Toronto-developed ‘Sago Mini School’ helps kids learn vital skills from home

The app is currently free for six month for Canadian families

Toronto-developed Sago Mini School is a new app that aims to help preschoolers learn new vital skills from the comfort of their homes.

The app is designed to help children build their math, literacy and science skills through games and interesting topics. Sago Mini CEO and founder, Jason Krogh, told MobileSyrup that the app was developed in collaboration with education and play experts based in Canada and the United States.

There are currently three main topics in Sago Mini School that children can learn about: bugs, big trucks and rainbows. The topics are created based on things that children are already naturally curious about. New topics will be introduced to the app every month, with ‘groceries’ being added to the app next month.

To help Canadian families make their transition to learning from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sago Mini School is free for six months on the App Store for iPhone and iPad users for all parents who subscribe by June 1st.

“We’re a very proudly Canadian studio, we work a lot with Canadian families. Under the current circumstances parents are struggling to find quality content for younger kids and this is one way we can help,” Krogh said.

The activities are all arranged on an interactive shelf that kids can swipe through and move around to decide what they want to do. Each top includes a book that kids can read along with and practice their literacy skills.

There are also several other activities that encourage kids to use their imaginations. For instance, one activity lets kids build a truck in any way that they want to. Once they’re done, the app creates a snapshot of the creation so that parents can take a look at it later.

Another activity gives children a drawing prompt where they are asked to draw certain things, like a house for a grasshopper. The app records a video of the drawing as the child completes it. It also records audio, which is an interesting feature because children are often vocal when they draw. By recording their vocal expressions, the app allows parents to take a look at their child’s creative endeavours at a later time.

Since Sago Mini’s initial launch in 2013, Krogh noted that the company came up with the idea for its educational apps by looking at ways that Sago Mini could combine its creative side with educational measures.

“About two years ago, we started looking at the educational space. The notion was, what could we do if we combined our colourful characters and great design with the expertise of leading preschool educators,” Krogh said.

With Sago Mini School, the developers had three main ideas that they wanted to focus on. Firstly, they wanted to ensure that the app would be usable by preschoolers. They aimed to make it simple enough for preschoolers to be able to navigate through it without needing too much help from their parents.

Secondly, Krogh noted that the app needed to deliver content around different topics that preschoolers can relate to and learn from. This is why simple topics like ‘bugs’ were chosen because kids are often curious about the bugs that they see in their backyards.

Lastly, Sago Mini focused on implementing parental engagement so that parents can support their kids’ learning in an accessible way.

To do this, the company launched a companion app called ‘Sago Mini Parents’ that allows parents to be involved. It offers details about the topics that the kids are focusing on in the app. Parents can receive push notifications when their child has completed a task and can view all of the work that they have done.

Krogh said that this process is similar to when kids come home from preschool or daycare with a folder full of their work and spread it across a table and discuss it with their parents. The work the kids complete in the app is aimed to help them start a conversation with their parents and ask questions once they go over the work together.

Sago Mini School and its free companion app Sago Mini Parents are available on the App Store. A monthly subscription costs $8.99 CAD and an annual subscription costs $64.99 CAD.

Image credit: Sago Mini