As March Break has extended for schools and some daycares closed, parents working from home and children are spending a lot of time in the house as part of social distancing and even more now that a state of emergency has been called.
So much time indoors can get tedious. The Advocate spoke to someone who helps entertain kids for a living and put together some ideas to help you get through this period of isolation.
Alta Owen is a private child care provider from her home who previously worked in daycare settings. With years of experience in entertaining and helping kids grow, explore and learn she had a few suggestions on how to spend the cooped up days in the house.
“A lot of the activities come from things I did in daycares; crafts include letting them explore paint, mixed with shaving cream, food colours, soap … We have done shaving cream skating using an old shower curtain/table cloths,” she said. “We do lots of baking and I let the kids help measure and mix as well as make homemade playdough. When we sing songs we include simple songs and then we stand up and do gross motor songs — Shake Your Sillies Out, Hokey Pokey, etc. We read lots of books.”
Dance parties are always a favourite at her house and fun science is something she likes to incorporate into the day, too. Putting Ivory soap in the microwave to watch it expand and even putting pepper in water to represent germs and adding a drop of dish soap can be one way to explain why kids really need to wash their hands.
Regular craft materials can always be a help. Owen will often give the kids glue, paper and other materials and let their imaginations run wild (with supervision, of course.)
“A lot of my crafts come from conversations I have with them. If something comes up in conversation, I try to come up with something to connect to it,” Owen said. “Dinosaurs were big last week and we talked about their names and did fossil crayon rubbings using craft plates I have.”
Because the break has been extended, many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids learning as well so as to not fall behind at school. Chignecto Central Regional School Board staff are working on that.
“(Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education) is working with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the NSTU on a strategy for learning from home. At this time, we are focused on supporting our Grade 12 students to get what they need in order to meet graduation requirements. We are also working on plans to support students at all levels to continue learning at home. We will have more information to share in the coming days,” said Jennifer Rogers, communications manager for the school board.
It’s not just the learning that many are concerned about continuing though; along with providing education, schools offer much more for students from food pantries to counseling sessions and there has been an effort to ensure that counseling services are not lost for those in need as well.
“Additionally, we recognize that many of the needs of students and families who access our school support services don’t go away during this closure. At this time, SchoolsPlus and Parent Navigator supports are in place and available.” Contact information is available at http://www.ccrce.ca/covid-19.