Resources for Children and Parents While Remote Learning
The LSU School of Education is committed to our hundreds of partners in education across the state and the world. While some schools are closing for the remainder of this year in response to Coronavirus, we know this is a stressful time for children and the adults who care for them. Our faculty offer the following resources to help parents, teachers, and students remain connected, engaged, and learning during this period of social distancing.
Update: These tip sheets were created to be shared with your communities: students, teachers, administrators, parents, and families. You may learn more and access additional resources at lsu.edu/bestpractices.
As a professor in early childhood education as well as the executive director of the Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool (ECELP), Cynthia DiCarlo, PhD, curated a list of resources as well as links to activities for young children. One way she and her team wish to help families through this difficult time is by sifting through online information related to educating your child at home, ensuring your child’s overall well-being:
- Establish/maintain a routine - Consistent wake/sleep times, mealtimes, and other routines will give your child a sense of normalcy. Build in set times daily for outdoor play, reading and creativity (here are a few simple recipes to get you started: Silly putty, Homemade playdough, Homemade paint, Homemade chalk). Daily virtual social interaction with extended family and friends via FaceTime, Zoom or other teleconferencing platform can help your child maintain a sense of connection to loved ones.
- Learning is Everywhere – Involve your child in household tasks - children love to help! Cooking, cleaning, laundry and gardening provide great learning opportunities. Follow your child’s lead on what he/she seems most interested in. Your child may love digging in the garden and looking for bugs or just the feel of the grass.
- Screen Time - The American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading early childhood organizations do not endorse the use of screens as a primary avenue for learning; please do not feel pressured to seek out educational apps for your child. Your child will not fall behind in the absence of using educational apps.
- Mediate Stress – Take care to design a low stress environment for yourself and your family - your child will pick up on your stress level. Easier said than done, right? If you are working remotely from home, an example of lowering stress might be recognizing that your work time may be shifted or divided to accommodate being home with your child. (Forbes has some great work at home tips.)
Dr. DiCarlo shares that many teachers at the ECELP have already begun holding brief meetings via Zoom with their classes and many more will begin this week. Virtual social interaction will help your child maintain contact with his/her teacher and stay in community with classmates. You should reach out to your child’s teacher and/or the administrative team if you have any questions about how to support your child’s development while you are at home.
"Although this is a stressful time for all of us, we can make the best of this time by focusing on the positive – your child will follow your lead," said Dr. DiCarlo.
At Home STEM Activities
Written by: Pam Blanchard, PhD
I don’t remember a single science lesson from my four years at Tyrrell Elementary School in Port Arthur, Texas. Not one. However, those dedicated teachers I had in elementary school laid the groundwork for me to become someone who now recognizes, enjoys and values science. Everywhere I look, I see science in action. What a gift! The lessons Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Deese taught me opened up a world of beauty, simplicity and complexity that I continue to appreciate today.
For instance, just today, in walking around my yard I noticed three two-inch long Monarch caterpillars munching away on my Milkweed plants. They are almost ready to turn into a chrysalis and, eventually, a Monarch butterfly. These will be the first of our Monarch season. I can’t wait to see new Monarchs fluttering around our yard. I noticed on that same trip around my yard that my passion vine, which froze back to the roots during the winter, has sent up sprouts from the roots to begin a new vine. I am so excited! This means that another of my favorite caterpillars and butterflies, the Gulf Fritillary butterfly (our Louisiana state butterfly), will soon be laying eggs on the vine and I’ll be seeing the orange spiky black caterpillars eating away at the leaves.
Science is all around us. I hope that you will welcome these days of confinement at home as a time to help your child find and enjoy the science happening all around them. Science is nothing to be frightened of – it is instead something to patiently learn bit by bit. The most important part is to ENJOY THE JOURNEY! Who cares if one understands every single concept? Explore. Ask questions. Look for answers (thank goodness for the Internet!). SIMPLY BE AWARE of your surroundings and ask question based on your observations. Look for an answer. No one knows all the answers to every question that your child might ask. That’s OK!!!!
Dr. Blanchard's favorite sites:
- The Exploratorium. (2020). Science snacks. Access the website here. One of my favorite websites for cool science. Science Snacks are activities that make you some and ask What? Why’d that happen? On their home page they also have some activities about the COVID-19 outbreak that may help children understand what’s going on.
- Museum of Science, Boston. (2020). Museum of science at home. Access the website here. The Museum of Science in Boston may be closed to visitors due to COVID-19 but they are live streaming talks by scientists and their museum education staff. Check out their cool science and engineering activities at STEM Beyond School.
- NASA (2020). NASA STEM engagement. Access the website here. The NASA education website has a search function that allows one to search by audience, grade level (K-4, 5-8, 9-12) and activity type. Over 250 activities came up for K-4 activities… books, computer games, puzzles, coloring books, etc.
- US Department of Education. (2005). Helping your child learn science. Washington, DC: ED Publications. Access the website here. A helpful book containing 13 home activities for parents of children in PreSchool to Grade 5.
- MacQuarrie, A. (Jan. 8, 2014). 10 cool at-home science experiments for kids. K12 Learning Liftoff [website]. Access the website here. Simple, safe and show-stopping activities for elementary students to do at home.
- How Wee Learn [website]. (June 19, 2018). 43 science experiments to BLOW your kid’s mind! Access the website here. From Dancing Oobleck to Expanding Ivory Soap, these activities for elementary students will get students thinking about science and having fun at the same time!
Written by: Jamie Hipp, PhD
From tenors singing on balconies during Italy’s lockdown to the many museums currently offering virtual tours, it seems that we need the arts now more than ever. Here are my favorite free online arts resources for quarantined parents, teachers, and students:
- Attend a nightly world-class opera
- Get your creative juices flowing with a visual art, music, or movement tutorial
- Join a bestselling author and illustrator for lunch and drawing lessons
- Take an ivy-league arts course (options include Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Ancient Egyptian Art)
For our teachers across the state, Dr. Hipp provides creative and professional development for arts integration and also writes about this critical issue in national publications, including this edition of LSU School of Education Best Practices.