One of my biggest concerns with the return to school was how school would look for my preschooler. I am of the strong opinion that preschool should be SOLELY about social and emotional development, NOT academic preparation. But how does a teacher model and foster social-emotional development when they must be physically distant, when they cannot give comforting touches, and when most of their face is covered? As humans, we communicate so much with our facial expressions. Having a masked teacher can be not only scary and intimidating for young children, but can also deny them important learning feedback and comfort.
The article linked below shares some wonderful ideas for making the return to school for our youngest students a little less scary and a little more successful. One of the biggest take-aways for me was the importance of not punishing when children have trouble with COVID guidelines. “Part of creating an emotionally safe environment is supporting rather than punishing children when they struggle to follow the health guidelines.” Please make sure that your preschool is child-centered and doesn’t employ punishment when kids struggle with health guidelines. This is an unknown and scary time for our kids, and they deserve our support, grace, and patience.
Author: Suzanne Bouffard
Published: August 4, 2020 by KQED