Distance Learning is a Team Effort– Teaching During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered schools across the country, teachers have transformed their plans in every way in order to provide continuous learning for their students. Trinity’s preschool team has responded to this change with communication, ideas and  resources for parents. Although this message is written for parents of youngsters, its message is relevant for parents of all ages…

 

Dear Parents,

We are working hard from home to provide you with appropriate content and to keep our curriculum running–albeit in a different way than we all expected.  We are learning new things and trying new strategies everyday. Some work better than others. Please understand that this is as new to us as it is to you.  Have patience as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

 

One thing we are hearing from parents is a desire for a schedule.we want to assure you that we do NOT expect you to replicate an entire school day while at home.  Working one-on-one with students is much different than working with a classroom full of students. Your child will probably complete their daily assignments at a faster pace when working one-on-one with you at home, and there will be less time needed to transition from one activity to another.  That means your school day will be shorter, which is perfectly fine! Even when we are at school we take “brain breaks” to allow children some down time. Worksheets and flashcards are okay once in a while, but it is not “best practice” to have 4-5 year olds sitting at a desk all day and moving from one structured activity to another.  We do not do it at school, and we would not want you to do it at home.  

 

Use snack and lunch times to teach.  We do it every day at school. You can count, compare, and sort your snacks.  You can make patterns. Or you can just talk and make connections to things you’ve been learning.  Use these times to model good manners such as sitting down while eating, chewing with your mouth closed, taking turns to talk, and cleaning up after yourself.  Some of our best interactions at school happen during snack and lunch!

 

All of that being said, we want you to plan to have some time during your day where your children are just “being children.”  Allow them the opportunity to explore things on their own, experiment and socialize. If your child has a sibling, encourage interactions between them, and try not to  direct things for them. Children need time to play freely and use their verbal skills and problem solving skills on their own.  

 

If your child does not have siblings, learning to play independently is important too.  While you can sometimes be your child’s playmate, be sure that when you are, you are teaching and modeling appropriate and realistic social interactions.  For example, do not always let your child go first or win at a game. That is not how things work in the “real world,” so let them learn that now. When playing with your child, allow for your child to be uncomfortable with new things and do not rush in to fix problems for them or make things easier.  Children need to learn how to handle frustrations appropriately and navigate obstacles independently.  

 

We are all learning those same lessons ourselves, aren’t we?  This distance learning situation comes with some obstacles. We are trying to navigate through them with our families as well.  Be patient with us, and just as importantly, be patient with yourselves. We will figure our way through this together.

 

Mrs. Lebel and Mrs. Topping are the Pre-K teachers at Trinity Lutheran School.

The Building is Closed, But the Learning Continues– Trinity Goes Digital

Trinity teachers are engaging in online instruction now through March 27 in response to the coronavirus health crisis. This is a whole new world for some of our faculty, while for others (mostly upper school teachers) digital tools have been part of the curriculum for some time already.

So, how did we get here? As usual with Trinity, our community of support is strong and constant. Immediately upon receiving news that school closures could be a possibility, our Head of School, Kevin Goetz, communicated with school leaders across the region. This close communication has been very helpful for everyone to create a plan of action that will benefit the biggest possible group, while keeping public health  the top priority.

Teachers at Trinity began researching, collaborating, and sharing resources for digital instruction. We leaned in and asked for guidance from other schools whose teachers have been using “digital learning days” as part of their instruction. We are giving parents and students resources too, so that they can create a new normal at home and continue the school experience for their children.

We count on our own parents, too, to help us provide guidance and leadership to our families. Parents who work in the health care field have been instrumental in helping us communicate messages that are clear, consistent, and up-to-date.

Beginning this week, all students will receive digital instruction from their teachers. This looks different from one grade to another, but across every classroom we will be as committed to the education of each child as ever before. While upper school students will rely on their Chromebooks, younger children may engage in virtual story time or visits to museums. Athletic director Sandy Butler has plenty of online lessons for P.E. for every grade level, too!

It will be a while before we’re all back in the school building again– but we are still Trinity, and still together. Thanks to our community of support,we got this.

Maureen Crone is Trinity’s marketing and development director.

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