As we prepare for a new school year, one that will be drastically different than years in the past, we want to encourage you to focus on the social and emotional aspects of the children returning to your program.
Every family has experienced this pandemic differently, just like you and your family may have. Some may have experienced a financial loss, stress, high levels of food insecurity, or concerns about rent and utilities. Some may have experienced isolation and a sense of loss, anxiety, and fear. Some may have lost a friend or family member due to COVID-19 or related complications. And some might not have a way to express all that has changed in their lives since March, but your gut tells you something is off and different.
In addition to the children returning to your program, parents and caregivers may have varying levels of feelings. Some may feel comfortable sending their children back to preschool as it has been very stressful for them at home or they may be in an "I don't have a choice" situation with lots of fear and worries-- either way, it is not easy adjusting to our "new normal."
These are complex issues that are coming to your doorstep. We wanted to remind you that we can help. During this time of living in a COVID-19 world, we have partnered with Mental Health Expert, Eric Mundt, and his incredible team at Marriage & Family Services. If you encounter a parent or child that may be having a challenging time, please encourage them to call Eric at 561.503.3059.
Needless to say, the children in your care will need some extra patience, room to share their feelings, a chance to take big breaths when emotions are high and overwhelming.
Thankfully, this is what early childhood educators do best! Early childhood educators build strong and positive relationships with the children in their class. With your help, children will regain their sense of comfort, safety and build confidence over the next few weeks. It is your time to shine!
We remain in awe of the early learning community, educators, business owners, directors, support staff, including maintenance staff. We are not through these crises yet, but we know that we are in this together, and we are here to support you.
The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County