. Because it is such a weird time. Sorry. That was totally a soap box of mine.
Sherri: No, it’s interesting. Because we got notice here that camp is closed for the summer. So I had to tell my son yesterday and he said, “That’s okay. I got to spend more time with you and daddy.” I think that they’re all adapting in a different way. And I also think that it’s bringing out a lot of just creativity in them and they’re learning in a different way.
I’m trying to teach my son Home Economics, which isn’t going so well. Maybe he’s still too young.
Are you being approached by brands and toy companies and things like that saying, “Can you work with us?” And is that happening at this point?
Megan: I’ve had some educational learning companies reach out, not so much to promote their things, but just being like, “Hey, we really love what you’re doing. Take a look at our website and see if there’s something that you like to purchase or we can purchase it for you.” And I’ve been just really careful about… I actually chosen not to do any direct brand, for lack of better words, shout outs.
Because I’m not ready to open that Pandora’s Box. So my live show, I’m utilizing… I actually got permission from some musicians to use their music but I’m not comfortable monetizing anything on my live feed because I don’t think that A. Hey, I don’t think it’s right. And B. I think I can. And so I don’t know how the brand shout outs or if I were to get paid for a brand shout out, I don’t know that really would work. I have definitely done shout outs, but not for that brand. Just things that have worked for me, different teaching materials that people have asked about like, “Oh, where did you get your month of the year words?” I’m like, “Well, I’ve had them for 10 years, but let me see if I can look up who might have something like that.”
I try to give just a general like, “Well, if you Google calendar chart, you’ll probably have lots of choices.” So I’ve just been trying to be careful not to do that.
Sherri: Honestly, that sounds like a very wise move because I think then you cross over into being an influencer and you get paid and then you have to like do all the disclaimers.
Sherri: So very interesting that you maintained the integrity of this and what your mission was for this. And it’s really nice to see. So, you’ve touched so many lives all across the country, I’m thinking the world at this point.
What has been the most meaningful takeaway?
Megan: I think that just the fact that people are sending me messages about how this one hour has helped them in lots of different ways. Some ways might be their child has learned how to read some words. And they’re in tears because they had a speech delay or whatever it may be in terms of actual education. That actually wasn’t my goal when I decided to do this. The whole education aspect of it was not the forefront.
The forefront was just simply to create routine and structure on a daily basis.
And so, especially when I hear things and comments back saying, “We’ve been with you since the beginning. This has been a huge lifesaver for my child in terms of it’s been the one constant in their life in these past three months.” And that has just been like, “I’m so thankful to hear those things.” Because that’s why I did this in the first place.
To create that routine and structure because it’s so important for our kids to have stability. And right now times are not stable. So I think that’s been my biggest… When I read those things I just am like, “Okay, good. It’s working.”
Sherri: You’re doing good.
Megan: Academics will come and that’s fine. But I really just wanted to have this stability in other kids’ lives because a lot of kids don’t, and not everybody’s schools are doing anything online.
And I think it’s just been great. Parents have been… It’s also nice in a parent world that I get feedback from parents saying, “Oh my gosh.” I have to parent my children for that hour as well and not just be a teacher. So they see the way that I parent during that hour. And they’re like, “I’ve come away with a few different ways to possibly do things. And it’s nice to see that you’re having some of the same struggles that I’m having.” And I’m like, “Yeah, like this is real. This is real life. And most likely I’m going to have the same types of issues in parenting as you are.” So it’s been nice to have just this community of parents that all feel like, “All right, it’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay for things not to go according to plan. And we’ll just keep moving on.”
Sherri: I think. Yeah. I think you’re keeping it real, which is amazing. And I think a lot of parents are just struggling about the screen time and not being the perfect parent. And I think it’s just very comforting to know that they could see the reality and have somewhere to go every day for that hour.
What do you think the future of education… Could you say any thoughts of what you think September will look like or the future? Do you think it’s going to move more to an online learning environment?
Megan: I don’t know, but I can tell you, I feel like… Leading up to fall, I feel like right now, at least for me personally, it’s like, “Okay, my mindset is that we’re at the end of August.” And I should be sending my kids to school soon because they’ve been home for three months. And I’m like, “Okay, I need to get out of that mindset because summer is about to start. And I have another three months until September.”
As for September, I’ve been looking at some things online and reading some different ideas that might happen. And this virus is not going away. It’s going to be here for a long time, in my opinion. And so, I don’t know. I think it will be really hard to continue having solely online learning. I think kids need to be with other kids. They need to be with other people besides their parents. Because they listen a lot better to their teachers than they do with their parents. But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to be back with a class of 15 or 20 or 30 kids given how things have gone so far.
I don’t know, I’m hoping that at least there could be like parts e-learning and part classroom. And maybe they would have a smaller… Or break the class into smaller sections and maybe do three days a week with one section, two days a week with the other section, and then the next week flip flop that. I don’t know. I think schools are going to need to get creative with how they tackle the fall. But I’m hopeful that we can send them to school in some capacity.
Sherri: I know. Yeah. I feel like they need that socialization too. The education, but the socialization is what a lot of them…
Megan: Well, yeah. And especially for this age of kid… for the early childhood age like that social, emotional aspect of school is like way more important than the academic part. And if they’re not getting that, then I think that we’re going to have some behavior issues and emotional issues as they get a little bit older if we kind of are stripping them of that because we have to right now. So, my fingers are crossed and I’m hoping for the best for the fall.
What do you think the future holds for you? Or what are your dreams for the future with all this?
Megan: I know it’s pretty crazy. Like I said earlier, if I… So this is probably way too much information than you need to know… But when I was growing up, I took dance lessons. I was in choir. I was kind of born to be in front of people. And which is kind of why I got into playing the guitar and doing open mics and then leading into teaching, which you’re always in front of kids.
I feel like if something came along where it was using those talents to some capacity. Whether it’s going on a children’s tour of the United States with some of my songs, that would be like a dream. I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen, but that would be a dream of mine. Another dream would be to have a TV show of my own as a fuse now I will be teaching in the fall at my daughter’s preschool part time. So we’ve got baby steps.
Sherri: I’m going to tell you that I think all of these dreams are going to come true. I really do. And if you ever need any help along the way, we’re always here for you.