Jess Pablo is an early childhood coach and grade level chair at The Primary School, a non-profit school in East Palo Alto, California, that serves children aged pre-K through grade 3, bringing together education, health, and family support services to support children’s holistic growth. Below are some of the ideas, concerns, and suggestions she shared as her program resumes this year in a mostly virtual learning environment.
With the increased presence of virtual schooling, parents and educators of young children, including myself, are finding themselves stressed. Are children getting the content they need? How do I engage children in learning virtually? How do we help children develop essential skills such as curiosity, attention, and emotion regulation in a virtual setting? In a recent New York Times op-ed, entitled “Kids Can Learn to Love Learning, Even Over Zoom”, psychologist Adam Grant shared ways that teachers can promote curiosity in a virtual classroom. He discussed the importance of including “mystery, exploration, and meaning.”
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
Most kids like arts and crafts. They’re a great outlet for creativity. Ever watch a child finger-paint and see their delight as they make huge swirls and marks with their paint covered hands? Because arts and crafts are fun, they are a go-to activity for teachers, baby-sitters, and parents alike.
We are into our 5th week of school closures in my state and our governor already announced that schools will not reopen this academic year. While it’s true that most districts are sending information home and/or offering online instruction, kids still have more time on their hands than usual. What does all of this mean? It means we have a lot of bored and antsy children on our hands and social distancing means that a lot of kids are not able to spend time with people who aren’t a part of their family, which only makes matters worse.
Children are born musicians. Babies turn their heads when they hear a parent or caregiver sing, toddlers sway to music, and preschoolers dance and twirl around the kitchen (generally when one of their parents is trying to prepare a meal). Elementary-aged children may sit with a tablet to listen to music on their headphones, while older kids may walk around with ear buds permanently inserted in their ears. And what child has not picked up a stick or a kitchen utensil and used it to tap out a beat?
Many of us are stuck at home with children out of school due to the coronavirus. With it came a slew of social media articles with tips, tricks, and activities for “homeschooling” during these times. These activities have been great for getting our kids busy and active during the day, but let’s take it a step further and talk about how to facilitate these activities like a teacher.
Children are used to having a daily routine at school. While your day doesn’t have to follow their school schedule exactly, it’s important to establish predictable activities and routines so they know what to expect. Preparing your child for the day brings normalcy to their life and can help curb anxiety as they won’t feel uncertain about what is coming next.
If your child is away from preschool because of the coronavirus, you might be wondering how you can make the most of this time and support their learning. The good news is, learning can happen anywhere. Even a moment that might seem small to you, like talking with them at breakfast, can help you learn more about how they see the world and encourage reasoning and reflection.