We've heard about distance learning for school-aged children and for higher learning, but what about preschools? Some schools are taking their lesson plans to a whole new level.
Teachers at Marley's Preschool in Orange County, California are busier than ever. Everyone is still employed and preparing take-home packets for at-home learning. When the stay-at-home order was first implemented, the director launched a new set of lesson plans for kids ages 2 through 5.
“They prepped crafts, sensory activities, Spanish, sign language, and our music and dance teachers created an at home curriculum,” said preschool director and owner Amber Zaky.
The teachers even sent snacks home with those packets, so their students would have a little something from school. They coordinated individual pick-up times for families to collect their lessons and sent examples through video and songs.
After the first few weeks, Marley's took it a step further by launching lessons and classroom interaction through Zoom.
“These teachers are wonderful,” Zaky said. “They’re with our kids all of the time. They will stay employed no matter what we have to do. We love our families, and we know a lot of parents are working from home and trying to keep their children busy.”
They also like the fact that it helps keep their kids on target.
"We also don’t want to lose the progress that we’ve made.” Zaky explained. “It takes a lot to take a 2-year-old and work with them all the way up to pre-k and keep them learning and on a schedule.”:
Assistant director Veronica Le Rette says the outside playground that brings so much joy is now empty. She says it's sad to see the untouched toys, but Zoom has allowed her to reconnect with the kids whom she knows so well.
"We’ll do similar things to what we do in class,” she said. “We’ll read a story, make patterns, or have discussions. I like to interact with them.”
She also reassures parents that whatever you can do is enough.
“A lot of them think that with all this stuff that went home we’re doing this for hours a day,” Le Rette said. “I remind them we sit down for 15 minutes, so if you can get 10 minutes out of them and if they’re not perfect, it’s not going to be. It’s preschool.”
While a virtual connection may be all they have, they know a reunion will be that much sweeter and stronger when it's granted.