Learning Pods for Everyone

Bringing safe, high-quality and affordable small group instruction to children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Launching in Fairfax County, VA, Woodbridge, VA, and Redwood City, CA.
Read our mission statement.
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Designed for working parents

6 hours per day, 5 days per week
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Small pods

5 children per pod, grades K-5
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Affordable

$1300-1650/month, partially or fully waived for qualifying families

Form your Pod

A small, closed group of children, led by a caring adult and empowered by a network of experts can ensure your child has the care, social contact and learning support they need. Available to all families at a cost they can afford.

What’s a learning pod?

A small, closed group of local students are led by a caring community educator, ensuring your child has the educational support and safe social contact they need to thrive.

High Quality Learning Environment

  • Trained & expert-supported community educators
  • Seamless delivery and expansion of your school’s curriculum
  • Enrichment activities tailored to your child
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No Hassle

  • Automatic handling of all legal paperwork between parents and educators
  • Facilitation of pod organization and communication
  • Virtual ‘Principal’ to lead the pod
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Safety first

  • COVID prevention through pod social contract of safety protocols
  • Daily COVID symptom monitoring for all family members
  • Background checks and thoroughly referenced educators
  • Safety evaluation and ongoing monitoring of the physical learning environment
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Why Equity Matters

Making sure pods are accessible to all families is crucial to stop a catastrophic increase in inequality and segregation. By using community educators empowered by our network we are not taking teachers from public schools, and we can make pods much more affordable while maintaining quality. In addition, we provide comprehensive financial aid for those that need it. Finally, we know that all members of the community bring different resources (not just financial). We structure our matching and onboarding to celebrate this diversity and enhance the pod experience. Email us with your thoughts and questions at equity@trustle.com.

How It Works

1

Find your pod

Share some information and we will match you with 4 other families in your neighborhood.

2

Match with a community educator

We’ll match you with incredible, vetted and trained community educators, as well as your physical pod site.

3

Form your pod

We facilitate a two week getting started process to ensure you’re happy with your pod families, and that you start the year confident in each other.

4

Have an incredible school year

Running a pod is like running a small school. We take care of all; logistics, safety, contracts, extra-curricular, leadership support etc… we’ve got it covered.
Get Started

Who we are

We’re a tight-knit team with deep experience in K-12 education, childhood development, and technology, who came together around the issue of supporting parents to create the best learning environment for their child.

Co-founder, CEO
Tom Sayer
Before Trustle, Tom was the head of impact and adoption programs at Google for Education, where his team...
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Co-founder, Chief Clinical Officer
Elizabeth Adams
Elizabeth is a clinical psychologist who specializes in child development, child behavior, and working with...
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Co-founder, CTO
Catalin Voss
Catalin previously developed an AI-based augmented reality therapy for children with autism which is currently pursuing...
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Software Engineer
Michael Ning
Michael is a full-stack developer interested in learning all things interesting. He previously worked at the Wall Lab...
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Software Engineer
Esdras Etrenne
Esdras has a varied background: Having studied art as well as aviation in college, he switched gears into sales after...
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Curriculum Advisor
Peckie Peters
Peckie has been working with young children and their families for multiple decades, including 20 years as...
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Backed by
and a group of experienced venture investors

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost?

Our price varies by location but is between $1,300 and $1,600 a month for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. This makes us more affordable than the vast majority of childcare options and significantly more affordable than other pods. In addition, we offer extensive financial aid that is easy to apply for. If you're not sure you can afford it please apply; you'll be surprised!

Is this homeschooling? Do my kids stay enrolled in school?

Your child is required to be enrolled in a public or private school, and the school is responsible for delivering the remote curriculum. We do not want to remove children from their districts which can lead to defunding districts.

Does filling in the sign-up form commit me to anything?

No. You don't make a full commitment until you've agreed on your family pod. However we ask that you're commited to wanting a pod, as everytime someone drops out, they must be replaced through our matching algorithm which we run only once weekly.

