The daycare centers will remain closed for the time being in times of Corona. But how can educators still contact the children at home? Media bridges can form a creative path from daycare to families. The initiative office “Growing up with the media” gives tips for practice.
Children big and small stay at home and cannot go to kindergarten, day care or school as usual. This is not only a great challenge for the parents, but also a far-reaching change in the children’s everyday lives. While the older ones are supposed to work on school material at home, the younger ones look around questioningly. While mum and dad work from home whenever possible, they lack contact with their friends and educators in kindergarten. Digital media can build a bridge at this point. Even if digital media for small children should be available in small bites and balanced alongside other leisure activities, in times of the coronavirus they offer a creative way to open up new spaces of experience and to keep in touch with caregivers.
Building Media Bridges- The Idea
According to daycare center, presents in a podcast of the local network DigiKids how his daycare center builds media bridges with the children at home. The basic idea consists of child-friendly creative videos. The educators create short videos for the children in the families. In the videos they show what they would do every day with the children in kindergarten, for example movement or finger games, they sing children’s songs and speak rhymes that the children know and can say. The puppy can also drop by the children at home, practice hands-on stories or do handicrafts on the screen.
Building Media Bridges- The Challenges
Up to now, digital media have seldom been integrated into everyday daycare. That brings challenges. In addition to the motivation of the specialists, daycare centers need technical equipment, internet connection and some support from parents.
The participation of the specialists is the basis for the project. They bring in the educational content from day-to-day daycare. Puppet theater, magic tricks, picture book stories or painting suggestions, there are hardly any limits to the creativity of the educators.
The technical implementation, however, does not have to be hocus-pocus. In the podcast, Martin Mucha expressly gives the tip that the videos or voice messages do not have to be flawless or technically perfect. Often the children do not even notice this, as the contact with the educators is the focus for them.
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The videos can be recorded with a camera with video function, a smartphone or tablet. It is helpful to have a quiet environment and a tripod or a solid surface to keep the picture steady. This means that the children can concentrate fully on the video and are not distracted by the content. The easiest way in the technical implementation are clips that are completely recorded once by the specialists. The specialists start the recording, play the content and stop the recording again. Post-processing is then not necessary. Supporting options for filming are, for example, apps such as iMovie or Stop Motion Studio. The media pedagogy practice blog also offers other creative ways with tips for technical implementation.
An exchange of experiences between colleagues about media productions and mutual technical support is also helpful.
The videos don’t have to be long. Short film clips with a finger game are just as valuable as a 3-minute play with the puppet and the crocodile. Long recordings can cause problems for the children as they are not able to maintain concentration and attention that long. Simple storylines or focusing on just one craft item are also recommended.
The finished videos can then be forwarded to the parents via the messenger app, email or your own YouTube channel.
Especially with the first videos that arrive at home with the families, the parents should accompany their children while they are watching or listening in order to get to know the new spaces of experience and to be there for their questions. Perhaps the parents will then also give feedback on how their children have received the videos.
A Little More Support is Needed
If you don’t want to implement everything on your own, you can also get support with the media implementation. Libraries, media centers and sometimes even the youth welfare office can be helpful local partners. Perhaps a youth club, the adult education center or other media workers or a parent will also provide support. Interested parties can also join together in so-called local networks for good growth with the media and help each other.
Even if a distance is required in times of Corona, telephone tips or contacting local partners on site for the time afterwards is never wrong.