Providing School-Age Care & Distance Learning Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Paper Pinecone Blog

Providing School-Age Care & Distance Learning Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published Date: 07/21/20

With COVID-19 keep children from in-person learning, many parents are looking for care for school-age kids. In addition to care, parents want a situation where childcare providers will assist with their distance learning during the day.

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Providing school-age care during the COVID-19 pandemic can be an excellent way to supplement your income, but it does have some challenges. Many family childcare providers are amazing early childhood educators but have never been taught how to facilitate learning for school-age children. And even fewer have been taught how to support COVID-19 distance learning.

School-age children will become bored quickly in an environment designed for younger children. And bored children are often disruptive children. However, mixed-age groupings and peer-to-peer learning is how humans have always

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developed. Children may actually see more academic success while with you because of the environment than they previously did in school.

It is possible to successfully create an environment where all children play and learn by following these tips. Keep in mind that you may need to hire additional staff to help, and your pricing should reflect this accordingly.

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Designate an area for school-age children to engage in distance learning

Like most adults, children need a quiet space to work, free from distractions. Create a space where a child can go to do their schoolwork. Ideally, this space is off-limits to younger children and can be kept quiet.

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The time a child spends online will be somewhat driven by the school district, the amount of live instruction, and the work assigned. However, outside of the mandatory live instruction, school-age children should not be expected to sit online all day and learn independently. Provide ample opportunities to take breaks.

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Incorporate learning for school-age children into your day

Just like with toddlers, school-age children learn best through play and through projects. For example, cooking and baking is one of the best way to teach math, literacy, and science. Children can practice reading skills on a recipe and math when them measure four one-half cups instead of two cups – ½ cup plus ½ cup equals a whole – one whole cup plus one whole cup equals two. Get an inexpensive kitchen scale and practice weights and measures. Have school-age children write and illustrate stories for toddlers. Then have them switch stories and practice reading aloud to the younger children. A history lesson can come in the form of a puppet show. Have younger children make the puppets while older children build a theater. With your help, older children can write a short puppet show, rehearse, and perform it.  

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Give school-age children responsibilities

It’s important that school-age children feel included and if they have specific responsibilities, it can help contribute to positive behavior.

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Invite school-age children teach toddlers

When you set up your lesson plans, look for opportunities for school-age children to teach younger ones. Better yet, get them involved in building your lesson plans. When older children read to younger ones it creates the perfect opportunity to practice and reinforce their skills.

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Create opportunities for peer-to-peer learning

Peer-to-peer learning has tremendous benefits. If you have a child who excels in a subject, have them assist students who are weaker in those areas.

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Create a school-age social emotional curriculum

COVID-19 has taken academics out of schools and onto computers and tablets, and in doing so, mostly eliminated the social emotional learning that children need to succeed. Incorporating social emotional learning into your day for school-age kids will help promote positive behavior and help them set a good example for little ones. Helping provide care for toddlers is a great way to build empathy among them.

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The bottom line

COVID-19 has created a situation where school-age children need both care and an education. Distance learning is incredibly challenging for most children but you can support that by weaving in academics throughout your day in the same way you do for younger children. Parents may even find their children are learning better in your home than they did school!

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