By: David Cohen
Life is a little bit harder these days. We need to remember masks, follow protocols, and deal with the stresses of the pandemic. However, when you walk into an early childhood classroom, you feel like everything is okay. Why? Exceptional educators! Teachers of young children were already used to health precautions. More importantly, they are cognizant of the impact that their attitudes and interactions will have on each child’s day and their overall development. As parents and other adults in children’s lives, we can implement some of these same strategies.
I have had the pleasure of working with fellow early childhood teachers for 30 years. Through national emergencies, including our current situation, we bring our enthusiasm, our sincere appreciation for what each child is experiencing and a focus on supporting each child. From behind the walls of the of the school, where parents cannot currently see, I am inspired by the professionalism.
Teachers continue to interact with warmth and closeness, despite the risks involved. They embrace the crying child, help to open a yogurt cup and celebrate the victories in learning. Masks have become a non-issue, with children seeing them as no different than other clothing. Handwashing and sanitizing throughout the day are only modestly increased from pre-covid procedures. This does not reflect a lack of seriousness; rather, it is a focus on what is most important. We are here to provide an outstanding early childhood education.
In some instances, teachers are moving to distance education with little notice. We know how challenging this can be for older children. For our youngest students, it is a challenge just to stay emotionally connected. Still, our teachers persevere.
I encourage you to follow the model set by these early childhood educators. Take all of the precautions. Follow the regulations and advice given by health authorities. But, don’t lose sight of the fact that life continues and that our children will continue to learn. If we teach them, through our actions, to adapt and move on, we have provided a very important lesson.