Example of a Pre-K Distance Learning Lesson
My name is Mindy Becker. I am a parent, a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and the founder of Grow With Us Academy in South Florida. Grow With Us is a preschool that focuses on healthy social and emotional development for children and their families by infusing Conscious Discipline into the core of our program.
Like many others, we chose to close our precious school several weeks ago due to COVID-19 to ensure safety for all. Since we were no longer meeting in person, my team and I felt it was extremely important to continue to support, connect, and create a sense of continuity for our children and families during this stressful time.
As you watch this video, notice the slower pace and call-and-response I use throughout. I’m doing this deliberately because young children process information more slowly than adults, and computer-based learning only compounds this effect.
After a week of practice, we created a structure that includes daily virtual learning (computer school), online small group meetings and weekly parent support groups. Since the parents are now the “hands on” teachers, I wanted to give them as much support and predictability as possible. Every Sunday I upload the upcoming week’s “Computer School” lessons with the visuals and music needed to support the lessons. The parents have a choice to print the visuals or use the materials to preview the lessons (some may not have access to a printer) so they can support children during virtual learning.
I recorded a sample lesson to share a glimpse of our Computer School with the hope that it will help other educators create lessons that focus on safety, connection, problem solving and, of course, F-U-N!
As you watch this video, notice the slower pace and call-and-response I use throughout. I’m doing this deliberately because young children process information more slowly than adults, and computer-based learning only compounds this effect. I also take every possible opportunity to connect and offer reassurance, and I consciously incorporate the language of noticing and encouragement. (You did it! Look at you! You’re doing it! Way to go!)
This week we are studying the “B” sound, so today I used “boy” and “girl” to designate when it’s time to take part in an activity. We usually vary between factors like age, hair color, clothing color and hair length for this purpose.
Our goal with these lessons is to create a space in which children feel safe, loved and valued. I have embedded learning goals within the lessons, but my primary goal is to nurture the children’s basic brain needs of safety and connection first.
Some educators are already well into their distance learning, while others have had minimal contact with students since school closed, and yet others are already planning ahead for next year in the event periodic closures continue. Regardless of where you are in your process, I encourage you to infuse your efforts with a focus on safety and connecting activities. Conscious Discipline offers many free printables and crafts that might be helpful as you develop your own methods for reaching out to families while schools are closed. The Brain Smart Start video and printable, active calming icons, wishing well ritual, and I Love You Ritual video and activities are all extremely helpful.
As you begin computer-based learning with your students or as you continue with your existing learning plans, I hope this sample lesson will inspire your own unique ideas for increasing the safety, connection, effectiveness and playfulness of your plan. We are all in this together and I wish you well!
- 00:00 Time for Computer School transition song
- 00:26 Check the schedule (builds time management, prioritization skills)
- 00:37 Welcome circle greeting and hello (math, connection, choice, impulse control)
- 02:37 Attendance and absent child ritual (wishing well, math)
- 05:27 Check the schedule (shapes)
- 06:03 Brain Smart Start
- 15:00 Check the schedule
- 15:30 Movement: Monkey movement (phonics, listening & following directions, choice, impulse control)
- 17:45 Check the schedule
- 18:07 Large group activity: Musical instruments (stop/ go, fast/slow, high/low, impulse control)
- 21:22 Check the schedule
- 22:00 Closing circle: Monkey breathing (active calming, phonics, math), commitment check-up, goodbye (choices, math, rhyme, phonics)