Chicago-based startup Pocket Literacy Coach has rebranded itself this month to become a dedicated mobile service with the ambitious goal of making sure all parents have the developmental information they need to keep their children stimulated as they grow. Now called Parent University, the mobile platform will give parents appropriate, research based information on how to positively influence their children during crucial developmental years.
Its former iteration, Pocket Literacy Coach, was a platform that focused on sending out scheduled texts of helpful information to parents’ cellphones throughout the day. Founder and CEO Chris Drew said that the company began creating the more robust platform after hearing feedback that parents yearned for a more interactive and personalized service.
Tips provide by Parent University platform in complexity depending on the age of the child. All a user has to do is enter the appropriate birthdate and they’ll begin receiving push notifications featuring valuable developmental tips fitting their child’s age group. Drew explained that the service works by creating habits for your child, and offers tips that can be as simple as making skin contact with your baby while you hold them, or teaching your growing child about fractions while baking cookies. Parents can even keep a log of their completed activities, save pictures to remember the moment, and share their child’s progress with friends.
“We have a mission and our mission is to empower parents to be their child’s best teacher,” said Drew.
Push notifications from Parent University are research proven methods that work to target a variety of important developmental skills between the ages of mere days to 12 years old. The Parent University team includes special education teachers, grade school instructors, speech language pathologists, and parents.
While there are other services that offer parenting tips, Parent University will be the first accredited child development platform, awarding points and badges for completing activities that push each user closer to getting a Degree in Parenting. “We believe that we’ve assembled the team and we’ve got the foundation to be the first ones to do that,” said Drew.
The founder sees the new platform as playing a key role in reducing the 40 percent of kindergarteners who enter the school system far behind their peers and often never have the chance to catch up. “We really believe that early childhood investment is where our nation has a lot of room to improve,” Drew said. “Even if parents don’t have access to high quality education, they can still create a stimulating home environment with Parent University.”
Parent University raised a seed round of $250,000 this Fall, and has offices in both Redwood City and Chicago. The service is currently in alpha, and according to Drew Parent University already has a solid base of users working with the platform. In the future parents will have to pay a monthly tuition to make their way through Parent University, but for now the freemium service will be completely free of charge following the first 12-24 months after its scheduled launch in January of next year.
Check out ParentUniversity.co to sign up and find out more about getting research-proven, personalized parenting tips delivered straight to your smartphone.