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Remote Learning for Pre-K/Daycare

Best Practices

1/24/2022 | Mikhal Weiner

The last few years have been a doozy for all professionals, but there’s no doubt that educators have had a particularly hard time. Whether you’re teaching young learners or trying to help teens make it through another bout of Zoom high school, the challenges are many and varied. 

When it comes to early childhood education, online or remote learning environments may seem especially untenable. After all, so much of early childhood education relies on the interpersonal relationship of a child with the teacher and peers in the classroom. When we imagine preschool or daycare, we imagine storytime or a circle of little ones singing together. What we don’t imagine is little squares on a screen, each with a little, isolated face. 

Nonetheless, remote learning is often not only the best course of action, it can also be a very fruitful and enriching experience. The innovations that educators have pioneered since the onset of the pandemic have taken the online learning experience to a whole new level. If you’re looking for new ways to up your online learning game, you’ve come to the right place. 

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

The first, most important thing to remember is that you’re not learning a whole new career. You’re still you—a teacher and guide to the children in your care. That means that all of the tools you originally had in your toolbox (music, games, interactive play, and so forth) are still at the ready. It may mean that they take on a different form, but your lesson plans can continue to be rooted in the educational philosophy that has always been your North Star. 

Take music, for example. The same songs you shared during Circle Time are still relevant now, and kids can still sing along happily with you on the screen. You can still have your kids take turns leading songs or singing verses. With screen-sharing technology, you can even show images that are relevant to the song content, which can enrich the experience further. The same goes for craft activities, although in this case parents and guardians have to prepare materials ahead of time. As long as everyone has the pipe cleaners or construction paper at hand, there’s no reason why preschool and daycare kids can’t participate in arts and crafts just as they would at an in-person program. 

Not everything has to be on-camera. 

Speaking of arts and crafts and other hands-on learning opportunities, it’s important to recognize that not everything has to be done in front of the webcam. If, for instance, you are doing an activity that would otherwise be conducted in small groups or pairs, it’s fine to tell your kids that they can turn away from their screens, work on the craft, and turn back when done. It can be hard for any of us to maintain composure in front of a screen for long periods of time; it’s even harder for little ones. By building little screen-time breaks into your remote learning lesson plan, you’re making it easy for them to stay involved when you need them to be with you.

Collaboration is key to everyone’s success. 

Even though you may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, you’re not alone in this. So many educators have been thrown into the deep end of the remote learning world and are also learning how to swim in these new waters. While this may sound like awful news, it also means that many other teachers have come up with remote learning strategies that they’re willing to share with colleagues, and new platforms have sprung up to facilitate that collaboration. Teachers Pay Teachers and Education.com are just two such sites where you can find top-notch materials, crafted by other teachers like yourself, and available for a very reasonable fee. If you’re not up to creating a new worksheet or planning a new activity—good news! You don’t have to! Use all the tools out there, including the ones that your colleagues have built. 

Remote learning for preschoolers is a challenge that no one expected to have to manage for this long. That said, it’s not insurmountable. Collaboration and self-compassion go a long way towards getting to the top of the mountain together. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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