I’m not going to beat around the bush, this isn’t how I want to teach, but the most recent data suggests that many schools, including preschools, will be doing a hybrid of in-person and distance learning in the 2020-2021 school year. With the assumption that we will start our school year in person, this is how I plan on teaching distance learning preschool for the remainder of this year and during closures next year if needed. This system may not work for your preschool because of curriculum constraints or other issues. It may simply not be your style. Use what works, let my system inspire your own. We all find our groove with teaching in different ways.
How To Prepare for Distance Learning Preschool
Decide on your remote learning schedule before you have to close your preschool, if possible. For my 3-year-old class, I record one video a week that includes reading one book and doing a small lesson with that story. I then send that video along with corresponding activities in an email to parents. These activities use only everyday materials or the materials I have sent home in a remote learning materials pack. You may decide on a more frequent schedule for your students, remember to do what works for you and your students. Follow their needs, not some expectation based on what you see other teachers do.
Create a remote learning materials pack for your students. The contents are linked below, and every activity I send home in my distance learning lesson plans uses only items from this list. This helps parents adjust quickly and not worry about gathering all the materials needed for these lesson plans. It may be a good idea to think about adding this into your registration costs or changing your materials budget to allow for these packets. You can also ask parents to have these on hand if they can gather these items on their own. If your school has extended closures, you may need to replenish materials. You can send this home with your students on the first day of school, but I suggest holding them at school until you are notified of an impending closure.
Remote Learning Preschool Materials Pack
This list includes affiliate links.
Paint – ( just primary colors – we sent them home in to-go cups like these.)
Craft supplies ( pom poms, googly eyes, cotton balls, buttons, fuzzy stems)
When your preschool goes remote
Send home the remote learning materials packs. Send it with a note saying you are going to have so much fun learning in a new way.
Stay positive, you will set the tone, and this is going to be fun, different, but fun. Don’t forget to include the schedule you plan on following and what they can expect from you.
Now is the time to ask parents if they have access to a printer – if not, make a note of which students you may need to send printables to if you choose to include any in your lesson plans.
Also, expect that some families may opt-out. Do not take this personally. Every family deals with these closures in their own way. Some dive into productivity while others completely ignore the outside world and create a new normal to get through. I always stress that these activities are optional.
It’s Time To Teach Remotely
My lessons include these things :
A recorded read aloud with a short lesson.
Suggested Activities – including explanations for parents
Links to more crafts/ activities.
Read a picture book to your students via video or a streaming service like Zoom. I do not make this live as I do not want my families to feel like they have to fit my schedule. All learning is asynchronous, allowing families to share devices. Add a short lesson that goes with the story. Yes, it feels silly if you are not interacting with your students, but you’ll get over that quickly. My lessons are often sorting, counting together, or classifying using the themes from the book.
Send caregivers an email with a link to the video and a lesson plan full of preschool activities that coordinate with the book. See my example below.
Remember, if your families do not have access to a printer, avoid printable activities, or print them out and send home.
Distance Learning Lesson Plans For Preschool
Here is an example email to my students. Please note the video is not linked as I use my students’ names in it, and I do not make them public.
Book Video Here – The Grumpy Morning by Pamela Duncan Edwards, a book about grumpy farm animals.
What Lives on A Farm? – gather animal figurines or stuffed toys, making sure to have some farm animals. Make two piles, one of the farm animals, one of the animals not found on a farm. I have included a printable of pictures you can use instead of toys.
How Do They Feel Mad or Sad? Print and cut out the attached emotion cards. Sit with your child and show them one picture at a time. Ask your child how the child in the picture feels. Ask your child to make the same face as the child in the photo. How do they feel when they make that face? Continue. If your child loses interest partway through, pick the activity up again another day. Don’t push.
Farm Song – we all know Old MacDonald and it does have a special place in my heart, but I love this one too. I have included a printable lyrics sheet in the attachments as well.
Down on the farm, Early in the morning
See the little ______ All in a row.
See the busy farmer Feeding them breakfast. _______, ______, ______. Off they go!
Fill in the blanks with the animal s and their sounds.
cow / moo moo moo
pig / oink oink oink
Painting with Veggies Grab some paper, paint, and the ends of veggies from your compost pile. Use the ends of carrots, celery, potatoes… anything you have to explore printmaking.
Cotton Ball Sheep – This is a fun little craft. This simple craft helps children explore textures while they create something fun.
Shape Scarecrow – this is a fun way to learn and create with shapes.
Resources for Remote Learning Preschool Activities
I keep it simple. Obviously, you can add many more ideas that depending on your students and your school’s expectations. My emails include some written out instructions and some links. I have found that this helps me focus attention on the more valuable activities while still offering more ideas that families can do if they have time.
You might be thinking this is great, but where do you find all the activities to include in the lessons?
Right here! I have over 1000 preschool activities you can link or type out into your emails. Tons of printables you can link as well. You can also check out other blogs like Toddler Approved ( she has ideas for older kids too), Prek Pages, Red Ted Art, and more.
Over the next few months, I will be sharing Book Activities weekly, where you can quickly find activities for your remote learning emails. They will be based around popular picture books an will hopefully provide the resource you need to create these video lessons and emails to facilitate distance learning preschool for your students. They include free printables, hands-on activities, and more!
I also have a series of Nursery Rhyme Activities ready to be used for your remote learning plans.
Finally, I have a library of thematic units for sale. Browse through my library and find the right theme for your class.