There’s been a lot to take in over the past few weeks. A lot of change. A lot of questions.
The good news is, there’s also been a lot of people working to make sure our youngest learners continue to be supported through this period.
Circumstances being what they are, in many cases this equates to school being packaged in printed form and sent home.
While stacks of printed worksheets help us to feel like at least something has been done, and may even be an enjoyed occasional activity for some children, the reality is, if these children are coming from a play-based program, translating that to at-home support is not quite as simple as making a packet of worksheets.
As one teacher communicated to me, the children in her classroom wouldn’t know what to do with a packet of worksheets, and certainly wouldn’t recognize it as something related to their school experience.
“This isn’t what school has been for them.”
But just because a play-based environment can’t be replicated as readily as with a copy machine, doesn’t mean it can’t be brought home.
This is a challenging time. No doubt about that. But there are opportunities within each challenge if we look for them.
While it is challenging to translate a play-based curriculum as quickly as one would translate a worksheet-based one, there is a tremendous opportunity to teach parents about the power of play, and to support them as they scaffold more play experiences in their own homes.
What a wonderful benefit that would be to the children we love and teach!
Here’s how I’m planning to help.
I’ve written a letter to parents, similar to the Why We Play letters, to explain some of the basics of how they can support a play-based environment at home. You can download that letter for free here.
As part of my newsletter, I’ll be sharing simple ways you can guide parents as they support play at home. This will include language you can copy/paste right into your own weekly newsletter or incorporate into your visits via internet platforms. (If you’re not getting the Not Just Cute Newsletter, sign up for that weekly mailing here.)
I’m bringing back Q&A Friday. If you have a question about supporting children and families in these unique circumstances that I can help with, send me an email, and I’ll address as many as I can on Facebook live and Instagram each Friday through April and May.
My hope is that with these supports in place, you’ll be able to help children continue to grow the skills they’ve been building in your classroom all year long, with the added benefit of building a play culture in their homes as well.
I’m hoping that together, we can not only continue to support and promote play in the lives of the children we love and teach, but that we will also be helping their parents see more of the power in play and build the skills and awareness for supporting it at home and in school.
I have been so amazed by the way educators have jumped in to do so much over the past few weeks. Many of you are having circle time or story time via internet platforms. These are a great way to continue to give your children the consistency and community of your classroom routines. Others are making phone calls, writing letters, dropping off surprises, and going above and beyond in a million other ways.
Thank you for being so quick to jump in to help children and their families. It is so inspiring to know that when the world seems to be turned upside down, these little ones are looking at THEIR world and seeing YOU reflecting love and hope and reassurance to them.
Thank you for being heroes.
We’re all in this together.