Apr 6, 2020

Helping children learn. Where to turn.

Dean Nafziger
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An early outcome of stay-at-home policies combined with school closures is that parents, particularly parents of young children, have been thrust into a daunting role—that of being a teacher. Each of us has friends or coworkers who are not only responsible for managing increased household obligations but also feel the responsibility of providing their children with meaningful educational activities. Where can they turn for help? Where should they start?

First, it is helpful to know that there are educators throughout the country who have developed and continue to develop excellent educational materials that are accessible. Second, parents can look for guidance from local schools, school districts and states, because there is a national groundswell of activity for supporting continuation of learning for every student.  Third, it is useful for parents to moderate expectations about what they can accomplish in contrast to trained teacher professionals and full school days. Teaching is challenging and giving instruction in areas such as phonics or mathematical concepts is demanding. Rather I think it is useful for parents to focus on expanding their children’s knowledge of the world, by exposing them to interesting material in science, literature, and different cultures.

A useful resource for finding well developed instructional material is being managed by the National Center, part of the CCNetwork system. The CCNetwork is made of 19 Regional Centers and one National Center that provide support to educators. The National Center has been collecting and vetting resources for all educational stakeholders, including parents. That material, Resources for Continuity of learning can be accessed directly here, https://www.compcenternetwork.org/resources-for-continuity-of-learning.  Currently, it houses nearly 150 items that can be accessed through searches by Primary Audience, Grade Levels, Topics, and Type. For example, a general search for material developed for Families/Parents yields 40 items, one of which is Resources for Learning From Home During COVID-19 School Closures created by the Fordham Institute. It is focused on home use, covers multiple grade levels, and includes a compendium of "best of" YouTube channels, television shows, podcasts, and online instructional materials for parents to access from home. The Resources for Continuity of Learning includes material for states, local districts and schools as well.

We are all impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Parents can know that the challenges they face and the worries they have about their children’s learning, are target of educators and advocates nationally. Help is on its way.


- Dean Nafziger