With the recent development of the COVID-19 disease, authorities are officially requiring schools and childcare providers to close temporarily to enable social distancing. It can be an isolating time, but it doesn’t have to be!
Here are some ideas on how to keep your childcare community connected as we stay home to slow down the spread of the virus.
Create Group Chats For Classes
Create online spaces that people can log onto to chat with members of your community – teachers, administrators, and parents. This will provide everyone with a place to check-in and socialize with each other while at home and function as a virtual classroom.
How you organize this is completely up to you. Some ideas are:
- Forum-style where parents can ask questions.
- Start the day with an inquiry or a theme so that families can follow along at home.
- Encourage families to share progress pictures of what they are working on today.
This creates a support group which is especiaally helpful for parents who may be feeling really out of their element! This also empowers your teachers to share their tips and tricks with everyone.
A place to share, ask questions and feel connected can help keep your community engaged and involved during lockdown.
Organize Virtual Meetups
Just like socializing in person, blocking off some time to “meet up” online could be a fun way to get everyone together. Set an intention for each meetup so that it has a focus and dedicated time. You can even extend this to the general childcare community and involve the cook or the bus driver so that they feel included!
Here are some of the most popular group video chat tools you can use to host a virtual meetup for free:
Some fun ideas for meetup themes are:
- Logging on for lunch together.
- Show and tell so the kids can show off their work to their friends just like in class.
- Virtual circle time to check in with everyone’s feelings.
- A reading circle.
- An online dance party.
The options are endless and you can get really creative with them! Maybe even ask your parents for ideas and they might surprise you.
Adding a fun spin to connecting online while learning can keep your families engaged with you and your staff. It’s a great way to support everyone and combat loneliness (and cabin fever!) that some might be experiencing.
Always Have A Plan
The biggest thing that childcare providers can offer to families is your expertise in working with children. Those hours of prep and thought put into planning transitions and activities – that’s the stuff that can be game-changing for an overwhelmed parent with one or more children at home!
Send out your activity plans with links to resources and an overview of the developmental domains that the activity focuses on. Encourage your parents to give you feedback or ask questions about them. This will keep the dialogue going and can really enrich your relationship with the families that you work with.
Check out how this center is keeping up with their learning and development by calling on its community!
How is your center staying connected with families? Are you already doing these things? Is there something that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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