How do I get financial aid?

We are committed to making financial aid accessible and available to all who need it. Simply sign-up here, indicate that you need financial aid, and we'll do the rest. Be prepared to provide income verification.

If school resumes a full time schedule, will pods still exist?

No one knows how and when schools will resume normal activities. In order to ensure that we can hire and pay outstanding community educators, we require a term-by-term commitment up front. Should your school restart you can choose to remove your child from the pod. However, the pod will still be operating even once schools reopen to help children regain lost ground due to COVID, and continue to provide a supplemental caring and enriching environment.

Can we use a pod only a few days a week, or for just half days?

Right now, no. We want to create equitable pods, and for most people that means support full days, five days a week. Once hybrid school schedules begin we will work to support pods with alternate schedules but we cannot guarantee that at this moment.

What are the hours? Is there extended care?

The pods mirror standard school district schedules and run for 6 hours a day from 8.30am-2.30pm. We do not provide extended care, but you may be able to organize something informally with your pod families who you will quickly get to know.

Can both of my children be in the same pod (they are different ages)?

Absolutely! Just tell us that you have more than one child in the sign-up process.

Will school buses pick up my child?

No, but during the matching process you'll be able to indicate how far you can travel and we'll only match you within that distance.

Will lunch be provided?

No. Parents have different preferences and children have different needs and so we ask that children bring their own lunch. School districts are expected to continue to provide lunch for students who receive school-provided lunches.

Other questions?
Email support@trustle.com or text (650) 275-5966
How do I know that I'll be matched with people who take COVID as seriously as I do?

During the sign-up process we assess your COVID risk, your COVID behavior and your COVID tolerance.  We then match families into pods based on that assessment, while also accounting for diversity and equity. If any coccerns arise in the matching process, a family can reenter the matching pool.

Balancing COVID safety and equity is a challenge; the people who are keeping our society operating may have no choice but to leave the house and we don't believe they should be penalized for that. We therefore encourage people to think deeply about their own risk and commitment to equity.

Why are your pods only groups of 5 children and not more/less?

After speaking to parents, experts, and teachers we believe five children is the right number to balance safety, effective teaching, and socialization.

If we already have a group of 5 children, can we still join Trustle?

Yes. If your group has five children total then you've got your pod! if your pod is incomplete we will add additional children to ensure equitable groups.

How does matching work?

Our matching process works to maximize four things:

  1. COVID safety
  2. Location
  3. Age (and ideally school)
  4. Socio-economic, racial and cognitive/physical diversity

You'll have a say in our matching process, and can always opt out.

What if I don't like my matches?

All families should feel confident and safe with their pod matches. We facilitate a thoughtful and thorough post-match "get to know you" experience so that families can get to know each other. If needed, a family can reenter the matching pool at any point.

Can both of my children be in the same pod (they are different ages)?

Absolutely! Just tell us that you have more than one child in the sign-up process.

Do all children in the pod have to be the same age?

No. We believe that small groups with children of multiple ages creates a wonderful community and learning experience. We do however try to keep the ages within 2 years of each other when possible to allow age approriate activities.

Other questions?
Email support@trustle.com or text (650) 275-5966
How do you ensure COVID safety?

We know this is a main priority for you, and it is for us too. We require that all families adhere to federal and local safety guidelines. Furthermore, families in each pod will sign a social contract which will outline rules around COVID risks that each family will comply with. Families will login to the Trustle app daily to confirm social contract adherence and complete a daily symptom check.

What happens if someone breaks the social contract?

Parents login to the Trustle app daily to confirm adherence to the social contract; a simple but very effective tool. If anyone has violated the contract for any reason, we require the child receive a negative COVID test before returning to the pod.

How, and how often, do you monitor symptoms?

We monitory symtoms every day. Before arriving at the pod, families login to the app daily to confirm adherence to the social contract and that no one in their household has any COVID symptoms. If the social contract has been broken or a family member has symptoms, the child cannot come to the pod until they have received a negative COVID test. Additionally, community educators conduct daily non-invasive temperature checks for all children.

