Remote learning at home with young children can be a daunting task. However, remember that the best way for children to learn is to play! Let them PLAY!! Research proves that play isessential to a young child’s development. (Crisis in Kindergarten: Why Young Children Need to Play authored by Joan Almon and Edward Miller, published by Alliance for Children)
Play based learning builds emotional resilience and strength in children as well as enhances confidence. Through free choice play, children gain empathy and impulse control. Play is essential to the children’s development to build emotional strength. Therefore, lots of child-directed play is crucial, now more than ever.
Encourage parents to allow their children to play; to not feel pressured to engage their child with worksheets or technology programs thinking that they are preparing their child for school. Lots and lots of play, not worksheets and not technology games that are simply worksheets on a screen, will provide the foundation of creativity, resilience, engagement and persistence required for later academic learning.
Below if a a free download containing slides regarding the importance of play as well as some ideas and tips on play for parents. Feel free to share one a week to encourage parents to allow their children to engage in play.
Young children flow through the day with a lot less stress and upset feelings when the day is predictable. Young children have a sense of control over their emotions and they feel safe and secure when they know what to expect and what is coming next. In the classroom, we implement a detailed visual schedule. As we finish an activity, we turn over the card listing the activity and discuss the expectations for the next event. The visual schedule becomes an anchor for the children.
Benefits of a home daily schedule include…
allows your child some independence of being able to “read” what comes next instead of always asking you
helps your child transition from one activity to the next
provides a format for him/her to begin to understand that words hold meaning and
assists in avoiding some power struggles and/or behavioral meltdowns. the schedule is the one telling his/her what to do next and he/she can view when something they prefer is coming up on the schedule. You can also use the language of, “When we complete…, then we can ….”
Some tips on how you can modify the classroom daily, visual schedule for your home to provide additional emotional security and predictability for your child.
Your home schedule should be generated as a block of activities (i.e. Morning Routine (wake up, dress, brush teeth and eat); School Activities; Play, etc.) instead of with specific times as we do in the classroom to allow you flexibility
Hold a family meeting either each evening at bedtime or each morning during breakfast and allow your child to help develop the schedule.
Remember that the schedule does not have to be perfect, it is a guide for the day. Life might happen and everything on the schedule might not get done- that is okay.
When it is time to transition to a new activity, ask your child, “What does the schedule tell us to do next?” Allow your child the control of turning over or removing the activity card when it is completed or move a clothespin to the next activity when it is time for a transition.
If your child asks throughout the day for preferred activities such as when he/she can go outside, allow him/her to check their schedule to determine how many more activities before the preferred event.
Children (Prekindergarten and Kindergarten) should be allowed at least one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon for free choice play that does not include any type of technology device. Play does not need a lot of purchased items. Let your child be creative with the use of recyclable materials such as toilet paper tubes, boxes, magazines, etc. Allow him/her to create art items and/or use the items in dramatic play such as a toilet paper tube can become a phone, a one-inch thick wood piece cut from a branch can become a cookie, a paper plate becomes a wheel in the auto shop for changing tires.
Young children learn best through hands-on activities (not from worksheets.) Parents can continue to engage with their children practicing the letters of the alphabet using developmentally appropriate strategies.
Children love their names. Learning will stick with children when we can connect it to something in which they have an emotional connection.
Here is a document to send home with ideas of how to learn the letters of the alphabet by sorting the letters in the child’s name…
Add in some practicing of fine motor skills by providing the child a pair of tweezers to pick up the letters.
During this most unprecedented and challenging time in history, we all want our children to continue to learn and families want information on how to support their children.
However, I am dismayed by the number of worksheets that are being shared and ideas that involve lots of needed items such as pompons, playdough, rainbow mats, different colored Solo cups, etc. Don’t get me wrong- the ideas are very cute but they are also unrealistic for many of our families. Our families cannot travel to purchase these items- they should not be in stores and many cannot afford them or afford even the gas.
So here is an idea to share with parents for learning letters through sorting that uses only letters cut from cardboard food boxes or magazines. I have revised this from a document of ideas that I shared with teachers- I removed the colored background, etc. so that it is easier for you to print for parents if that is needed. It can be printed and sent along in food bags to families.