If you’re quarantined with kids, chances are you’re realizing the importance of early childhood education – and the teachers dedicated to it – now more than ever.
The COVID-19 crisis has turned homes into schools and parents into instructors. Trying Together, a local advocacy organization, wants to help parents throughout April, which is Month of the Young Child, and beyond.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) first established Week of the Young Child in 1971. Over the years, with growing interest and focus, Trying Together expanded it into a month-long series of events, including symposiums, workshops and an annual dinner at Heinz Field.
Due to the global pandemic, Trying Together canceled or postponed all in-person events and switched to a virtual format. How can you participate? By utilizing social media, email and more!
1. Praise an educator: Start by giving an online shout out to an educator who has made an impact on your child. A few kind words on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can make someone’s long day brighter. Include the hashtags #MOYC2020 and #TryingTogether so other participants can view it. If you want to get more personal, send an email, pick up the phone or organize a Zoom meeting with your favorite early learning professionals. They might be able to give you some expert advice.
2. Applaud yourself: Teaching kids is a hard, often thankless, job, so don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back, too. You are, after all, your children’s first and most important teacher. Trying Together recommends cooking your favorite meal, take your own online course or Netflix and chill. Use the hashtags #CelebrateMe and #MOYC2020 when you publicize the activities on social media.
3. Advocate for early childhood education: Although it feels like America is at a standstill, it’s important to continue advocating for early childhood education. Legislators play a critical role in funding essential early childhood programs in the United States. Take time to learn where each candidate stands on the issues, which will help you make an informed decision in the voting booth. As a reminder, Pennsylvania’s primary election has been moved to June 2. Visit America for Early Ed to learn more.
America for Early Ed put together this toolkit of activities for families. Share photos of your participation on the Trying Together Facebook page or use the hashtags #TryingTogether and #MOYC2020 on other social media.
4. Sing, dance, celebrate and learn: Music is a way to encourage children to be active while developing their early literacy skills. And it’s a way of having fun with friends and family – even when they can’t be with them in person. Make up and record a family version of a song the kids love or write your own.
5. Cook up a recipe for success: Cooking together helps connect math with literacy skills and science while introducing ways to incorporate healthy habits into your kid’s lifestyle. Create your own healthy snacks and share the recipes and photos of your creations.
6. Learn, work and build together: When kids build together, they explore math and science concepts and develop their social and early literacy skills. Use any material—from a fort of branches in the backyard to a block city in the living room to a hideaway made from couch pillows.
7. Think, create, problem-solve: Kids develop creativity, social skills and fine motor skills with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations and create with their hands. Celebrate the joy of learning that kids experience and engage in fun, creative art-making.