Teaching kids who speak different languages and come from different backgrounds presents learning barriers in the classroom. With more than 50% of U.S. children being minorities, ABSee Me Founder and former teacher Christina Spencer saw a need to create different educational tools that represent brown and Black individuals.
“During my time as a teacher it was really eye-opening the different cultural gaps that existed and the huge need for more diversity when it came to educational resources,” said Spencer.
ABSee Me’s educational tools include products like puzzles, Black history flashcards, and memory matching games, all featuring Black and brown faces. Spencer found kids learn more effectively when they see a representation of themselves. The toys also include educational guidance for parents and caregivers on how to make the most of the resources.
“My last few years I had a class full of English language learners,” said Spencer. “I really spend a lot of my time creating things to make my kids feel seen in the classroom, make them feel like they are a part of our classroom community, and making the learning and the things that we we’re doing relatable to them. There’s lots of research that shows that when you can connect to a child’s background, it goes a long way with kids.”
With a master’s degree in early childhood education, Spencer worked abroad in Abu Dhabi teaching second grade. The school curriculum was American-based and used tools based on American culture.
She found herself teaching her students things they didn’t understand because it was not related to their culture.
“It’s really interesting to see when you’re teaching kids things that have no meaning to their lives and how it’s not important to them,” said Spencer. “I was spending a lot of time creating new activities and new resources that I can use with them that are more relatable to their lives and you can really see the lightbulb.”
Spencer started ABSee Me in 2021 after leaving her 10-year career in education. COVID gave her the free time she needed to go over her business plan and focus on what tools make learning relatable to all children.
As a full-time business owner, she has gotten positive feedback from her customers about her educational tools helping students learn in the classroom. A few teachers in New Albany’s school district purchased some of ABSee Me’s Black history flashcards and used them with the kids.
“I saw really great things that they did with them and with those kids,” Spencer said. “It was great just to see them being used in the classroom today.”
Spencer plans to launch a back-to-school line that will be coming out this summer. The line will include more diverse character classroom tools for teachers to make sure all their students feel included. With many ideas for the business, she also plans to develop more educational resources for higher grade school learners in the future.
“I have so many things that I think would really resonate with people and that people would be really excited about,” said Spencer. “I’m trying to reach as many kids as I can to help them learn.”
ABSee Me’s products are available online, but Spencer has been having conversations with schools to get her products in classrooms, along with retail stores to sell to parents and caregivers.
“It’s definitely possible! I come from a family of teachers, my passion for teaching has kinda evolved over time now that I have this opportunity to spread what I know and to help empower parents and caregivers, to help their kids develop these important skills,” Spencer said.
For more information, visit abseeme.com.