School buildings may be closed due to the covid-19 pandemic, but William Paterson University’s College of Education early childhood professors in residence (PIRs) are supporting school districts in new virtual ways.
To offer teachers extra support, the College of Education created the WP Early Childhood Learning Community Facebook page, a growing source of virtual teaching ideas, resources, activities and skill-building exercises. Posts range from a video featuring messages of support by PIRs to William Paterson clinical experience students reading aloud to their students. One recent post, by two preschool teachers from partner professional development schools, offers a video tribute to mothers.
Since the pandemic, Cynthia Gennarelli, director of early childhood innovation and adjunct professor of elementary and early childhood education, says that the PIRs are staying in contact via weekly Microsoft Team meetings. They are working on individual district goals, from building a library of books to support social emotional development and positive behaviors to creating a virtual family Makerspace/STEM night event.
Gennarelli also hosts separate weekly virtual “huddle up” meetings with teachers, principals and other stakeholders. “My favorite outcome from these meetings is that district master teachers are communicating with each other, asking the virtual group questions and seeking advice,” she says. “Everyone discusses what they are doing in their districts, and I’m amazed at the amount of collaboration and support they offer each other.”
“The collaboration and sharing of resources, remote curriculum and other materials has helped many trying to navigate and transition their families to remote learning and has strengthened our network,” she adds.
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