Our mission is to empower learners.

How did Prenda start?

In 2013, Prenda founder, Kelly Smith, started volunteering at the public library to teach kids computer programming. In watching them come to Code Club each week and work hard to build cool projects, he realized that 1) learning is a choice and 2) teaching is impossible.

What we mean by this is that you can’t actually teach someone something if they aren’t willing to learn. After seeing thousands of kids make the choice to learn through Code Club, Kelly knew that he had seen the future of education. In 2018, Kelly and 7 neighborhood kids started the first Prenda Microschool. By the fall of 2020, we had over 400 Prenda Microschools and have continued to grow. Good idea, Kelly.
Prenda means “gift” in Portuguese and is similar to the Spanish word "aprender," which means “to learn”. Combining these, the message behind our name is that learning is a gift. Our aim is to remind students and adults alike that learning is an inherently enjoyable human activity. When we allow students to own their education, and connect them with quality learning tools, caring adults, and a community, their natural love of learning takes over and they become unstoppable.

What’s with the funny name?

Our mission is to empower learners

We believe that every human is a natural born learner, explorer, wonderer, and scientist. Our aim is to protect and nurture the natural human desire to learn, progress, and grow. Learners make a choice to see themselves and the world around them in a different way. They know that education is not something that happens to you as you sit through a course–it’s a posture, a way of engaging with the world, and it lasts well beyond graduation. Learners know how to learn.

Start with heart

We see people as individuals with unique talents and interests. We are all humans that need to be loved, not problems that need to be solved.

Figure it out

Everyone has the potential to become a capable problem solver. When we rob students of their struggles, we rob them of their victories.

Dare greatly

We discover our gifts and purpose, then courageously tackle the big goals ahead of us. When the call to action is scary, we embrace the struggle, ask “Why not?” and keep moving forward.

Foundation of trust

Trust is the only way humans can learn and build together. We think about trust in every interaction and do everything we can to increase it. "Am I trusting others? Are my words or actions inviting others to trust me?"

Learning > comfort

It’s tempting to avoid risk, stick with what we know, and hide from new and challenging frontiers. We seek the real learning that comes when we step (or leap) out of our comfort zone.