By Namrata Kulkarni, Classroom Teacher
“I totally agree with you. We need to talk more about this. At the level I teach (Early Elementary, 3-6 yr olds), we have been supporting our families with video calls, helping with setting up routines and talking a lot about how to explain to our little humans about this very unusual time. Before we ended school, we also talked to all our kids about safety and the fact that we are closing so that everyone can be safe and we also acknowledged that it can feel scary and what we can do to make ourselves feel better.
We have surely had kids who just want to see friends too and we have made plans with families to try some video play dates, or talk on the phone or write letters to keep the connection as well as address the emotional turmoil within the kid. I hope more schools spend more time addressing this issue and making sure our families feel supported and loved.
I absolutely agree with you. Your article is so timely during COVID. Considering my classroom students are living in a virtual world (3-6 yr olds), how much screen time should they have has been a very frequent question from a lot of grown-ups. As we have been planning an online curriculum, our teaching team has been talking a lot about how to make sure we don’t over do screen activities for our kids. If they can watch a video and learn a math problem, we have now been recording them ourselves so they see teacher faces and have connections rather than just a youtube video about math. We have also been balancing hands on problem solving with some work on screens, we have been including more fine motor and gross motor activities so those skills can still be honed and we are also making sure that kids spend time interacting with grown-ups or siblings instead of doing a certain task on the computer. It is a very heavy ‘digital world’ right now and it’s important to not forget that we can still make and build connections in other ways. Thank you for your article. I really enjoyed reading it and the research you are doing is really amazing.