By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of neighbors in Minneapolis have teamed up to do their own pod-style learning.

“Every house has their own kind of routine for getting their energy out but also getting focused for the day,” Erin Zielinski said.

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Four kindergarteners in the Kenny neighborhood are doing distance learning together during the week, rotating houses each day. Parents of the children take turns facilitating and hosting class.

The students’ parents all live on the same two blocks. They came up with the idea over the summer when plans for school were still up in the air.

“We just extended our bubbles, our single family houses, to the four of us to give them a structured learning opportunity but also the social aspect,” Zielinski said.

With pod learning, the five and six year olds get some socializing while the parents, on their off days, focus on their jobs.

“I work in a hospital setting so have to be in person so if I didn’t have my neighbors helping me out I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Kelly Kueffer said.

The school day runs from 8 a.m. to just after 2 p.m.

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“They pretend to take the bus,” Zielinski said.

One of the parents is an early childhood education teacher who has helped guide the neighbors when they struggle.

“They know us as their friends’ parents,” Kueffer said. “So when it’s time to listen and work it can be a little bit tricky.”

The neighbors say it’s given them a renewed appreciation for all teachers. They also said they recognize it is a privilege to have this opportunity.

“We would be the first to say that we are very lucky to have each other.”

So far all of the families have stayed healthy. One of the grandparents offered to do preschool for the younger children on the block.

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Right now, the parents are working up a plan on how to transition gym class, that has been outdoors, to a winter weather setting.

Kate Raddatz