About us

Prenda was created to provide kids with a tuition-free learning experience that empowers them to become co-creators of their education. Meeting in homes and other flexible locations, small groups of K-8 students engage in project-based learning, utilize state-of-the-art online tools, and progress at their own pace. These safe and supportive spaces are called microschools. 

We're on a mission to empower learners!



Thriving academically and socially, students discover their purpose and pursue their interests.



Taking place in homes and other flexible spaces, small-group learning is engaging and personalized.



Empowering the next generation of learners, one parent or community member at a time.



Partnering with state-accredited institutions to provide a tuition-free education option.

Prenda students and their Guide jumping to pose for a fun photo outside.A Prenda Guide helping two of her students understand how to put together a project.Prenda Founder Kelly Smith gives a student a high-five while visiting Arizona microschools.A small group of students looking through binoculars made creatively from cardboard toilet rolls and string.Micro school students in Mesa, Arizona wearing matching Prenda T-shirts.Students and their Guide make funny faces to the camera while wearing matching Prenda T-Shirts.

What's with the funny name?

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 invite students, and adults alike, to experience learning as an inherently enjoyable, lifelong human activity. 

September 2013
Students sit together at tables to attend a computer programming club at a public library.

How it all started...

Prenda founder, Kelly Smith, started volunteering at the public library to teach kids computer programming after school.

Pretty soon, this small club was packed with kids working on projects they were truly interested in— collaborating, solving problems, and having a blast. 

Prenda Founder Kelly Smith talks to two microschool students as they work on a project.

The "aha" moment

Seeing his library club students deeply engaged each week, Kelly had a lightbulb moment.

Learning is a choice!

Given a supportive environment, the right tools, and hands-on opportunities to explore, kids become deeply invested in their education.

August 2017
January 2018
Kelly Smith, Prenda Founder and CEO, practices yoga with microschool students in Arizona.

The first Prenda Microschool

This “aha” moment inspired Kelly to consider the future of education and create Prenda. It would be a complete education program for K-8 students.

His vision became a reality when the first Prenda Microschool opened in his home with seven neighborhood students. 

A Prenda learning pod Guide teaches while her students listen intently.

Empowered to guide

As the word spread about the learning journey Kelly and his students were embarking on, interest grew.

The concept of a Prenda Guide empowered many parents and community members to open Prenda Microschools of their own. 

August 2018
September 2018
A microschool student wearing a Prenda T-shirt smiles while walking towards the camera.

A tuition-free Prenda

After seeing so many students thrive, Kelly partnered with a state-accredited institution to make it accessible to more kids.

Students enrolled through this partnership were also eligible for student services, which opened the doors to learners with special needs. 

A growing community

Prenda has continued to expand, with over a hundred employees, thousands of students, and hundreds of Guides across the country.

We’re carrying out our mission to empower learners, one microschool at a time, and are thrilled to continue on this incredible journey. 

Good idea, Kelly! 

Present day
January 2020


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April 2020
June 2020

Our community

Meet Prenda’s community of parents, students, employees, and Guides. We come from different backgrounds and we’ve all had markedly unique experiences. Still, we are united by Prenda's mission to empower learners and our commitment to supporting one another on our learning journeys. 

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