Getting Started with Distance Learning

element5-digital-OyCl7Y4y0Bk-unsplashWhether you are going to survive or thrive in the days ahead starts with how you approach these first few days of school closures. I was in the US visiting family for the Chinese New Year holiday when my school closed. First thoughts were Score. This is amazing! I can stay with my family longer! followed almost immediately by but all my lesson plans are done for February and the materials are already prepared. I don’t want to write new plans on my holiday! The mental pendulum continued to swing in the first week as uncertainty reigned and contradictory and confusing news stories aired around the clock. But, I’m here to tell you from the start of week 7 that it can be done, will be done, and the kids will be alright.

Take a deep breath. And another.

Let’s evaluate the situation.

What assets do you have in this situation?

  • Existing relationships with students
  • Established routines
  • Knowledge of students’ favorite things- favorite books, songs, activities, colors, animals, sports, etc.
  • You know what tech they’ve used for learning or what tech limits you face.
  • Materials and books you’ve sent home already.
  • Relationships with caregivers who will be your new teaching assistants.

You already know so much. Now, it’s just a matter of what to do with your knowledge. For me, step one was to throw out any hope of reviving the lesson plans that were in place, pulling out the curriculum and taking a close look at the objectives that were most manageable to do at home. My learners are 3 to 4 years old, native Chinese speakers, with no technology, but lots of energy and in quarantine with their parents and grandparents.

Your role has changed.

As an early years educator, you’ve spent years learning how to adjust your plans based on the feedback you get from your students in the moment. You’ve differentiated for different groups of kids, worked one-on-one, researched new ideas, and worked to revise until they finally grasp the concept.

Now, caregivers are directing the learning using your guidance. Now you’re the coach, the mentor, and the supervisor who oversees the learning process, offering guidance and support to the adult and helping them understand your educational approach, how to differentiate, and how to enjoy learning with their child. You may never have another opportunity to show caregivers the finer aspects of your educational pedagogy, so don’t squander it now!

You’re moving forward. Keep your assets at the forefront of your planning and provide enough context that your audience of caregivers can be successful at home!

Need more resources? Check out:

300+ Free resources and digital tools for learning

Sample daily packets for Preschool, PreK, TK/DK, and Kindergarten

Comprehensive list of home activities that my grade level has developed for 3-4 year olds. COMING SOON

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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