Check out our feature in Redfin’s
latest article: “Home Solutions for Balancing Work and Parenting”
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
is not the time to toss out everything we know about developmentally
appropriate practice and play based learning.
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.
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.
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
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
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
With those considerations in mind, here are a few ways
that early childhood professionals are virtually connecting and engaging young
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
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.
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.
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) Rainbow purple Rainbow blue Rainbow green And yellow too Rainbow orange Rainbow red 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! Rainbow purple Rainbow blue Rainbow green And yellow too Rainbow orange Rainbow red 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
Skittle Math 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.
Rolling Rainbows 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.
Rainbow Rice Dye white rice to create rice of each color of the rainbow. Mix all rice together and add to the sensory table.
Rainbow Magic Needed: Whole milk, Food coloring, Clear bowl or pie plate, Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (blue).
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).
Now is the time to get a discount on online child care classes! Enroll now and take the classes whenever you wish! Enter Discount Code: “b19b” at checkout
Click here to enroll
Does not include CDA or CDA renewal classes- Offer expires 12/13/19by
December is time for celebrations for many cultures and lights play a large role in many holidays including:
Christmas- In the past, trees were decorated with candles, which symbolized Christ being the light of the world.
Hanukkah-For eight days , Jewish people light a special candle holder called a Menorah. They do it to remember an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in the temple.
Kwanzaa-It is celebrated in part by lighting a candle holder called a Kinara.
Christmas Lights-Ask children to use colored paint to make thumbprints on the paper and then you can use a marker to draw a line and connect them to look like a string of lights.
Hanukkah Lights-Children can make their own menorah using clay or dough to hold the candles
Kwanzaa Lights-Children can decorate recycled paper tubes to create their own Kinara
tune- “Frere Jacques” Eight Candles, eight candles, I can’t wait, I can’t wait. Hanukkah is here, We celebrate each year. Hanukkah, Hanukkah. Eight candles, eight candles, I can’t wait, I can’t wait. We count the lights, Shining so bright. Hanukkah,Hanukkah.
tune- “Three Blind Mice” Red, green, black, Red, green, black. Kwanzaa’s here, Kwanzaa’s here. The decorations are quite a sight, We light a candle every night, The holiday is filled with light. Kwanzaa’s here