Mind the Gap: teaching social distancing in early education

By September 24, 2020Parkland Players
social distancing

“Mind the bubble! Mind the Gap! Everyone, respect each other’s space!”
The child started spacing the characters and lined them up around the corner store.
“Please sanitize your hands! Keep social distancing!” she exclaims.

 

The Lego projected this child’s view of the world around her. Not one character is looking at each other’s face in the line. The clear knowledge of physical distancing, respecting spaces, and respecting the other was presented. Our educators have incorporated the safety measures to each program through play and putting visuals around the center to remind children and still have a fun and educational environment. The notion of keeping distance is still odd in early childhood settings yet respecting other’s time and space is a great intellectual and essential skill to have. The educators have altered their tone of voice, language, and gesture to bring forth the idea of social and physical distancing.

 

How to explain social distancing

For example, we explained to the children that building block corners will be divided into two groups so more children can join the exploration in a bigger space. And we also asked children to build a structure together to encourage teamwork, patients, and accomplishment through the process.

The benefits were children were having fun, taking turns, organizing their thoughts, respecting other’s choices, and space while one was putting the block, and all were soc

ially and physically distanced while exploring together. We minded everyone’s bubble, gap, and space. We talked about why we need to keep our distance, wash our hands, and wait for turns.

Like the child who created the scene of the corner store, children have the right to know the why, what, and when of these measures and concerns. And they are capable to follow the lead and continue to explore the world in their unique ways. The challenges can be brainstormed among the children and educators together, we can always open the new discussion to bring notions of what is going on outside so all can mind the gap.

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