Thinking Outside the Box: EC Girls Are “Thinking Around the House”

Early childhood teachers had to get creative to keep their young charges engaged while learning from home. Not to mention the challenge of hosting a Google Meet with twelve 2, 3, or 4-year-olds.
The team discussed the best way to continue teaching while serving parents who were now thrust into the uncharted territory of home-schooling little ones. Teachers focused on extending their ongoing teaching goals to the home environment.
 
One idea was a Bingo Card of learning objectives with the categories of Outside Learning, Thinking Around the House, Lots of Conversations, and Multisensory Experiences. Each week, pre-k parents receive a total of 20 objectives.
 
“We chose activities that can easily be incorporated into families’ daily routines. The girls, and their parents, have really stepped up to the challenge.” says pre-kindergarten teacher Lane Clanton. “We focused on items that you have around the house or that could easily be found on a walk around the neighborhood. We encourage parents to choose one activity from each category, but we totally understand that may not be possible. We want to provide some structure and routine for girls and their families in an ever-changing world,” says Mrs. Clanton.
 
Sorting sticks, acorns, or snacks builds fundamental math skills. Stacking paper cups teaches counting, critical thinking and engineering skills. Options for learning letters, included writing your name in shaving cream or creating letters from sticks. Creating art out of “signs of spring” was another popular activity. Bikes and scooters were used for the motor skills activity. Girls are being challenged to learn at home the same way they learn at school, while having fun!
 
Mrs. Clanton says some of the learning objectives were designed as family activities, but distance learning has turned out to be a family affair for the teachers as well. “My girls have seen every room in my house, they also know my husband and my kids from seeing them in the background. In turn, I have met the girls’ siblings and pets. It’s been fun,” says Mrs. Clanton. “Also, we realize parents were suddenly thrust into this role of teacher while they are also juggling working from home. They have been amazing!”
 
The teachers regularly post videos for the girls, and class Google Meets are opportunities for girls to share with their teachers and their classmates.
 
“So much of what we do is the social/emotional side of learning,” says Elizabeth Jordan, early childhood head. “Teachers have daily blogs or posts with specific lessons and supporting activities. The videos of the teachers talking with the girls, that is what is meaningful to our students.”
 
As for learning while dressed as a princess? “I think it just illustrates how easily our objectives have meshed with their everyday lives at home. They can do them at any given time, when it’s convenient for the parents, even in princess clothes!” says Mrs. Clanton.

Learn more about our early childhood program here.
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