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Virtual Relationship Building during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Apr 17, 2020    |   COVID-19 Resources & Information

The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to stay home and maintain social distancing. For many ECE professionals whose jobs are built around relationships, this is an especially challenging task. Working in the field of early learning requires educators to build connections and community with the children in our care and with their families. During this time, although we might be physically separated, it is still possible for us to connect with one another! In this article, we suggest ways to stay connected with both children and families, and with your coworkers.

Connection Opportunities for Early Learning Teachers

  • Try Video Conferencing: If you are missing your little ones, you might try setting up a conference call. You can use free applications such as Zoom (free for first 40 minutes of call) or Google Hangouts. You might set up a time in which you invite the children to join in with their parents so that everyone can get a chance to say hello and check-in on each other. Even if the call is quick, everyone will enjoy getting to see each other again.

  • Host a Virtual Story Time: For a fun activity, set up a virtual storytime! Send an invite to parents to join in with their little ones at a certain time so that everyone who is available can join in and listen to you read a story together. This can even be a weekly activity while schools are closed, as a way to keep in touch.

  • Throw a Virtual Dance Party: Everyone’s moods are a little bit down right now, and a virtual dance party might be just what we need! Invite parents to join a group video chat, and turn on one of your class’s favorite songs. Kids will love getting an opportunity to dance and have fun with their friends again, even if it’s virtually!

  • Play Virtual Games that Get Kids Moving: You can lead fun games while on video chat such as Simon Says. Local early learning center, Toddle, created these videos for easy, at-home activities to do during video calls.

  • Send Resources to Parents: Parents are very overwhelmed right now. Many are working from home full-time with their children, while others  might have faced recent job loss. They would probably appreciate regular check-ins from you that include resources, activity ideas, or tips for keeping their children occupied while they’re at home. If you do send resources, make sure you include a note of positivity and encouragement, a message that will probably be very much appreciated.

  • Invite parents to a Photo Share: Parents might be interested to know what other families are doing to keep themselves occupied during this time. Create a shared photo album where parents can post pictures of different activities that they’ve been doing at home. It’s a great way for parents to bounce ideas off one another, and a great way for children to enjoy pictures of familiar, friendly faces.

Connection Opportunities for Teaching Teams

  • Set up a Virtual Happy Hour or Coffee Meeting: If you’re missing your co-teachers and friends at work, setting up a virtual happy hour is a great way to stay connected. Using Zoom or Google Hangouts, you can include a large group of people, and everyone can share how they’re doing and what they’ve been doing to keep themselves occupied while they’re at home.

  • Create a Virtual Book Club: A virtual book club can be a great way to connect with friends and coworkers, and also enjoy a fun activity while at home. Plan to read a certain number of chapters each week and have a weekly check-in to discuss your thoughts!

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