Teaching Opportunities During Uncertain Times: It’s Okay to Let the Littles Play Featured

Alicia Jenne’ is a Tuscaloosa mom and a veteran teacher of little people. She is the PreK Pals Lead Teacher for PreK#1 at Rock Quarry Elementary School. Alicia Jenne’ is a Tuscaloosa mom and a veteran teacher of little people. She is the PreK Pals Lead Teacher for PreK#1 at Rock Quarry Elementary School. Alicia Jenne

There is so much uncertainty right now due to COVID-19. Many schools closed at the end of the day on the Friday before spring break here – only to later be notified that schools would be out for many, many more weeks. The PreKPals teachers at Rock Quarry Elementary were worried that this might happen and that schools would go to e-learning.  

So, what does this mean for parents of PreKPals, whose screen time at school is limited to 10 minutes per student, per day? We sent home a list of things to do for reading, math, and science. No worksheets for the PreKPals! We also told our parents to use their United Way “Success by 6” calendar that is given to every PreKPal in Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas. One of our teachers made a Facebook page where we’re listing the many wonderful and free things posted by so many caring individuals and businesses.  

Here’s the thing: you don’t need a list of activities for your kids’ free time. You don’t need a calendar or a Facebook page. You don’t need a workbook or a fancy curriculum. All you need to do to make sure your PreKPal is Kindergarten ready is to Let. Them. Play. Learn to make muffins or homemade playdoh. There’s lots of math and science in those activities. Read books, color, cut pictures from magazines, draw with sidewalk chalk, build with Legos or blocks, match socks, learn to fold towels, learn to ride your bike without training wheels, take a walk, look for four leaf clovers, plant flowers, collect rocks, watch birds or clouds… or give them some bowls and spoons and let them make mud pies. Give them a roll of tape and turn them loose with the boxes in the recycling box in the garage.  

And yes, I’d recommend lots of these activities for kids older than PreK.  

Guess what, mommas? It’s okay for your youngsters to be bored. Our brains crave routine and order, and our brains need to create. So, let your youngsters create their own learning. You don’t need to do anything extraordinary. You just need to keep them safe and fed. Let them be little. You’ve heard me say more than once that “play is the work of childhood.”   

As I write this, Annelise (10) Grayson (19) and I are about to go on a nature walk to search for signs of spring. We are going to see how many colors we can find. The only thing we needed for this activity was our shoes and our “scientist eyes.” Enjoy this time with your littlest learner. I hope we all look back and realize that the slowing down, the staying home, and the spending time together was really the hidden blessing we all needed.  

Hang in there, moms and dads. You can do this.  

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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