Educators at an Echuca kindergarten embraced video conferencing as a way to keep connections strong between children attending on site and those engaging in remote and flexible learning.
Rene, a teacher at Pink and Blue Early Learning, said that delivering an on-site and remote program at the same time took some getting used to, with both educators and families having to adapt and make adjustments based on children’s responses.
For example, after families raised that children were missing their peers, Rene set up a number of video conferences, matching friends wherever possible.
Educators at Pink and Blue Early Learning also put together remote learning packs, with many of the play materials children would have had access to at the kindergarten. Items in the packs, such as crayons, scissors, glue, scrap books, coloured paper, counters, dice and chalk, alongside recipes for playdough, edible slime and mug cakes - and even each child’s own laminated name cards - meant that children could take part in a range of fun learning activities without feeling as though they were missing out.
Rene encouraged families to stick to a predictable routine but to allow space for flexibility, including giving their children room to make their own choices each day. Each family was emailed the weekly kindergarten program and a variety of suggestions for learning at home and ideas for activities. This has also helped children learning remotely to continue sharing experiences with their peers.
Children attending the on-site kindergarten program produced a video telling the story of ‘Alexander’s outing’, using props. This was shared with children learning from home, who were thrilled to see their friends. Families learning from home were also encouraged to send photos and videos of their child engaged in various activities for ‘show and share’.
Rene said the experience boosted her confidence to experiment with new ways to support children’s learning and development.