Friday, March 20, 2020

We're All Scrambling: Talking With Parents About These Interesting Times

With millions of preschoolers staying home from school, we suddenly have millions of parents scrambling to figure out how to step into the role of their children's preschool teachers. They've found themselves as accidental homeschoolers, or as I've been thinking of it in my moments of dark humor: coronavirus homeschoolers.

Contrary to what many in the business and policymaking worlds seem to think, being an early childhood educator is a skilled profession, one that we've spent years honing, practicing, and improving through ongoing professional development. Now, quite suddenly, a generation of adults find themselves in our shoes with little or no training and if my social media feed is a reliable barometer (and it probably isn't) a lot of them have already concluded that we deserve raises.

In unprecedented times, we are all finding ourselves having to scramble. As for me, I had a full schedule of speaking engagements at conferences around the country cancelled or postponed, wiping out 90 percent of my expected income for the next 2-3 months and maybe longer. I'm not sharing this to evoke pity, but rather by way of letting you know that, one of the ways I've shifted gears is to work with my friends at Fairy Dust Teaching to produce my first e-course called Partnering with Parents: Making Allies of the Parents of the Children You Teach. It's a six-part series in which I've shared what I've learned from my two decades as a teacher in a cooperative school, working day-after-day in close partnership with parents. The series launches on March 28, but I've just completed a bonus episode entitled Talking with Parents About These "Interesting" Times, which will be available immediately to anyone who signs up.

This series is intended for teachers, even though there is plenty of good information for parents as well, but much of it assumes a certain level of experience, so as a veteran preschool teacher, I thought it might be useful to begin offering some thoughts, tips, and advice to parents who, unprepared, have been thrust into a new role. Below is the first in a series of free 2-4 minute videos I will be making in the coming days that I hope will be helpful. If you're a teacher, feel free to share it with your families or simply take any of the thoughts and ideas you find useful and make them your own. If you're a parent and you find it useful, you might want to share it with other parents.

As a play-based educator, I strive to avoid telling people what to do and instead make my own thinking as clear as I can. At preschool, it's the children's job to take it or leave it, which is how I feel about this blog and any tips I offer for coronavirus homeschoolers. My hope is that I can provide food for thought and reflection as you scramble to figure out these unprecedented times.

I hope you find today's tip useful. And please join me on Fairy Dust Teaching.

I hate to do this, but I earn most of my income by speaking at education conferences and running in-person workshops. I've just had 95 percent of my income wiped out for the next 6 months. I know I'm not the only one living with economic insecurity, but if you like what you read here, please consider hitting the donation button below. Or even better, sign up for Partnering With Parents a 7-part e-course designed to help you make allies of the parents of the children you teach. Thank you!

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
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