This blog post was written by Liesbeth Van Dael (Thomas More).
A brief blog post for all ECEC professionals who take a step in the dark these days. How to organize some sort of distance learning? Which alternative ways to have contact with your preschoolers now and then?
On the one hand, there are already many existing initiatives that you can use. I would like to give three examples, but there are dozens to be found:
- Langaroo, to stimulate language at home by viewing stories together and discussing questions, in the family’s preferred language. Available in English, Dutch, Turkish, Arab and Polish.
- Hopster – coding safari, to stimulate logical thinking in 3-year-olds
- Sesame Street’s Toolkit with several games, songs, apps to stimulate socio-emotional development
(These examples are good practices, but not research proven.)
The existing offer may bring the preschoolers some pastime, but the direct contact with THEIR teacher or caretaker is still missing. Just as preschoolers are going through a period with many uncertainties, they may feel worried or afraid and you as a teacher can be a reassuring, familiar beacon. Perhaps one of the following ideas is a way in which you occasionally let them know something about you:
- In addition to existing YouTube channels, you can of course also create your own channel on which you regularly post a video.
- Maybe your school has a digital learning platform that you can use in your communication with preschoolers.
- If this is not the case, you can, for example, also create your own Facebook page
- Create a blog: “What does the teacher / master do now that lessons can no longer be given?”
- Send an email with a newsletter especially for your preschoolers. Work with photos, icons …
Think carefully about which medium you choose. The best choice includes an option for the preschoolers to react in some way (with a little help of the parents). This way you will also stay informed about the ins and outs of your preschoolers during these extra “holiday” weeks.
Okay, these are different channels, but what about the content?
- If you have a doll, you can let it go on an adventure. Think about the theme you had been working on (eg Father’s Day, Easter, chicken & egg …) and think of a nice impression that the doll can make for the preschoolers. Make a movie, stop motion, photo diary … and the preschoolers can go out with the doll in their imagination.
- In addition to an impression on the theme, you can also provide activities that the preschoolers can do at home: simple crafts, puzzle games that you can say, fun (digital) books …
- Think of challenges for your class:
- Who will build the tallest tower?
- Who comes up with the craziest gymnastics position?
- Who can make a nice Easter basket?
- Who is the most dressed up?
- Build on the daily routines with the preschoolers. Maybe you can sing the songs of the morning ritual so that preschoolers can listen to them every morning. Or who knows, you record a funny verse, normally used when you walk to the toilets with your class.
- Bundle some educational (free) apps that parents can install. Maybe you use some apps in the classroom that the preschoolers know, but the parents do not. This way you bring a piece of class to the preschoolers.
An important remark
Thanks to all these new digital tools, it has become much easier to keep in touch even during the covid19 epidemic BUT… don’t forget the disadvantaged families.
Think carefully whether you have an email address from all parents to inform them about your initiatives. If not, dare go back to the “old school” method. Bet little Layla or Louis think it’s super nice to find a note from their teacher in the mailbox? The possibilities are slightly less broad, but the connection between preschool teacher and preschooler is at least as great!
Dear ECEC professionals, you are currently in a difficult position, but keep in mind: You are loved! Share with us your ideas and experiences, especially concerning disadvantaged families.