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Childcare COVID-19 daycare Uncategorized

COVID Made Us Better!

Early Childhood Education During COVID and Beyond

There are so many stories of early childhood education during COVID to celebrate. Many daycares never closed. Many others found ways to maintain relationships and engagement with preschoolers, toddlers, and even infants remotely. Discovery Village did both. We remained open for our essential workers, while providing remote learning for children whose families were sheltering in place.

Something surprising happened in the process. We not only navigated through COVID. We’ve gotten better! 

 

Creative activities in early childhood education during COVID

Early Childhood Education During COVID: Programs That Never Closed

Outdoor Experiences in Early Childhood Education During COVID

It was almost exactly one year ago that I first sensed we were experiencing the beginning of something new for early childhood education.

There were only six children present, ranging in age from 18 months to five. Children saw new possibilities for a farm they had built out of a cardboard box.

One child took the road they had used to bring supplies to the farm. He turned it into his very own “highway to happiness.”  Any person could drive on the road. At the end they would find arrive anyplace they wanted to vacation, real or imagined.

Two children took the farm itself and redesigned it. They built a carwash. Now cars would be super clean before driving down the highway to happiness. They found a way to funnel real water into the carwash to wash the cars. 

Three children, younger toddlers, were also interested in animals, cars, and water. They took individual bins filled with soapy water and  gave baths to the toy animals that had just earlier that day lived in the farm. 

Hand-washing

The focus on washing, both cars and animals, came from our  constant hand-washing. Between each and every activity, and at minimum every half hour, children washed their hands. They delighted in splashing in the water, savoring the feel of the running water and soap suds. Hand-washing had become the punctuation mark of our days, offering a moment of respite between each and every activity. 

In the following weeks, our children’s curiosity about water brought us in many new directions. We explored the depths of the sea, and designed our very own aquarium. We looked to the rain clouds above, showering our world with water, and built our own cloud observatory. We marveled at the power of water to nourish plants and people, and tended to our very own indoor garden. Losing ourselves in our playful learning, the outside world melted away. 

Children showed us the ways to navigate through COVID; playfully and focusing on the positive.

 

Early Childhood Programs That Went Remote: Putting Relationships at the Center

I will never forget the moment, very early in the pandemic, that I heard about early childhood education programs offering remote learning. At first, I thought teaching toddlers and preschoolers remotely was perhaps the most ridiculous educational idea I had ever heard. Within a week, Discovery Village was offering remote learning for preschoolers, toddlers, and even infants. Many childcare and preschools had gone entirely remote, at least for several months.

The learning included live video sessions via Zoom, videos teachers created, and packets of activities to do at home. The live sessions included Spanish, sign language, and lots of exercise and movement. It changed frequently to keep children interested. At the core of the experience was being together, even while physically distanced. We always knew relationships and care are at the heart of early childhood. We found ways to strengthen those relationships even while physically distant. 

The Possibilities that Lie Ahead 

While COVID forced us to change, we had the choice to change for the better. So many of us id. The creativity that emerged in early childhood can be a beginning, offering possibilities for improving the quality of learning and care. It is a conversation many are having. I welcome you to join in and reflect on what we have learned through these challenging months, and what we will intentionally bring with us moving forward.

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daycare Uncategorized

Daycare Activities To Enjoy at Home

Daycare Activities for Home

Daycare Activities to bring home - during quarantine and any other time

Daycare activities at Discovery Village include the arts, sciences, language and literacy, math, physical education, and so much more. When children can’t be in school, there is so much families can offer at home. During a quarantine of our toddler program, our teachers created learning activities for families to bring Discovery Village home.

While these activities are presented within a structure like school, you can play with them. Feel very welcome to embrace the joy of the possibility of less structured days at home. Learning can happen while cooking, doing laundry, as well as while  becoming immersed in play. Of the activities, see what resonates for you child. We invite you to make it all as low-stress as possible.

We are so happy for you to be able to enjoy these activities any time

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Childcare COVID-19 daycare Preschool

A New Kind of September: Returning to Child Care in an Age of Pandemic

Have choices about daycare during pandemic left you with a range of emotions you can’t quite put into words?

Have you had the unusual sensation of being in a strange new world you never could have imagined?

As K-12 schools decide whether to serve students through remote, hybrid, or in person learning, many child care centers have remained open. In the early months of pandemic early childhood stood as an essential service for essential workers. Now, as summer shifts to fall and a new school year begins, many more families are returning.

Some have had  children in daycare during pandemic, while others have recently returned. Some are  considering returning, while others are quite certain they want their children to be cared for at home. Regardless of your choices, you may well be experiencing a wide range of emotions about sending your child to daycare during pandemic.

I invite you to check in on how you are feeling about your children leaving quarantine.

Returning to daycare

Like me, it may not be only how you are feeling, but who you are feeling like as we navigate this strange new reality we all face.

Returning to Childcare or Preschool

Providing daycare and learning throughout the pandemic, I’ve felt all of the above. It is as if overnight we have been transported to a new world, without ever having actually leaving home. Things are both different, and yet the same, as we have adjusted to our new reality. Through it all we have focused on implementing health protocols in a playful and non-stressful manner.

We have actively designed an environment that is safe and nurturing, creative and calm. We have designed a haven of hope and happiness in a world filled with challenge.  Ultimately, we have supported one another and the children in our care to feel at ease, playful, and calm. While the world outside us continues to be full of challenges, at school we are caring for one another, playing, creating, and learning. We have found stability in a world of uncertainty.

The answer as to whether or not to place a child in care outside the home is, as it has always been, a highly personal one. What is right for one family is not right for another. Yet, childcare is designed with safety in mind. There are very small class sizes, a high level of supervision, attentiveness to hand washing and disinfecting, health checks and more. As a result, the choice to return, or to start childcare, nursery school or preschool, has been one that does make good sense for many.  

If you are on the fence, wondering if the time is yet right to send your child back, you may be interested in Voices of Child Care. This  documentary shares stories of child care centers in Westchester county New York that have been open through the pandemic. Discovery Village – children, teachers, and leadership – have been featured in several episodes.

I invite you to a glimpse into what the experience has been.

Voices of Child Care - Episode one

Voices of ChildCare Episode One

Voices of Child Care - Episode Three

Voices of Child Care Episode Three

If you are interested in returning to, or starting childcare, I invite you to reach out. Schedule a visit – either virtual or live. See the children and teachers. See what learning and care looks like with COVID health and safety protocols. Ask to speak to some of our families who have been attending throughout the pandemic, or have recently returned or started.

To those of you who have been with us, we are grateful to be on this journey with you!

To those of you considering daycare, nursery school or preschool, we look forward to the possibility of meeting you!