Remote Learning in Early Childhood
Although many districts and teachers have struggled to provide online learning, those who serve young children were perhaps least prepared. And although nearly all states have developed guidance and resources to support students and families since the pandemic started, they often lack an effective remote learning model for preK-3 that is rooted in child development theories and practices.
Only nine states require districts to give special consideration to the unique needs of remote learning for preK-3 students.
The pandemic caused huge learning loss to children of all ages, in academics and social-emotional learning. Of all the age groups, youngest learners likely suffered the most from distance learning challenges because they learn best from effective human interaction, hands-on exploration, and all kinds of sensory and physical activities. They should not be expected to attend to math or reading instruction in front of a computer or television screen for typical in-person class lengths. They need music, arts, movement, and hands-on projects to stimulate learning. They also have social and emotional needs—understanding and managing emotions, showing empathy, establishing healthy relationships, setting positive goals, and making responsible decisions—that require sustained adult interaction and engagement with peers. Yet during the pandemic, most inevitably will be increasing their screen time if they are to keep learning. …