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Child Care During COVID-19: What are you doing differently?

  • 1.  Child Care During COVID-19: What are you doing differently?

    Posted 12-14-2020 09:58 AM
    Hello NAEYC Colleagues,

    Because of COVID-19, we know that many programs have had to make vast shifts in how they operate. We also know that some of our most impacted children are in low-income communities. Below is an example of how one program is handling the needs of children and families:

    The Maritime Odyssey Preschool: Providing Early Childhood Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Do you have other examples? What are you doing differently? How are you adjusting to the needs of children and families in your communities?

    Tonya Satchell
    Johns Hopkins University School of Education IDEALS Institute

  • 2.  RE: Child Care During COVID-19: What are you doing differently?

    Posted 12-15-2020 07:57 AM

    Good morning! COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC). Due to the closure of many of the Smithsonian Museums in DC, the regular weekday program has moved all online. The teachers have learned a lot about virtual preschool, and you can read about their experiences here:

    I am a part of SEEC's weekend workshop classes offered to young children and their families. Normally, these weekend workshops include lots of hands on exploration and guided play, including a visit to an exhibit at one of the Smithsonian Museums. Our museum visits take us all over, from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to the Smithsonian Museum of American History and even the Smithsonian Zoo!  Most of these museums are closed during the pandemic, so our workshops have moved online too. Here, we grapple with how to make real interactions with individual children in a group "zoom" class. At first, I felt like the workshops would never reach children with the same enriched experiences that fuel learning & development, but soon I was amazed at the resilience of young children, and their ability to "play" & interact on zoom. My fears that the workshops would become passive watching experiences that paled in comparison to TV was completely untrue! Although it is not the same as face to face interaction, we do find connections, make discoveries and build friendships at each workshop!  We grapple with how to keep the pace moving while still giving everyone a chance to speak, and how to make sure each child has household items to experiment with at home for hands on play.  We are very conscious of the different home environments of each child and work hard to create workshops that are sensitive to diverse backgrounds and family cultures. Wonderfully, our preschoolers don't need much more than a box of crayons, paper, kitchen utensils, or some common household recyclables to explore their worlds and have a great time learning!
    My hope is that teachers of virtual preschool are supported to create active, child lead learning times, and don't feel pressure to make preschool time the same passive experience as watching cartoons. After all, even the best educational TV programming is not the enriched interaction that really drives learning & development like play!
    Margro Purple
    Rockville, MD

    Margro Purple
    Rockville MD

  • 3.  RE: Child Care During COVID-19: What are you doing differently?

    Posted 12-16-2020 07:41 AM
    I want to personally thank all the teachers, administrators and families for the brave and diligent efforts to serve our young people. We all know the importance of the early years to future success. It is at this time that having systems in place is essential and nurturing our staff is critical. I want to echo the warning that we need to insure our students are fully engaged, socially, emotionally cognitively and physically. I worry about the teachers that were so passive in their teaching style during in-person instruction, those who threw a video in, played a track instead of singing and moving with their students, who read books in a monotone voice. Please keep encouraging your teachers in their delivery. A lesson from the theater comes to mind, over- animate. Your voice intonation, your movements, diction- they all lose a bit as they travel through space. Move your body and  play BIG.  Thank you, again, my heroes!!

    Carol Moritz
    CLC Consulting and Coaching
    Easton PA

  • 4.  RE: Child Care During COVID-19: What are you doing differently?

    Posted 12-16-2020 09:22 AM
    I have been inspired by reading these responses, thank you for posing the questions!  We were so concerned about offering care during COVID. Of course, health and safety was a top concern, but we were also concerned about social emotional health, program changes due to health and safety, and the overwhelming fear that things could change at any moment.

    As soon as the children entered the doors, many of our fears vanished.  As children often do, the brought joy and wonder back into our lives!  Yes, there were big changes.  Teachers wearing masks, families are not allowed in the building, classes can not combine, sensory experiences are limited.  But everyday we were able to escape from the craziness that was happening outside of our building! We lived for the smiles, the laughter, the questioning and realized that COVID was not stopping these children from growing, learning and developing!

    So, yes, things look very different in some ways, but the important things remain the same!   We are on break until mid January.  My hopes are that we come back rested, restored and ready to great 45 beautiful and joyous children in 2021.

    Everyone keep doing what you are doing...don't give up!

    Elizabeth Huber
    ETSU Little Buccaneers Early Childhood Laboratory Program
    Johnson City TN