How to Provide a High Quality Early Learning Care Program During COVID-19?
The global pandemic has changed the way we interact and has had a significant impact on the education and learning community. Parents and early learning specialists who work directly with babies have signified a dramatic pause in their daily activities.
Nevertheless, children's development doesn't stop and neither the need for early interactions and learning opportunities that will help improve children's life.
COVID-19 and Bebés + Fuertes, an Early Learning Care Program attending 600 families in the State of Mexico.
At the beginning of the year 2020, the early learning program Bebés + Fuertes started operations in Lerma, State of Mexico. The program consisted of weekly group sessions and one monthly personalized home visit to supervise and work with their development needs. Highly trained pre-k teachers gave professional learning support to 600 babies and their families. By the end of March, all direct interactions and sessions were suspended due to COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the flexibility of Bebés + Fuertes and its operational model, make it convenient and possible for providers to continue accessing to professional learning support in a 100% distance, virtual and in home approach. The experience highlighted the importance of having specific program components that contribute to children's development, even if there's no face to face interaction between early learning specialists and parents.
What elements contribute to impact on children's development working from a distance?
Highly trained teachers' guidance
The learning interactions and experiences significantly impact children's earliest years. Teachers with experience guiding the daily parent-children exchanges help caregivers offer and create exciting learning opportunities at home. The early learning guides delivered a step-by-step weekly guide designed to follow Accede's curriculum and provide clear information and dynamic activities with accessible materials to keep families and baby interactions.
The digital tools offer the opportunity to stay in contact and deliver exciting content to support the children's development and enrich the interactions with the caregivers. The program app was designed as a complement of the curriculum but in this context became pivotal to secure constant communication and information delivery. Through the app, parents and children have access to activities, songs, information, and articles.
Accesible books and materials
The program included three books to support the information given at the sessions. One of the advantages of incorporating this material is that parents have storybooks to read and help children with early literacy skills and a socioemotional manual to keep developing social skills. Finally, the parent guidebook brings precise information to exchange questions and inquiries with the program's teachers.
All these components have played an essential role to keep delivering high-quality early childhood interventions to the families of Bebés + Fuertes. The program has had a successful receiving, and many of the families involved ask to continue participating in the program and teacher’s guidance through the following months. As part of this new reality, the program is fully adapting its contents, apps, and methodology to bring advice entirely by distance.