Here is a review of the top child care news stories that we featured in our newsletter in 2020
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Check out our feature in Redfin’s latest article: “Home Solutions for Balancing Work and Parenting”
If you thought never in a million years you’d be sharing your office space with your children, think again. The spread of COVID-19 is forcing parents to work from home while helping their oldest manage remote school and coordinating who has diaper duty for the youngest.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the around-the-clock attention your kids demand and the never-ending emails, you’re not alone. Parents all over the country, from New York to Portland, are feeling the same struggle. I was asked to share one of my best tips to help you find creative home solutions for working from home and parenting. Check out what I had to say!by
By Rachel Reid
Life as we knew it is now a distant memory. With the shutting of schools, I have constantly been in a state of processing my thoughts and feelings about this new world we are living in. On one hand, especially for an introvert like myself, it’s freeing and relaxing being told to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. I get to spend time with my kids and puppy. I’m home to actually work on my house and cleaning efforts. And I finally have time to do some of my favorite things: writing, gardening, and doing fun projects (like online videos for the toddlers I teach). On the distant other hand, everything is unclear, unpredictable, and somewhat terrifying. Feeling lonely has never sunk as deeply. And being a single mom of a teenaged daughter and a preteen son is alienating and challenging at best.
Then, there’s this new entity that we’re trying to create as an emergency knee-jerk reaction to schools closing. Online preschool. As a toddler teacher, I fully endorse the benefits of group care for both providing supervision for working parents, but also for building language, social and emotional skills. In my line of work, the norm is to strive to always reach higher goals in our own practices. So I also fully embraced online teaching when I was told that schools were closing. This was my way to continue to bring that quality care to the families I work with.
That was at first, when I was still in the metamorphosis phase of staying at home due to COVID-19. The honeymoon phase, in which my schedule flowed with my family’s needs, pressures and deadlines were temporarily lifted, and people were communicating and supporting each other in local communities in ways we never had before. I don’t exactly know what phase to call right now, but the honeymoon has definitely worn off. As schools around the country scramble to provide online education, it brings a lot of questions with it. What is important to be teaching children in a time like this? What are the main goals of education overall, and how can we deliver these outcomes through distance learning? I still don’t think there’s a consensus. But while we’re all still figuring it out, I am appreciating the conversations and debates that are popping up everywhere. And at the same time, being a preschool teacher puts me in the category of people who stand to benefit more from unemployment than working full time.
Now that I have applied for unemployment, I feel a bit more comfortable in my “volunteer” status of working. I am still meeting with coworkers and students in Zoom a few mornings and afternoons a week, as well as staff meetings in evenings (after teachers with young children have put their kids to bed), and making videos inspired by Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street for my students. My role as a mentor for amateur teachers has continued, though I feel more like a television producer than a teacher. Convincing adults to talk to puppets, to record the world around them, to look at everything as a teachable moment, has brought life to our videos. We are all very hopeful that our online classroom is supporting parents in this time, rather than overwhelming them. I’m looking forward to updating my resume to include my new technological skills!
I miss the hugs. The genuine curiosity. The unabashed silliness. The magical face-brightening smiles. I miss the children. And I miss their families. I miss the routine of reminding children to hang up their coats in their cubbies, come into the classroom, wash their hands, and begin to engage in an activity that would then spark discussion, thinking, learning. I miss teaching. Performing is not exactly my strong point, but to reach the children I miss so deeply, I will follow in the footsteps of Fred Rogers and Jim Henson, my lifelong heroes, and provide respectful quality educational videos: the preschool of the times.by
In a rush to convert preschool and pre-k programs to online classrooms, we must not lose sight of developmentally appropriate practice. So many programs are requiring their teachers to continue virtual teaching on the internet. Google rooms and Zoom are increasing in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that we should limit screen time for young children and yet the trend seems to be to slip back to using worksheets and asking children to be more passive in watching videos or presentations.
Now is not the time to toss out everything we know about developmentally appropriate practice and play based learning.
Using technology with young children is not a black or white issue. Used thoughtfully, technology can be a great tool. Turning to apps like Zoom and Google rooms that have long been used for secondary and adult education should not mean that you have to use them in the same manner.
Remember, we know that young children learn best in relationship based care practices. Stated simply, relationships are the “active ingredients” of the environments. We can promote connections and relationships in a virtual setting.
In his article, Beyond Screen Time: Better Questions for Children and Technology in 2020, Chip Donahue asks,” What are the implications of children using technology tools that were designed for adults? “He lists these important considerations:*
- Old theory informs the use of new tools. The work of Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, B.F. Skinner, Seymour Papert and Howard Gardner, remind us that even as the tools, technologies and context changes rapidly, child development remains constant.
- Relationships matter most. Fred Rogers taught us that it is not about the technology, it’s about relationships. Educators and parents can select and use interactive media that invites and encourages interactions with others, promotes social emotional learning, enables co-viewing and joint engagement.
- Early childhood “essentials” are always essential. Play, open-ended materials and manipulatives, large motor activities, time outdoors and social interactions are just as important in the digital age as ever. Educators and parents can avoid displacing or replacing essential early childhood experiences with screen-based technologies. It doesn’t have to be either/or.
- Proper pedagogy complements technology tools. Young children need support to become makers, media creators and digital storytellers, STEM learners, computational thinking and coders.
