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What can we do for our young children in such uncertain times?

Jul 20th, 2020

What can we do for our young children in such uncertain times?

Uncertainty…it appears to be the buzzword of today. Life to some extent is full of uncertainty, none of us can tell the future, even our weather forecasters seem hard pressed, much to our dismay! Regardless, in our “pre-COVID world” many of us had more certainty in our life than we do now. We had routines that we followed and societal norms and expectations on which we could rely. Now however, we are learning to live with the uncertainty of a new virus. COVID-19 has brought about uncertainty to our daily lives—how we go out, who we will see and how. Many of us are still questioning when, how and if we will return to jobs, without which leaves us with more uncertainty!

One of the basic foundations of our society, which we have been able to rely on since the mid 1600’s, in New England at least, was schooling for our children, and now even that is uncertain. We are a mere seven weeks away from Labor Day. A day that for most of us signaled a return to basic routines after a relaxing summer, and for most children a return to school. It’s seven weeks away, and there is so much uncertainty with COVID-19, that there is simply no simple answer to how schools will function.

As an educator for the past 24 years, here is what I know, with CERTAINTY:
Children still need to learn, and even though some won’t admit it, their minds crave new information and they feel proud of their learning accomplishments. Some children will even admit that they love learning, especially our younger ones!
Children need stability. Actually, we all do, but children especially thrive in a structured routine. Children by their nature, are not ready to make large decisions about their days, hence why parents and caregivers schedule their days for them. Do they need some unstructured free-time? Yes, of course, but in the larger scope of a child’s day, adults plan some unstructured time into their schedule. Children bloom within regular, structured routines because they know what is coming and what is expected of them. It helps them learn self-regulation and gives them a sense of controlling themselves appropriately for the current activity. Routines decrease a sense of anxiety over the uncertainty of what may come-up next.
Children still need free exploration and play. As I mentioned above, children do need time to freely explore. Children naturally learn through play, engaging with toys, materials and nature. Through hands-on exploration and discovery children not only can gain what we consider academic objectives, but they also gain social-emotional skills, increase vocabulary and language skills, expand motor skills and even expand their attention span. Especially if there are other children present!
Children still need friends. We humans are social beings, even little humans! Some children are definitely more social than others—we’re all unique, but children not only need to have friends to share a giggle, a game or a secret with, but they need friends to help learn how to initiate conversation, join a game and share.
Children, and families, are individually different. There has never been a one-size fits all approach to education. Teachers have long been teaching the same lesson using multiple approaches to meet the needs of the diverse group of learners in their classrooms. We need to understand and respect that in this new educational landscape, how one family and student accesses the above needs will differ from the next, and that’s okay.

I want to help families with young children meet all of these educational needs with my new Virtual Homeschool Partnership:
• I will provide a solid preschool and transitional kindergarten curriculum so children can continue to learn.
• The format I will use will remain stable throughout the year. We will have daily Zoom meetings, I will post stories and follow-up activities on the Seesaw learning platform daily and we will occasionally meet-up for group activities such as going to a park, apple picking or the zoo as social distancing phases allow.
• I will provide theme-related free-play suggestions for parents and caregivers to use at home. Parents and caregivers can include siblings and/or friends as they feel comfortable and engage actively in their child(ren)’s play.
• As mentioned above, I will organize meet-ups for those who wish to join, and parents and caregivers can invite friends, family and siblings to share in free-play activities. This allows for families to engage in socialization as they each feel comfortable.

If you would like more information about my Virtual Homeschool Partnership, please contact me via email: mailto:slundberg@nullwestborolc.com

I look forward to partnering with you and your family,
Stephanie Borgia-Lundberg, M.Ed.

Westboro Learning Center is located in Central Massachusetts, convenient to surrounding towns such as Northborough, Southborough, Hopkinton, Ashland, Marlborough, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Framingham, Holliston, and all other Central Massachusetts and Metro West communities.