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Early Learning Lab

Early Childhood Education During COVID-19

Early Learning Lab is a nonprofit organization that works to curate and develop tools and resources that empower parents, caregivers, and teachers with ways to support their children’s healthy development.

As COVID-19 began to take shape in the US, the Early Learning Lab team saw parents and caregivers suddenly facing unprecedented challenges. Once reliant on daycare, preschool and kindergarten to assist with the education and care of their children, they now faced becoming their sole sources of learning and support.

To help help keep families happy, healthy, safe and learning while sheltered in place

We designed the free app, Stay Play Grow, to be a comprehensive one-stop resource for families with young children during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.

Thoughtfully done, so many great resources all pulled into one. Love the ease of finding ideas and tips for life during quarantine with 2 little ones.

The Challenge

As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, closing schools and childcare nationwide, the team at Early Learning Lab knew that parents and caregivers of children age 0-5 were in need of help.

Having suddenly become the sole sources of their children's education and care, these parents needed a centralized hub for qualilty resources that would help their families remain happy, healthy and safe while sheltered in place.

Specifically, the Early Learning Lab team hoped to provide families with tools and activities to support learning, resources for accessing essential needs such as diapers, food and housing, and access to free mental health support for caregivers.

Because this app would ideally be accessed across generations it would be necessary to design the platform in a way that could be easily navigated by grandparents and children alike.

Time would be of the essence in building this app. Because of the pandemic's sudden nature, caregivers were in immediate need of resources. It would be necessary to build Stay Play Grow as quickly as possible, while also creating an app of superior quality.


Similary, because of the constantly changing nature of the pandemic, the Early Learning Lap Team would need the ability to easilly and frequently update the resources provided within the app.

Because California is home to many Spanish speaking families, it was also important that we provide access to as many Spanish language resources as possible.


The Solution

We were able to quickly mobilize and build Stay Play Grow in less than 3 weeks, quickly getting dozens of valuable resources into the hands of families with young children while they sheltered in place.

Because we wanted to provide users of all ages with the ability to quickly navigate to needed resources, the app was designed with simplicity in mind. Resources are broken up into 6 categories, allowing users to navigate the page they need in just a few taps:

For further ease of use we included the ability to favorite resources, allowing users to access their most used pages in a single location.

To ensure that the Stay Play Grow app remains a valuable source of resources and information, even after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, we built the application with a CMS that allows the Early Learning Lab team to quickly and simply add and update content as often as necessary.



"Hard finding good resources right now. Very nice that this was put together and presented so clearly. I like that I can favorite things to save for later."
"This app has drastically supported my family, especially during times of COVID. It’s comprehensive and easy to use. There are not only so many activities for my little ones, but also resources for me...thank you for this amazing resource!"

The Outcome

Stay Play Grow was successfully launched in the App and Google Play Stores after three weeks of development, quickly putting the app into the hands of those who needed it most during this difficult and overwhelming time.

To date there have been over 2,000 downloads of the Stay Play Grow app, receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from users.

Super helpful tool - covid resources all in one place. This app makes it easy to find answers to all the questions parents have during COVID. Highly recommend!

Meg Zehn

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