The COVID-19 pandemic has forced local childcare centers and schools to shut their doors, moving many parents to a new work-from-home setup. Overnight, the 9-to-5 workday suddenly became more challenging for working moms and dads. Transitioning to remote work is difficult, but even more so with a little one at home. One local educator, Lysa Hou of Grow 2Gether Montessori in Oakley, has adapted their lessons into free online resources, and she shares tips on how to provide a stimulating environment to keep your child engaged in active learning.
Continue to Build Community
On an average day, playdates and visits to the park with friends help promote friendships and good manners. But while we’re practicing social distancing, checking in with your community is more important than ever. Hou suggests setting up Zoom or FaceTime meetings with family and friends and hosting a virtual show-and-tell. Allow your child to share what they’ve been doing at home, projects they’ve started, and recipes they’ve made, Hou says. It gives them a chance to see what their friends are doing, gather new ideas, and express themselves.
Create Variations of an Activity
Hou suggests alternating activities with variation like this hide-and-seek activity she developed. Set up the activity in the garden or yard and ask your children to find items of a certain color. You can repeat this activity using different objects and printing out pictures of insects for them to seek, or move the activity to a new spot like the playroom. For more ideas like this one, check out Hou’s YouTube channel for detailed instructions.
Connect with Parents and Teachers
Ask for help! Like building a community is important for your child’s growth, it’s important for you too. After putting the kids to bed for the night or squeezing in a call during naptime, seek advice from friends with kids the same ages as your children. Share what you’ve learned and activities that have been successful. Parents are all in this together and when you need help, others often have the same questions, too. Hou hosts weekly online Zoom hangouts every Monday at 12:30 p.m. to talk about the daily rhythm and flow of life with toddlers. Each Session is free and provides parents an opportunity to learn and share new ideas, get questions answered by other parents and trained teachers, and most importantly, support each other.
When Everything is Back to Routine as Usual…
Keep up with Grow 2Gether’s growing community with its eight-week montessori-based sessions at its Oakley location, where kids can connect with classmates in person. The space is designed to cater to the needs of children and features a toddler toilet with developmentally appropriate assistance and support for both parent and child. During each session, children will progress through community-based curriculum and learn to build independence in a “yes” environment. Each child is also given the opportunity to explore and fail in the space with hands-on activities. Examples include prepping food: peeling bananas and clementines, pouring milk and water, and gathering together for snack time.
The structured time of each session is a perfect way for a child and parent to build connections, bond with other families, and learn things like handshakes and hugs. Other available classes include drop-in sessions for parent and child to visit sporadically or consistently at their convenience and a new two-day toddler program. The toddler program offers children ages 16 to 32 months an opportunity to learn a second language. Research shows bilingual children are more creative, critical thinkers, and problem solvers.