Two ideas for making this period sustainable and endurable for parents, carers and key workers working with Early Years-age children
As BA (Hons) Early Years course leader at Leeds Beckett University, my thoughts have been with those who have young children at home and how this period can be made sustainable and endurable for parents, carers and key workers looking after children age 0 – 5 during this difficult period.
Whatever shape home life looks like for you at the moment, combining homeschooling and, for many parents, working from home at the same time can make an extremely daunting reality.
My first tip would be to not worry about filling every minute of each day. If your children end up watching more TV or playing games on iPad each day during this time, then do not stress. The best you can do to protect your own mental wellbeing is to be adaptable and ‘roll’ with whatever each day brings. Naturally, emotions are enormously intensed at the moment, but there is wealth of academic research to show the benefits of iPad/technology-activities and the ways in which they can stimulate a number of positive attitudes and behaviours in children (Flewitt et al., 2014), so do not beat yourself up if your children are spending more time on them than normal, and give yourself a mental break.
I have spent time investigating some fantastic resources and ideas from across the Early Years sector to keep your child educated, entertained and exercised without having to leave the house. There are a lot of ideas floating around the internet, but these two I have listed below are ideas created by qualified Early Years practitioners with links to the learning and development requirements included in the Department for Education’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework.
Idea One: #ThisIsPE
Yorkshire Sport Foundation created the idea of #ThisIsPE, a project now in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust, Association for PE (AfPE) and Active Partnerships who are all working together with qualified Physical Education teachers from across the country to help parents/carers teach PE from home.
They have been posting short two-minute videos that show parents, carers and key workers in school free, fun and easy to follow PE activities for everyone to enjoy together. Joe Wicks YouTube channel has been popular, but his videos are more focused on physical fitness training than carefully-planned and age-appropriate PE activities for Early Years-age children.
These are such high-quality resource videos they have caught the eye of the government’s Department for Education and are now a formally recognised and recommended resource to help parents during lockdown. They post a new two-minute lesson at 1pm, Wednesday and Friday. They are posted on their Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter pages so are really easy to access too so just search ‘Yorkshire Sport Foundation’ on any of those sites to access them.
Here are two brilliant examples of the #ThisIsPE videos, one from Primary PE teacher Niall O'Brien on jumping combinations (click here) and one from School Sports Premium Manager Lee Molland on striking for distance (click here).
Idea Two: Tapestry
Tapestry, a huge Early Years Education company whose resources are used in most nurseries, have published a fantastic range of activity ideas that link to the specific areas of learning included in the EYFS. A summary of one week of activities has been included below, and more can be found via their Twitter page @Tapestry_FSF. They also have a wide range of podcasts to help parents during this time which can be found on their website.
If there has been a silver lining to this unsettling period, perhaps it is that it has allowed parents, carer’s and those working in the Early Years community to value the collections, contributions and resources that have been made available to us.
If I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Kate is a Senior Fellow/Lecturer (HEA) in the Carnegie School of Education. She is the Course Team Leader for the BA (Hons) Early Years course and MA Childhood and Early Years course. As Course Team Leader she teaches on, and oversees the provision of, both degree programmes.