SHOREWOOD — For many students, going to class now means opening up a laptop and logging onto a video chat platform, but the youngest of students don't do that. Their curriculum is more play-based, and that means parents are stepping in to make sure academic goals are still being met.
"I had her sorting the color of the fruits snacks, and then we were tallying up how many of each color there were," Rachel Strelow, the mother of a 4-year-old at St. Robert School in Shorewood, said. "And then counting the total so trying to incorporate some math into things we are already doing."
"I'm also lucky that she's only four, and that I'm teaching or 'teaching' things like 123's and ABC's and that playing is a huge part of learning for them."
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However, it is still extra work on top of her other mom duties.
On the other hand, elementary teachers are working hard to accommodate for the lack of an in-person involvement.
"I basically provide a tool kit of resources or like a menu of activity options for the parents," Gina Flynn, a 4K teacher at St. Robert School said.
Kindergarten teaching doesn't translate well over Zoom or Skype. Instead, she will take pictures of materials involved in an educational activity and post them online to give parents an idea of what to do. Parent involvement is vital for younger students.
"Kind of gave a little description of like you know the main focus or goal of this activity, and then they could try to replicate it; however, it works in their house. But it's still important she manages to get a little FaceTime in with her students," she said.
Parents are filling in as substitute teachers to keep academic goals in progress. And teachers, especially elementary ones, are working hard to combat the lack of in-person instruction that is so crucial at young ages.