- Technology-mediated family engagement and nudges work. Use tools to enhance family engagement and relationships, help families keep in touch at a distance and strengthen parent-child interactions.
With those considerations in mind, here are a few ways that early childhood professionals are virtually connecting and engaging young children.
- Start out by just letting them see their friends and their teacher. Give the children ample time to explore the new technology. For your first few times, you may allow them to talk and play around.
- Most programs require that a parent is in attendance with the child at all times.
- Just like in a classroom setting, small groups are better, shorter duration is better. Some programs split their group into smaller group groups of 4 or 5 children for a 10 minute session rather than meet with 20 children for 30 minutes or more.
- Once you start any structured time, you may find it helpful to mute children until you wish for them to interact.
- Make sure each child has a time to talk, demonstrate or share at least once.
- Keep it simple, a greeting song, a story and an interactive movement activity or game may be plenty. Just remember not to let it turn into a show and tell on your end.
- You can send along a list of materials and directions for parents if you wish to try to do a craft of project together.
- Be creative and ways to engage and interact. Have a virtual picnic or tea time together.
- Encourage them to get up and move, share a yoga pose or try a short workout routine. Perhaps, Have a dance party
- There are some great virtual field trips that you can share.
- One popular activity is scavenger hunts. Asking the children to find and show the group what they found.
Check out our online class: Staying Connected Online Class
*Used with Permission , Entire Article is here:
For Further Readingby
How will your child care program respond to the Coronavirus? What should you prepare? How can you best protect the children and families? Here are some resources and links when responding to Cornavirus in your child car program.
Remember, if you are unable to go to a conference or training event, online training is just the thing for you!
EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS CLOSURE AND DISMISSAL DURING A NOVEL CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK –
Technical Guidance for Child Care, Head Start and public and private Prekindergarten Education Programs
Find out what the national standards of care are for Health Promotion and Protection when responding to Cornoavirus in your child care program. Learn more about hand washing, sanitizing, daily health checks and more.by
March is a great time to learn about rainbows! St. Patrick’s Day includes the symbol of the rainbow for finding the pot of gold. March is also a good time to do a theme on weather, rain and rainbows.
Rainbow Songs and Fingerplays
Rainbow Song (Tune: Hush, Little Baby)
And yellow too
Rainbow shining overhead.
Come and count
The colors with me
How many colors
Can you see?
1 – 2 – 3 on down to green
4 – 5 – 6 colors can be seen!
And yellow too
Rainbow shining overhead.
Oh Rainbow (Tune: Tune: O Christmas Tree)
Oh rainbow, oh rainbow,
How lovely are your colors.
Oh rainbow, oh rainbow,
How lovely are your colors.
Purple, red and orange, too,
Yellow, green and blue so true.
Oh rainbow, oh rainbow,
How lovely are your colors.
Rainbow Math and Science
Have a jar filled with Skittles. Let children estimate how many Skittles they think are in the jar. Sort and make patterns with the Skittles.
Make a Rainbow
Cover the end of a flashlight in painters tape leaving only a slit, for light to shine through. Place a handheld mirror in a bowl of water. Shine the light onto the mirror through the water. Hold a white piece of paper to catch the reflection and it will look like a rainbow.
Fill clear plastic soda bottles with water and put mosaic tiles in them. Allow children to roll the bottles and watch the rainbow colors swirl.
Dye white rice to create rice of each color of the rainbow. Mix all rice together and add to the sensory table.
Needed: Whole milk, Food coloring, Clear bowl or pie plate, Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (blue).
Pour the milk in the bottom of the dish enough to cover the bottom. Add a few drops of food coloring randomly. Put a drop of Dawn on each color or on the side of the dish near each color. Watch! Although you cannot see it, milk contains fat that do not mix with the watery food coloring. Whenever the dishwashing liquid touches the milk, it breaks up the fat which then spreads out. This allows the food color and milk to mix. It will continue on for quite a while. The children can leave and come back and it still will be in motion. The children will find this amazing & some children will watch for a long time. (Be sure to use BLUE Dawn Dishwashing Liquid).
Here is a recap of the top child care news stories in 2019. The most common topic was about limiting screen time for young children
- Early Childhood Teachers Play Vital Role in Helping Kids Cope With Disaster
- Is Preschool Really Worth It? New Research Says Yes
- Preschool teachers ask children too many simple questions
- Childcare workers make less than Amazon delivery drivers, on average
- High amounts of screen time begin as early as infancy
- Math Looks The Same In The Brains Of Boys And Girls, Study Finds
- Study highlights power of play
- A ‘million word gap’ for children who aren’t read to at home
- Autistic children more likely to be involved in bullying
- Rhythmic Moves Helps Kids’ Self-Regulation
- How ‘knowing less’ can boost language development in children
- Physical activity during lessons can boost learning
- How does playing with other children affect toddlers’ language learning?
- Can Too Much Screen Time Hinder Child Development?
- Preschool for children with disabilities works, but federal funding for it is plummeting
- New rule requires lead testing at licensed N.C. child care centers
- Survey: More than half of Americans are paying for summer childcare with credit cards
- More Green Spaces in Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood
- 5 Facts To Know About Child Care in Rural America
- Locking up guns could reduce teen and childhood firearm deaths by a third
- Fraud report shapes Minnesota’s child care shortage debate
- Wisconsin child care centers face worker shortage