Remote Teaching: Five Great (free)Tools for Early Childhood
Updated: Aug 15
Early childhood teachers have unique considerations for the design and delivery of remote education. Here are some free sources that can support both parents and teachers. #remotelearning #onlinelearning #distancelearning #technology #theresacapra #teachingtips #Covid19
Planning for remote instruction is no easy task for any educator. But early childhood teachers have unique challenges because children are physical and tactile learners with attention spans and fine motor skills that are still developing. The good news is that young children are also adaptable and increasingly comfortable with technology. Additionally, young children have been learning and thriving long before the formal creation of schools, and play, as demonstrated by Maria Montessori, is a powerful, organic mode of learning.
Some more good news...there are tons of technology to engage early learners. Here are a few good sites for parents to bookmark, and for teachers to add to their repertoires, or expand, if already in use. These sites are free! There are some great resources available for nominal fees that I will review in the future. But for now, these free options are easy to extend to remote and hybrid learning environments.
A great platform to get children up and moving! Early childhood teachers know very well that children need movement. Long school days can be difficult for new learners, but despite this, sedentary learning has become the norm as early as kindergarten. GoNoodle has been a savior for teachers who want to engage their students in free, organized movement despite tight classrooms.
The site has plenty of stimulating games, dances, and activities that help children develop gross motor skills and practice multi-step directions. Early childhood educators who already rely on GoNoodle in the physical classroom should do the same for synchronous, remote sessions.
Parents….there’s an area dedicated to summer activities. GoNoodle now has an app that can be downloaded so kids can take their dances outside!
This is a great math site for both teachers and parents that is now free! Lessons increase in rigor based on built-in assessments. The graphics are visually stimulating while motivating games sustain attention. SpashLearn has content applicable to K-5, but it’s ideal for early learners before grade three.
A perfect site for early childhood literacy because of its focus on letters, sounds, and sentences. Accessible lesson plans complement phonics instruction and just about any early childhood literacy curriculum. It’s a visually motivating site so parents will delight in how it keeps their new readers engaged.
If it’s Sesame Street, you know what to expect: free, high-quality learning experiences for young children. In the late 1960s, the television show was conceived to leverage visual entertainment to support early childhood learning, especially for children from low-income families.
Sesame Street in Communities is a multilingual site that has a plethora of valuable resources for parents and teachers. The parent portal features activities, games, coloring sheets, tips, articles and engaging videos to supplement remote learning. Additionally, sensitive topics such as community violence and divorce are carefully treated to support families.
For teachers, there are copious instructional videos to engage students in every subject. Moreover, there’s free professional development including courses and webinars. This is a must to bookmark for early childhood instructors who will be teaching remote come the Fall.
Here, children can do exactly what the name says--switch up zoo animals! Switch Zoo exposes young learners to zoology in a fun way by allowing the creation of hybrid animals. Although it may sound silly to create a pretend animal, there’s instructional value. Youngsters can view animal profiles and create a biome. Sounds and visuals enhance the animal habitats. Teachers will appreciate the lesson ideas and virtual field trips. It’s definitely one to bookmark for early childhood science.