When we seek connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other. -Margaret Wheatley
Dear Colleagues and Friends, How are you? How is this world of online distance learning affecting you, your students and their families? What do you hear from your students? Are you able to connect with all of them? Are you able to connect with one another?
I have heard from so many of you over the course of the last month. There are stories of frustration with technology. Sadness and understanding that only 6 out of 20 kids are able to participate online through live Facebook pages and Google Classroom. Teachers share that they get texts from families or receive emails but no one has 100% participation. Districts are mailing out packets with school work and art supplies at lunch pick-up sites as well as offering childcare on-site for essential workers. One Superintendent shared that at 6 lunch/foodbox dispersal sites, they are serving about 100 families a day at each site. There is a tremendous need out there only growing more each day.
If you have heard from your students, what do you hear? What do your successes look like both small or big? What is helping in moments of being overwhelmed? What do you still need?
Education is an act of love, and thus an act of courage. -Paulo Freire
You are finding numerous ways to use technology to connect with and provide support for families. For many of you, the learning curve has been steep but rewarding as you seek to learn and use technology in ways that feel authentic to children and family members.
- Facebook live feeds, Youtube channels, Zoom chats, Google Meets where teachers do read alouds, sing songs, play games, have morning circle.
- Using Seesaw and Remind Apps or Spark Video tools to connect with families and post student work that children and families submit online. I’ve seen videos that families send in of their child singing a familiar song, or a drawing they did at home that they want their classmates to give them feedback on.
- Teachers sending out surveys to ask families what is working best for their family’s situation.
- Inviting parents or caregivers to post invitations they have tried at home.
Teaching Preschool Partners has been offering Family Explore Videos and Resources to our affiliated districts. Each Family Explore Suite focuses on a particular area of focus (Line, Color, Texture, etc.) and includes a video along with a simple family information sheet and some additional activity extensions. The suites are designed to connect with everyday experiences and opportunities. Families do not need to own or purchase special materials to engage in the explorations with their children. The Family Explore suites are an incredible resource for parents and for teachers seeking to put together integrated learning opportunities.
Melinda from Prescott Teaching Preschool and Joelle from Shaver Teaching Preschool in the Parkrose district made online google doc slideshows with photos of their kids and the things that they did at school together including a story about how all of the kids in the classes
were staying at home to stay safe. It was an incredible resource for the children to see their classroom lives reflected back!
Joelle also found a simple story to help young children understand the coronavirus and why the stay at home protocols help keep us safe and healthy.Oyster and The Butterfly: Online Picture Book to help explain Covid 19
The photo below comes from the PreK classroom at Oregon Episcopal School. The teachers, Kimie and Carole, invited their students to wonder about the birds they might see outside over the course of the month. One of their students sent in photos of a surprise bird nest found in a rarely used bike helmet!
Katy and Sharon at Waverly Child Development Center shared this invitation with their students: Before school was cancelled in March, sticks were a theme in our class. Collect some sticks together and see if you can create some letters, words, numbers, or designs.
Working with teachers across the region, Erin Moulton from Teaching Preschool Partners created a page of various online resources for Prek and K largely inspired by the Prek Team at OES. You can view the link here.
A Poem For You from Margaret Wheatley This is an amazing site, and a resource for older children. I wanted to share it as I think it is a beautiful example of how teachers can also foster connection, and as a way for you to also read Margaret Wheatley’s poem for yourself.
Let’s make our own collection of resources! We’d love for you to reach out to us and we will include your story, ideas, and challenges here to support one another! Let’s remember how necessary we are to each other!