Distance programming during COVID-related closures
Updated July 22th, 2020
CCS classrooms will offer daily distance programming for students during COVID-related closures.
Though we acknowledge that distance learning via screens is not ideal for young learners, we also acknowledge its power as a temporary measure to continue children’s engagement with classroom explorations, support families and caregivers as they seek to continue their child’s learning, and help maintain the relationships formed in school. (Here’s a great New York Times article that addresses increased screen time in the age of COVID.)
The programming we offer will include both synchronous learning opportunities (interactions with teachers and peers in real time) and asynchronous learning opportunities (activities and communication that can be accessed at any time). All activities are planned keeping in mind the sensory and attention capabilities of the children; we strive not to send anything that would be difficult for our learners to interact with or their adults to facilitate.
CCS distance programming includes:
Teacher-led zoom meetings with students for maintaining relationships and connections. Teaching teams use a variety of groupings and group sizes to support teacher-student and student-student connection, including one-on-one meetings, small group meetings, and whole group meetings. The topics of these meetings have include things such as dance parties, show-and-tell activities, and home tours.
Pre-recorded videos with instructional content. Previous video content has featured teachers demonstrating how to dance with scarves; talking about strong emotions that may arise from being temporarily separated from school and friends; demonstrating math skills such as counting and measuring while cooking; and going on imaginary adventures, like a “bear hunt”! Teachers have been able to strategically use video messages to provide an expansiveness with their instruction that can at times be difficult to achieve in person with young learners, such as doing deep and detailed readings of favorite classroom books. You can check out our Children’s Community School YouTube Channel for examples of this content.
Suggested at-home activities that are offered in connection with video content. Bearing in mind that families and caregivers are the ones who facilitate these at-home activities, teachers have offered practical and flexible activity suggestions such as crafting with common household materials and natural materials; movement games and activities to help children regulate their minds and bodies, exercise, and burn off some energy; and connections to online resources that have included virtual trips to the aquarium, child-led podcasts about relevant subjects, and supplementary footage of relevant professionals (in one case, dancers and musicians) demonstrating their skills.
Supportive suggestions for adults in the form of concrete tips for meeting their child(ren)’s emergent needs, such as strategies for helping their child(ren) process big emotions, support for navigating conversations about COVID and Black Lives Matter, and tips on designing a calming space for independent play and exploration.
Teacher-led zooms with adults as requested for general support with, for example, helping their child connect to online programming or identifying behavior management strategies that can be used in the home. Teachers have also offered concrete tips for adults to meet emergent needs, such as strategies for helping their child(ren) process big emotions, support for navigating conversations about COVID and Black Lives Matter, and suggestions for designing a calming space for independent play and exploration.
Off-screen, physically distanced interactions that are left up to teachers’ discretion. At times, depending on the curriculum and the needs of the children, teachers may plan physically distanced in-person activities during closures. In the past examples have included scheduled visits to teachers’ front porches or the school yard; and teachers’ visits to children’s homes to say hello outdoors or deliver supplies for activities.
To supplement our online programming in the 2020-21 school year, children will be sent home with a “learning kit” that will contain materials to be used with online programming, as well as classroom mementos to help them maintain their connection to their classroom and friends.
If you have any questions about CCS’s distance programming, please reach out to CCS assistant director, Naima