Many teachers, students and their families can agree on one thing after experiencing the unexpected hurricane that was distance learning this spring: It must improve — especially in the earliest grades, transitional kindergarten through second grade.
Our youngest students, from ages 4 to 9, need more supervision throughout the day and help with the technology that enables learning. They are developmentally different from their older peers in ways that significantly impact how they best learn. Distance-learning practices must reflect that reality.
As educational researchers, we learned from conversations with teachers, school leaders, parents and early-education experts what strategies were effective for initiating and sustaining student engagement in the spring. Anyone responsible for supporting young students in distance learning could benefit from employing these approaches.
Obviously, distance instruction is not the same