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ECE Center Adapted to Remote Learning

School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that our teen moms and their children who attended the Florence Crittenton ECE Center moved to online learning. MonaLisa Martinez, ECE Center Director, and her staff worked quickly to adapt in-person…

July 21, 2020
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School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that our teen moms and their children who attended the Florence Crittenton ECE Center moved to online learning. MonaLisa Martinez, ECE Center Director, and her staff worked quickly to adapt in-person learning and classroom routines to remote and digital for FloCrit’s youngest learners. “Children today are very tech savvy,” says Martinez. “The way they can work a tablet and a cell phone is amazing. A lot of our children have been exposed to e-books, and watch nursery rhymes and songs online with their parents.” This made the transition to remote learning a little easier.

Technology has allowed the ECE Center teachers to stay in touch with their moms and their children. ECE Center teachers used individual classroom accounts on an app called Class Dojo, which is used in many elementary schools already. FloCrit teen moms received an early introduction to these apps, which they will carry on when their children go into elementary school. Class Dojo allows the ECE Center teachers to communicate with their moms privately in the classroom group, as well as do activities they normally do in the classroom like circle time and story time. The app also allows teachers to just to say hello to each child in their classroom and be in communication with both the mother and her child. “One of our teachers said a particular child who is a 2-year-old will actually pick up the phone and tell his mom his teacher’s name,” says Martinez. “That means he wants her on the phone. He’s missing her and he wants to hear her voice.” Martinez continues, “It is so important that the children are seeing and hearing their teachers and they’re doing that through this app.” ECE Center staff also created an app for the ECE parent community where both the teen moms and dads can interact with teachers. Here, teachers share activities that teen parents can do at home for development with household material like paper towel rolls or bowls and a ball.

The campus closure has had a huge impact on our little ones as they adjust to a new routine and learning environment. Every teen mom received the daily routine schedule from her child(ren)’s classroom(s). They are utilizing that schedule at home, and keeping that routine is helpful for them because they can plan to do their own schoolwork when their child is napping or doing an activity. The biggest thing the children are missing is the social engagement with other children in their classroom. This learning environment is harder to replicate at home. ECE Center staff is ready to help the kids adapt when they do eventually return to campus. “Our staff already know the drill on coming back,” says Martinez. Staff helps children adapt to being back at school after any break, whether it is a week for Spring Break or a few months for Summer Break. “The children adapt well. It just takes them a little time,” Martinez explains. “We have strategies and plans for that.”