FACE program site using technology, household items to promote distance learning

Partners all across the country continue to adapt and innovate during COVID-19.

As a result of school closures in North Dakota, NCFL Family and Child Education (FACE) program site Dunseith Elementary has dramatically changed its instruction and delivery system in recent weeks. Dr. Amy Leonard, Dunseith’s center-based instructor, and assistant Jessica Henry have utilized Facebook more than ever to continue to stay engaged with families. Dunseith is using its Facebook page to share daily instructional videos for its students. These videos cover fine motor skills, gross motor skills, big ideas, and a story of the day.

Dunseith is also using Facebook messenger to maintain in-person contact and share its adult education content. The site is hosting Zoom meetings with parents who have the appropriate technology. Staff are sharing online links to commonly used learning videos from YouTube, such as Cosmic Kids Yoga, Days of the Week, and Months of the Year songs. Staff are also delivering learning packets to families to use during their lessons every couple of weeks. These packets include meals, storybooks, small toys, school supplies, and art projects. To encourage participation, students were given the opportunity to earn prizes for completed activities. 

The majority of the learning assignments have been based on what is available to students within their own homes (along with the supplies provided by Dunseith). These at home opportunities include: scavenger hunts (to encourage physical movement and oral language/communication between parents/children); building towers with pantry items (to encourage hand-eye coordination and to assist families in understanding that any item can become a learning item if the child is provided the correct guidance); and conducting in-house Easter Egg hunts by providing filled eggs in learning packets (to ensure that students are provided similar opportunities at home that they would have been given in the classroom).

As a site, Dunseith has coordinated efforts to synchronize lessons using Google Docs. Staff utilize text messaging, emails, and Zoom sessions with the preschool teacher or adult educator. Local telecommunication has been set up through Wi-Fi hotspots for areas with no internet services.

Staff at Dunseith have excelled in their efforts to assist and enable families during this time. Collectively, they are working to make sure that their program and its people remain connected. Though the use of technology has been significant, the staff truly misses the daily contact with their students—seeing them and interacting with them daily.

To learn more about any of these teaching strategies, reply to this blog requesting more information.