When Community Services for Children made the difficult decision to shut down our buildings as a precaution to keep staff, children, and families healthy, it was certain to everyone that there was a need to develop a new way to communicate with those who depend on us. As CSC’s CEO and President Paula Margraf shared, we quickly pivoted to develop a new way to stay connected with our enrolled children by providing valuable education, but also to help them maintain routine and continuity, which is equally valuable in addressing social and emotional needs of the child. Addressing all facets of wellness is especially important among the disadvantaged population we are serving, who are often already confronted with much uncertainty.
The teachers at CSC began to develop recorded lessons, which were posted on the Community Services for Children YouTube Channel. In just a three-month period, the channel has been viewed over 20,000 times. Courses of study included lessons in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Arts, Literacy, and Fine Motor Skills. Early Head Start video lessons were developed for the youngest children we serve, ranging in age from birth to three years old. Additional lessons are available in Spanish.
Jamie Kemmerer, lead teacher in the Newton Classroom where the curriculum focuses on STEM education, recently took time to share her experience of being away from the classroom and separated from the children she is passionate about educating.
What was your first thought when you heard classrooms were closing?
When we got the email stating classrooms would be closing for the remainder of the school year I was very shocked and sad. Shocked because I couldn’t believe the impact that this illness was having in our day to day life and the fact that from now on there was going to be a new “normal.” I was also very sad because I never had the chance to say good-bye to my students, tell them how proud I was of them for all they achieved this school year, or give them one last hug as I sent them off to kindergarten.
When you first heard about creating teach at-home lessons, what did you think?
I thought it was an awesome idea and a great way to keep our students involved academically during such an unprecedented time. The videos allowed us to help our students practice skills in different learning domains and prepare them for kindergarten as best we could from being stuck at home.
What was your favorite lesson you created?
My favorite lesson was a science lesson about trees. In this lesson I taught the students about their five senses, we sang a song together, and then explored the different characteristics of a tree using our senses. I ended the lesson by encouraging the students to get outside and explore a tree in their backyard or neighborhood. This was my favorite lesson because being outdoors and getting to explore nature is something very exciting for children. It allows for observation, creativity, and discovery.
What are you looking forward to most upon returning to the classroom?
I am looking forward to getting back into a routine and a normal schedule. I am also looking forward to seeing my co-workers, they bring me so much happiness! I have missed seeing their smiling faces every day. Lastly, I am super excited to meet my new students and begin another great year at CSC!