Guest blog: Can your preschool continue supporting the children during the covid-19 outbreak?

The challenge

All over the world, coronavirus is tearing children’s lives apart when the familiar childcare centers go into lockdown. A survey by Save the Children showed that up to 65% of the children struggled with boredom and feelings of isolation. Centers struggle to find new ways to keep the children enrolled and continue learning.

As uncertainties remain, experts suggest that a blended model combining traditional in-class and distance learning will likely be the safe mainstream scenario for the coming months. A preschool or childcare center with a creative approach can in a flexible way adapt rapidly as the situation evolves over time.

Teaching methods for in-class and distance learning should offer the children opportunities to learn all the same things, only now the teaching methods need to be rethought.

Well planned and organized daily activities used in-class or shared by the teachers in distance learning maintain structure and bring routine for the child’s day. Activities should be inspiring, age appropriate and suitably challenging. By linking the activities to learning objectives, each child’s learning path can be followed, and early needs spotted.

Use of new technology is a prerequisite to implement blended learning and to stay connected with the families. Using the same technology also in-class enables a flexible transition to new ways of working – a great advantage going forward.

Enhanced teaching methods for blended in-class and distance learning

To meet these challenges, Kindiedays has together with early childhood education experts studied the new working methods in distance learning. The traditional in-class learning should be complemented with new teaching methods for distance learning to offer the children similar opportunities to learn as in-class.

As a teacher you:

  • Plan the distance learning with pedagogical activities that link to the curriculum objectives. Share the activities and instructions with families in the form of videos, photos, and pdf. You can create own or use external ready-made free activities such as UK based Early Learning HQ.
  • Support the children’s learning in real time with 30-minute live session at a specific time during which parents are asked to be present or nearby.
  • Guide the families to support children’s activities and encourage to observe the children’s learning and share photo and video evidence of the activities.
  • Collect the evidence of learning in the children’s e-Portfolios and map the evidence with the learning objectives achieved. Continue following the learning even from distance.
  • Assess children’s learning and save time in reporting with automatically compiled portfolios and learning statistics for future planning.

The learning objectives should be the starting point for selecting and running the activities

Several Finnish companies provide high quality teaching activities and lesson plans. These are designed for children aged 3 to 6 by experienced Finnish early educators and based on the Finnish Early Childhood Education curriculum and pedagogical approach. Activities can cover all or selected parts of the core learning areas of the Finnish ECEC and follow a theme-based working method to ensure a holistic learning experience for the children. All plans are play-based activities that foster children’s creativity, collaboration and other 21st century skills.

For distance learning all plans should be in digital form and consist of detailed instructions for preparing and conducting the sessions. In-class learning will also benefit from this. With the use of the plans, everyone can conduct professional teaching activities for young children in-class or as distance learning.

A flexible and future proof approach for “the new normal”

Quality digital solution supports collaboration between educators, children, and parents in-class or in distance learning. Kindiedays’ Pedagogical Management Solution has now been enhanced to meet preschool and childcare center needs for both in-class and distance learning to support an optimal blended learning approach.

With Kindiedays you can implement a complete pedagogical process in line with best Finnish practices:

  • Provide activities with learning objectives for in-class and distance learning to maintain a high-quality teaching process.
  • Make observations of children’s learning in-class or with the help of parents in distance learning and link them to the preinstalled curriculum objectives to strengthen children’s learning journey.
  • Compile and share the children’s e-portfolios to keep parents engaged and motivated.
  • Collect learning statistics to further develop teaching and learning.

A preschool or childcare center with a blended approach following the outline above can stay open and offer blended learning, despite possible lockdowns or restrictions for online education.  The center can be flexible as the situation evolves and let the children continue learning whether the center is providing in-class or distance learning.

If you are interested in collaboration with Polar Partners and Kindiedays, please contact us.