Virtual Teaching with Young Children

“Virtual Teaching with Young Children ~ Out of the Box thinking for Early Childhood Educators” 

By April Zajko, M.Ed.

3/27/2020  – rough draft form for now! 🙂

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None of us have a page in our early childhood education (ECE) programs about what to do when a worldwide pandemic hits. None of us as schools, whether preschool or higher education, have a detailed plan for what to do when we need to close our program to protect the health and well being of our students or staff. None of us were ready for the cascading events that unfolded over the last two weeks.

So please….do not for one second feel like you didn’t do enough this week to meet the needs of the children or families in your early childhood programs. We each are doing the best we can to figure out how to precede.

It’s the end of week and I promised the participants on my plethora of Zoom Calls entitled “Virtual Teaching with Young Children” that I would create a blog post as a “round- up” of the information and resources I had gathered. My voice is hoarse from all the Zooms, webinars, and Facetimes I hosted and participated in this week. When the WiFi didn’t hold out….we even moved to chatting by landline!

 

I also promised my family I would log off the computer by 5 pm on Friday and would be screen-free on Saturday 3/28/2020. So I am going to keep my word to both my ECE friends and to my family…this is what I have to share so far.

 

*Please subscribe to my blog  www.aprilsteachingtree.com as I will update and refine this post next week.

 

 

Rooted in best practice ~ Guiding Thoughts:

  • There is no such thing as online preschool! These virtual methods are to help serve the needs of our children and the families we support. We will always need high quality early childhood programs!
  • Self care is more essential now than ever ~ please care for yourself first, then parent, then serve as an early childhood educator ~ this sequence is essential!
  • Developmentally appropriate practice – this is the opportunity to share practical, easy to understand ideas for parents so they know how to help their child learn through PLAY
  • Content that we deliver must be play based
  • Nature helps us during times of crisis ~ content needs to encourage outdoor play
  • PLAY is the curriculum in early childhood
  • Even our online offerings should promote the holistic development of children ~ physical, cognitive, and social-emotional. We are growing healthy and happy children and so during a pandemic we need to protect children and PLAY is a powerful way to do this!
  • Worksheets are not developmentally appropriate for preschool age children. Sending home a packet of ‘sheets’ is not the way to provide for families in crisis.
  • If you already sent home a packet of worksheets or are required to continue to send home worksheets….it’s okay. No guilt.
  • Apps do not replace real life interactions
  • Screen time limits are important for preschoolers (link to guidelines)
  • Infants and toddlers should not be on screens (link to research)

 

Virtual platforms are tools that we are learning and implementing but it takes time to learn how to use these effectively.

Live & Interactive Platforms (link to comparisons)

Morning Meeting Model using Zoom (link to Miss April’s video)

Interactive Family Art Lesson (link to Miss April’s video)

 

 

Parental involvement:

Poll for time availability

Inventory access to technology

Clear feedback will help us figure out how to make this work – survey questions

 

Questions and Worries:

 

Children’s Privacy –

 

Equity –

 

Copyright infringement – artists include children’s authors and illustrators; if you are reading a book in a public forum or posting to YouTube be sure you have read information about this (link)

 

 

“What does the research say about Virtual Teaching with Young Children?”

 

Still working on:

 

Schedule of Zoom Q&A calls the week of March 29th:   (will be posted by Sunday evening)

 

Schedule of “April’s Teaching Tree” online trainings that will count for Professional Development hours:  (will be posted by April 1, 2020)

 

This blog post is clearly in draft form….check back next week for a little more polished document! I need to log off and go back to my own family! ((BIG VIRTUAL HUGS))

 

 

 

Resources

  

Watch the video “Working Virtually with Children” that can be found at my friend, Sally Haughey’s website “Fairy Dust Teaching”.  If you are going to offer live group chats (such as Zoom) check out her free printable at the same line, “20 Zoom Activities: Simple and Engaging Activities with Young Children” https://fairydustteaching.com/elibrary/

 “How to Tell Stories to Children” – Brush up on your own story telling skills by watching this   video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ6PRdA14So

Play by Age – ideas for ways to playfully support learning and development The activities are developmentally appropriate for each age category and support multiple domains. https://www.learning4kids.net/

 

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