Family Time Online – Project Execution
In this section, the project’s execution will be outlined.
Families and educators were recruited into the project to engage in weekly online sessions to help familiarize children, caretakers, parents, and family members with online programming. This also benefited the educators, who were able to practice delivering programs online that they normally conduct in-person.
Parents and caretakers were also given guidance for education and employment as needed.
The first step was to establish a Steering Committee. The members of this committee included educators, researchers, and experts.
Next, families and educators were recruited. Educators from Family and Early Childhood programs were invited to participate with the families under their care. The selection criteria for families were:
- An established relationship with the educator(s).
- Newborn to 3 years of age.
- Committed and willing to share their feedback.
- Employment or education needs which was desirable but not essential.
It was critical that access to internet would not be a barrier to this project. Any family who participated and did not have an internet connection was provided one, and the cost of this was covered by the project.
Chromebooks and computer mice were distributed to the families and educators. Some families did not have any kind of laptop prior to this distribution, and families were able to keep the Chromebook after the conclusion of the project, ensuring they would be able to continue to access online programming.
Literacy kits were also distributed to both families and educators, ensuring both parties had the same materials. This allowed educators to mirror the child/children during programming, which helped increase engagement. The materials included books, toys, art supplies, and paper.
“I just opened the boxes; I am not one of the ‘people who cry’ at touching things in this office. I am overjoyed to the point of tears knowing I can bring these high-quality materials for my family to use together.”-Educator
“There were so many learning opportunities in these past six weeks and I am grateful for having the privilege to have participated in such an amazing opportunity.”-Parent/Caretaker
Challenges During COVID
Originally, families were to be recruited from the Public Health Assessments. However, these had stopped due to COVID.
Materials were often difficult to order due to supply chain issues. Ordering supplies in bulk was sometimes impossible, or they arrived late. This was an issue for cohort 1, however, educators were able to share some materials in order to make sure there were enough for both them and the families. By cohort 2 this problem had mostly been resolved, as the materials were arriving in a timely manner.
Next – Results, Conclusion and Evalution