Today starts the 2nd week of our home learning program and, after 3 groups a day for 5 days across 5 classrooms, we have noticed some common worries among the families. I get it; home learning is challenging and can be overwhelming when you look into the camera and realize that if you can see all of the other parents and children. Because of the communal nature of home learning, it can be tempting to start comparing your child to the other children in the classroom or to worry that the teachers are placing judgements on you. So let’s take a minute to breathe and acknowledge these feelings. Parenting during a pandemic is really hard and you are doing the best you can! Our preschool program is designed to support the entire family, not just the children, so here are some tips while we are learning at home and on Zoom.
Tip number 1: Young children are not meant to sit still. They are built to move and the movement is important to their learning process. When children join us for zoom playtimes and discussion, we expect to see them swaying side to side, wiggling, standing up, sitting on the floor. Sometimes they may even walk away from the iPad and that’s okay! If the volume is on they will still be able to hear and they will come back when they are ready.
Tip number 2: Let your child explore the materials on their own. When we introduce a project or an activity we do not expect everyone to complete the tasks the same way or to end up with the same product. Is your child’s class exploring art materials, but all your child wants to do is squeeze the glue bottle? That’s okay! They are learning about cause and effect and are strengthening those fine motor skills. Is your child cutting the paper into a bunch of small pieces instead of following a line? That’s okay! They are still practicing using the scissors.
Tip number 3: Don’t compare your child’s progress to another child in the class. Every child develops on their timeline. The teachers are trained to recognize and support each child’s individual development and will assist you in helping your child move to the next milestone. The classrooms are also mixed age so there will be children who are older and younger than your child and that means they will be at different developmental levels. If you are worried that your child isn’t able to complete a task, tell the teachers and they will be able to tell you more information about your child’s individual level and how it relates to the early learning standards.
Tip number 4: Become familiar with the family activity lessons we send home each month and the early learning standards to go along with each activity. Knowing what skills and developmentally appropriate and expected in preschool will help you develop realistic benchmarks for your child’s progress.
Tip number 5: Have fun! We are at a unique time in preschool education where parents and teachers are able to work even more closely together and parents are able to have daily glimpses into their child’s classroom. Enjoy this time and laugh at the silliness that happens when 20 tiny humans all learn to unmute themselves on Zoom at the same time.
Hang in there, parents! The preschool is part of your parenting village and we are here to support you. -Ms. Megan