Being in lockdown does not mean you cannot share your fifth birthday with your friends.
The Lincoln University Early Childhood Centre has been embracing online technology to ensure its youngsters do not miss anything, by initiating a “home connection” programme.
So far they have had virtual birthdays, news time, stories from the teachers, and a fancy dress day, as well as showing off their pets, and making crafts.
While the kids are learning, their parents may have to upskill on their technology too.
The centre is using video site Vimeo to upload videos of activities to do during the lockdown (bubble time). For stories and family contributions they have set up a dropbox, or cloud storage service, and invited families “to get creative with their cameras” and create videos of what they are doing to entertain themselves, and keep learning, over the four weeks.
It is also using video conferencing platform Zoom to conduct the usual morning ‘circle times’ on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and is encouraging communicating through the centre’s Facebook page which also has lots of ideas for things to make, and eat, over Easter, learning activities and great stories to share.
Head Teacher Mark White, said an important part of the early childhood curriculum is that children and their families feel a sense of belonging, “where preschool is an extension of their home lives and learning”.
“Using Zoom during this lockdown has allowed us to ‘enter’ and be a part of their home three times a week, the place where they feel most safe and comfortable, with older siblings, parents and pets often joining in. It has been invaluable in ensuring that relationships can continue to be developed and strengthened.”
He said the Vimeo site is ‘Lincoln University ECC’ and (apart from family videos, which are password protected) has resources which could be used by all families.
The university has two childcare centres which care for the children of its staff and students, local research organisations and the Lincoln community: The Lincoln University Early Childhood Centre and Lincoln University Childcare and Preschool.