STEM and Remote Learning in Early Childhood Education
News on April 29 2021
When it was clear that remote learning was not going to be a short-term situation, we had to sit down and come up with a plan. As you know, creating a plan for early education, in any circumstance, requires careful and thoughtful analysis. With remote learning, we had to throw away many of our best practices and reinvent early education in way that was almost directly opposite to what we knew to be important and effective. In other words: how are we going to make sure our students receive the core values of early education from us, the classroom, and their peers… all through a screen?
Below, you will find several categories along with some solutions we’ve found to be helpful tactics for the current learning situation.
Delivery of instruction
The first thing we had to find a solution for was how we were going to deliver our lessons and instruction.
With a little brainstorming we can up with these solutions:
- Video chat
- Create YouTube or homemade videos
- Digital tools like Google Classroom, Class Dojo, and Seesaw
STEM/Play choice board
The STEM choice board is a great way to engage students and to give them some control and ownership of their learning. It works much like a bingo board, and you can customize it to fit the activities you would like your students to accomplish. You can ask them to choose a few activities, or complete the whole board. While this is being presented as a remote learning solution, this is also a great way to bring student voice and choice to your classroom once you return to in-person instruction.
For more information on student choice boards, check out our blog How to Create Engaging Choice Boards
Observations and documentation
As early educators we know one of the most accurate ways to evaluate our students is through observation. However, this can be challenging when not in the classroom with your students.
Here are some solutions we came up with:
- Videos of your students engaging in their work
- Submissions of non-digital work with Google Classroom
- Play journals
- Observing your students via video chat while they are engaged in their work
An important focus in early childhood education is social skills. Students learn how to navigate social situations through interaction and group work. This can be challenging in normal circumstances, but being in a remote environment poses a whole new challenge. Luckily, thanks to technology there are some great solutions for this — they’re also great ideas to keep using once you have returned to the classroom.
- SMART Learning Suite Online
- Collaborative work in Google Docs/Drawings
- Breakout rooms
- Small group meetings via video chat
With so much learning now happening at home, we not only need to support our students, but also adults at home that are now assisting in the formal education. This can be quite overwhelming to a teacher who is already very busy. Below are some tips to help you manage this new responsibility without it taking up too much more of your time.
- Host office hours for parents/guardians
- Recommend OTIS tutorial videos for parents
- Provide YouTube or other homemade videos for support
Materials and supplies
Not everyone has a classroom in their home, but students still need materials to create and learn. We know our youngest students learn best when they work with manipulatives and art materials, but how can we get these materials to our students? Explore some ideas below.
- Get creative with the materials students are using
- Create take-home play bags
- Provide instructions around using recycled/common materials found around the house. For example, race cars or action figures can be used as math manipulatives, a toothbrush (not one they are currently using!) as a paint brush, and boxes and paper towel rolls as building materials. This may even inspire your students to be more creative or become interested in a new subject.
Whether you’re teaching from home, in the classroom, or practicing a hybrid learning model, these are just a few examples that you can use to make sure your students are learning the core values of early education while engaging in STEM fundamentals.
For more information on any of the ideas discussed check out these resources:
- Take Home Play Bags
- How to Create Engaging Choice Boards
- Uploading Non-Digital Work to Google Classroom
For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.
We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.
Teq is an experienced Google Workspace for Education Partner. If your school is purchasing Google Workspace for Education or Chromebooks, you may be eligible to receive free PD from Teq as part of the Google Service Offer program.