Early childhood educators sharing their knowledge and expertise with families during Covid19
There is no correct answer for supporting families and educators during the Covid19 pandemic. No textbook ever written has prepared us for this situation. It is more important now, more than ever, to support each other during this pandemic in the best way that we can. In my opinion, the best way to support our families and educators, is by sharing our knowledge and expertise for children, and doing what is in the best interests of the children that we care for and educate.
We’re all aware that some children are ‘missing out’ on their preschool year. There are some children still accessing their kindergarten programs, there are some children who are self-isolating at home with their family completing remote learning curriculum, and there are some children who may be cared for by other family members and may not be accessing their current kindergarten curriculum at all.
I think that what some of us are forgetting to appreciate is that children can learn in all types of environments, with or without formal education.
It is our role as educators, to support families and encourage families about all of the learning that may be happening for their children while their children are not accessing the typical kindergarten programs.
In our role as educators, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide parents through strategies to connect with their children through play, and expand children’s social and language development by asking children questions such as: ‘tell me, show me’.
Educators have the gift of being able to a child’s learning when the child is counting the number of carrot sticks on their plate; taking their jumper off independently and putting their jumper in their bag; telling a teacher when they have seen that their friend is hurt or sad; putting objects in categories so that the toy area is tidy before lunch.
Sharing your expertise to families goes way beyond a remote learning pack. You have an ‘learning lens’ that parent’s can really benefit from right now. So ask parents to share photos with you of their child’s day, and make positive comments back to parents about the learning that you can observe in the child’s photograph.
For example, ‘I like how I can see Jack has washed the plastic dishes today. Jack is using his gross motor skills and fine motor skills that will help him develop the foundation for handwriting’. Or ‘Wow, Sally has been outdoors picking flowers today. Please ask her to draw me a picture of her favourite flowers and let me know what colours she saw in the garden.’
By encouraging this style of communication between educators and families, we are spreading our passion of learning way beyond the letters of the alphabet and numbering objects one through to ten.
Many families are feeling really nervous about their child ‘missing out’ on their kindergarten year. I myself are feeling nervous as my daughter is in her 4 year old kindergarten year too this year.
While I can try my best to keep encouraging my daughter to practice identifying shapes, colours, letters, and numbers, it is more important at the moment to do what is in the best interests of my child. It is also important to do what is in the best interests of all three of my children. Numeracy and literacy may need to become a lower priority than my childrens’ social and emotional health, and that’s ok.
Continue to reassure families of what their children are currently learning. Continue to share your knowledge and passion for learning with families via phone and online as regularly as possible.
The foundations of learning will still being laid through indoor and outdoor play and exploration. As children return to kindergarten we can then reset their goals for school readiness as best we can, in the best interests of our children.
For more play strategies view our Early Learning Movement and Play course - https://play-move-improve.thinkific.com/courses/early-learning-movement-and-play-course