What are the COVID safety protocols in the pod?

One of the primary goals of the pod is to allow positive, social learning environments for younger children. We therefore do not require masks and physcial distancing within pods. Instead, we ensure strict adherance to the pod's social contract and daily symptom monitoring. We also ensure safe entry and exit of the learning environment, regular cleaning, and - for some pods - an outside learning environment.

What happens if a child in the pod gets exposed to COVID?

If there is a known outbreak of COVID (as shown by a positive test, or COVID symptoms in any household) the pod will shut down. In the event of a COVID positive test: the pod will remain closed for a minimum of 3 days while families undergo COVID testing. The pod may then reopen for those who can show a negative test result. In the event that a member of the household is symptomatic: the pod will shut down until that individual has shown a negative test result or, if positive, will follow the procedure described above.

How do you make sure the pod is safe? (not related to COVID)

Physical space: All spaces are virtually inspected to meet the California family daycare standards, and community eductors conduct confirm standars via an in-person inspection. In addition, each parent will be invited to see the space before the pod begins.

Community educators: all community educators are background checked using LiveScan fingerprinting, referenced by three professionals, and CPR certified.

How do I know that I'll be matched with people who take COVID as seriously as I do?

During the sign-up process we assess your COVID risk, your COVID behavior and your COVID tolerance.  We then match families into pods based on that assessment, while also accounting for diversity and equity. If any coccerns arise in the matching process, a family can reenter the matching pool.

Balancing COVID safety and equity is a challenge; the people who are keeping our society operating may have no choice but to leave the house and we don't believe they should be penalized for that. We therefore encourage people to think deeply about their own risk and commitment to equity.

Do you do background checks on community educators?

Yes. We use LiveScan fingerprinting and background checks, alongside reference checks and interviews to ensure that your community educator is a safe, caring adult who will create an outstanding learning environment for your child.

Other questions?
Email support@trustle.com or text (650) 275-5966
What does each day look like?

Each day will begin with your child's school curriculum. In addition, the community educators will provide supplemental enrichment activities that focus on social and emotional development, the 4Cs (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication), and fun. It's been a rough year, we want children to be excited to go to their pod each day!

Will Trustle implement my child’s school curriculum or it’s own curriculum?

Children will follow their remote school curriculum. We are not trying to replace schools, but rather support schools during this challenging time. We do, however, offer supplemental enrichment activities designed to foster creativity, collaboraiton, communication skills and critical thinking, as well as social and emotional development.

Who is the community educator?

Community educators are vetted and referenced, caring, intelligence adults with a love of working with children. While they are not credentialed eductors, they will complete an initial training course and will be paired with an expert educator (mentor) who has extensive experience in the classroom and will help their community educator create a stimulating and caring learning environment for your child.

What's your education philosophy?

Academically, pod children are still part of their school and will follow the education philosophy of that school. Outside of academics, Trustle believes that all children are wonderous and capable, and that the learning environment should be built for each individual child's needs. We prioritize learning experiences that enhance socialization and activities that excite and inspire children's curiosity. We want our students to be excited to come to the pod each day to learn and socialize in a safe environment.

If school resumes a full time schedule, will pods still exist?

No one knows how and when schools will resume normal activities. In order to ensure that we can hire and pay outstanding community educators, we require a term-by-term commitment up front. Should your school restart you can choose to remove your child from the pod. However, the pod will still be operating even once schools reopen to help children regain lost ground due to COVID, and continue to provide a supplemental caring and enriching environment.

My child doesn’t have a computer - will Trustle provide one?

The vast majority of school districts ensure that all children have access to a computer. If you don't have one, we are confident, though cannot guarentee, that we can help you access a computer.

Other questions?
Email support@trustle.com or text (650) 275-5966

Get started today

FORM YOUR POD