Supporting Children and Families During COVID-19
Support children’s social and emotional needs
As children return to child care and school, they may struggle to adjust after so many months at home. They may be coping with increased stress or the loss of loved ones, and new routines — like wearing masks — may be hard for them.
The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) has developed a series of resources to help providers support families during COVID-19.
Get an introduction to NCPMI’s resources
While NCPMI created the video for programs implementing the Pyramid model, it has useful information for any program starting back up.
Read NCPMI’s guide on reopening
NCPMI’s guide covers lots of important topics, including how to let families know about new routines and procedures and learn about children’s experiences while they were out of school. Read the Leadership Team’s Guide to Reopening Programs.
Help children get comfortable wearing masks
Getting young children to put on mask — and keep them on — is a challenge. Some kids may be anxious about the idea. NCPMI has guidance on how to make wearing a mask seem less intimidating. Read Wearing Masks from NCPMI in English or Spanish.
The CT Pyramid Partnership and OEC also have a video for providers about encouraging children to wear masks.
Get guidance on connecting with families
NCPMI has guidance and resources to help you partner with families.
NCPMI has also compiled resources for families and professionals during the emergency — including general strategies for decreasing stress and preventing challenging behavior. Get guidance from NCPMI.
Support learning at home
Learning resources related to the emergency
- Connecticut’s Department of Education has guidance for teachers — from preK and up — when schools are closed. Read their resources to support student learning.
- The Illinois Early Learning Project has many resources related to Learning at Home During Trying Times.
- OEC and the CT State Department of Education created a video supporting distance learning for teachers and providers. Watch the video.
General learning resources
- RESC Alliance has shared a list of tools and resources for PK3 and early care programs as a Google Spreadsheet.
- WIDA Early Years — which is housed at the University of Wisconsin Madison — has a resource with activities to start conversations with young children about their families, how they play, and more. It’s available in 4 languages. Download Learning Language Every Day: Activities for Families.
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has research-based resources to help children learn at home. Explore NAEYC’s page for families.
- Scholastic has a program of weekly activities and play starters. See Scholastic’s Learn at Home for PreK-K.
- Good Things for Young Children has several sets of daily activities in English and Spanish. Download 30 Days of Good Things for Young Children.
Support children and families as they transition to kindergarten
Transitioning to kindergarten is often an exciting time for children and their families. But even under usual circumstances, change can be hard. That will be especially true this year, as families and schools navigate the unpredictable impact of COVID-19.
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and OEC provided guidance regarding kindergarten transition in the publication Transitioning to Kindergarten: The Why, What and How of this Important Milestone for Connecticut Students. In addition, CSDE recently updated the document What Parents Should Know About Kindergarten Entry, Enrollment, and Attendance.
Recently, OEC and CSDE created a joint memo to help early educators and schools work together to support children and families at they transition to kindergarten in fall 2020. Learn about the guiding principles and key components of successful transitions. Read the guidance document Transitioning to Kindergarten During a Public Health Emergency.
Connect with families remotely
- Eastern Connecticut State University has guidance on building strong relationships with families from a distance, including information about exploring families’ needs and the importance of play. Learn how to keep relationships strong during COVID-19.
- Ready4K has guidance on how to keep families up to date by email and texts without overwhelming them. Watch the video on creating messages that motivate.
- NCPMI held a webinar to address questions from providers about using technology to help families. Watch their video on providing distance family support.
Refer families to key resources
Encourage families to use 2-1-1. It’s the go-to resource for families in Connecticut — especially during COVID-19. Families can get access to counselors, financial help, crisis support, and more. Tell them to dial 2-1-1 or visit the 2-1-1 website.
Refer families to OEC resources. They can check out our resources for families section, which has helpful information about finding child care during COVID-19, helping their children learn from home, and getting support. You can also distribute our handout on how they can stay emotionally healthy during the emergency.
Access professional development on remote learning
- Participate in learning modules from the Technology in Early Childhood Center at the Erikson Center on 4 different remote learning topics
- The Regional Education Centers provide weekly office hours to discuss topics related to remote learning. Check for weekly topics and links to join.
- A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is a team of educators, who share ideas to enhance their teaching practice and create a learning environment to support all young children. If you are interested in participating in a PLC related to remote learning, see the attached flyer for more information.
It’s a stressful time for teachers and caregivers. You may be feeling pressure and anxiety. You may be supporting children and families who have lost a loved one or experienced significant stress and changes as a result of COVID-19.
Remember that it’s important to take care of yourself too! Get tips for providers on how to take care of yourself — and share them with your colleagues.