Episode 9: Back to the Classroom: Balancing Social Development and Safety
Preschool teacher Kelsey Jones takes us on a tour of her classroom and shares stories about how she balances keeping her children safe with enabling them to learn and play together. (12 min.)
- Early Care and Education Environment Indicators and Elements of High-Quality Inclusion: E3: Social Emotional Learning and Development, E6: Instruction
- DEC Recommended Practices: Environment
As you watch this episode, look for the modifications and adaptations Kelsey made due to COVID-19, both inside and outside of the classroom (environment, materials, teaching strategies, etc.). Take note of the effective and safe strategies she implemented that focus on the children's social and emotional development, including her attitude.
- In this episode, Kelsey Jones shares her efforts to keep children safe as they continue to learn through play. How have you continued to support social and emotional development during the pandemic? What strategies will you continue beyond the pandemic?
- Kelsey Jones shares a "magic moment" that happened when a child in her classroom "shared her space" with other children for the first time. How have you intentionally supported peer interaction, particularly with children who need more support to interact with peers?
- Kelsey Jones describes an example of how she continued to use technology to provide virtual learning and interaction even when the children transitioned back to the physical classroom. What opportunities are there to continue to use technology and provide remote instruction and interaction when supporting children and families even when you are primarily providing instruction in-person, in the classroom?
- Kelsey Jones describes adjustments she made to how she supported children's social and emotional development in response to the pandemic. What other events outside or beyond the classroom impact or shift the way you support children's social and emotional development and interaction in the classroom environment? What are some examples of strategies you (or someone you observed) implemented to support children and their families in response to current events and conditions that impacted your community?
- Kelsey Jones shares her philosophy that every dark cloud has a silver lining. What silver lining(s) have emerged for you during the pandemic? What has encouraged you to remain optimistic?
Dark Clouds and Silver Linings
Draw a simple picture of a cloud on the whiteboard. Ask participants to add "silver linings" to the dark cloud. In a word or two, what are some of the positive lessons that you have learned as an early childhood professional during the pandemic? If you're a teacher, what was an innovative strategy that you used during the pandemic that you wouldn't have thought to use pre-pandemic? Think about innovative strategies that you used to keep children safe or to teach social-emotional skills. What were the silver linings? Post them next to the cloud on the whiteboard.
Small group variant: Draw a cloud image on chart paper. Ask participants to add their silver lining statements either directly with a marker, or on a small sticky note that they write at their table and then stick to the chart paper.