School in 2020: Advice from a Preschool Teacher
Tell us a little about you: I am entering my sixth year teaching preschool and recently earned my master's degree in Educational Leadership. What are the best ways to help my child get ready for school? This school is going to look different than any other school year your child has attended. This could also be their first time apart from their parent or guardian. Start talking to your child about the positive things about school; seeing friends, playing with new toys, etc. Try to keep the conversation about school positive. In-person? If your child is going to attend school in-person, begin talking to them about the changes they may see and practice wearing a mask at home if your school is requiring them. Online? Online learning will look different than in-person learning. Everyone is still finding the best ways to provide a high-quality education outside of the classroom and meet the needs of every student. Find a place in your house that is designated to school; a desk or kitchen table. What tips do you have for the optimal home learning environment? Many students, especially at the preschool level, may not be able to sit in a chair for the duration of their online learning. Give them the opportunity to move while focusing on their studies. Maybe they stand while listening to the read-aloud. Also, break up the plans given by the teacher. You could literature activities then have a brain break and a snack before moving to math. My child struggles with being online. What do you suggest? Create a schedule for your child to follow and try to add pictures. Reference the schedule throughout the day. Also, your child's teacher is there to help your child succeed, even if they're online. Reach out to them and explain where your child is struggling. What if my child is having a hard time focusing on school work (whether online or with homework)? Do you have any simple tips to start with? Set a timer or a goal for your child to complete before they can take a break. Maybe they work for 5 minutes, then they can do 10 jumping jacks then set the timer again. Start with a small amount of time. For a goal, you could have them answer 2 questions or read 5 pages of a text before taking a break. I am not a school professional. What is the best way to support my child? Keep the conversation about school positive and don't hesitate to ask the teacher for guidance. Also, remember that allowing your child to play and grow their imagination is part of their learning as well. My child gets accommodations and/or modifications at school. I’m worried they will get behind or lost without these services. What do I do? Reach out to your child's teacher. They should also receive these accommodations and/or modifications at home. They will look different than what they would at school, but the teacher can guide you a direction to help meet the needs of your child. How do I talk to my kids about school once it is open for in-person classes? Become familiar with the new protocols for your child's school and talk to them about it. If they are required to wear a mask, start practicing at home. They could wear it for a small amount of time at first, then build that time each day. Talk about the distance they will need to have between them and their classmates. How can parents/caregivers support school professionals during this time? Be patient with teachers, principals, and staff. They are doing everything they can to provide a safe space for your child and themselves. They want the school year to look like previous years but they know the importance of keeping everyone healthy. By talking to your child about what the school year will look like and keeping the conversation positive, you are providing some of the best support for school professionals. What else would you like us to know? Teachers can't wait to see their students, whether that is online or in-person. This school year will be one for history.
- K | Preschool Teacher
K's school asked that we her identity anonymous, but encouraged her to share her voice during this time.