Big changes often involve lots of learning. When settling into their new or ‘for-now’ communities, children and adults will need to learn new routines, languages, and rules, environments, and cultural norms, among other things. So much learning may feel overwhelming, but knowing that they are good learners can build young children’s confidence. And learning new things together can help families forge unique bonds that can help them through future challenges.
Learning can happen anytime, anywhere—and these resources can help you get started right away…playfully!
Remember: As you explore these resources, remember that your safety, security, and comfort are your priorities. It’s okay to focus on just making sure you and your children feel safe and calm. In those moments, a deep breath or a quiet moment may be all you need (or, sometimes, all you can do). If you still feel stressed, it’s okay to take your time and come back when you’re ready.
Daily Routines Intro
Ordinary moments such as getting dressed, preparing meals, cleaning up, or bedtime can be opportunities to learn together. In these moments, you can help your child build skills for learning new words, reading, writing, math, and so much more. Your life—and routines—may look and feel different right now, but even one or two consistent moments in a child’s day can build their sense of security.
Before you watch this video, make a list together of things you usually do during the day, starting with first thing in the morning. Ask, “What are some things we do each day?” “What do you look forward to?”
This can also be a time to talk about what’s different and what’s the same as before. You can remind children that it’s okay to miss how things used to be—and still enjoy life now, too.
Then, watch this video with your child and think about ways you might learn together throughout the day. Write your ideas down next to the things you wrote on your list.
Learning New Things
Children are natural learners, and in challenging times, learning can be a source of comfort, joy, and even hope. A child’s ability to learn is something that doesn’t change even when life’s circumstances do. The skills they learn can build confidence and remind them that they have so much to contribute to their new (or “for now”) community. Plus, sharing what they’ve learned with family or friends can spark conversations and strengthen relationships.
As a caring grown-up, you can help your child develop a love of learning simply by encouraging their curiosity, talking, and listening. Consider the ideas below.
Ask and Wonder
When we encourage children to approach the day (or any new situation) with curiosity, we help to build their resilience, too. Invite children to engage with the world around them like a scientist might, by asking questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
Remind children that it’s okay to ask questions (and it’s also okay for you to not have all the answers. Figuring things out can be a fun part of the process!
Look and Learn
As you settle into your new (or “for-now”) community, children will have many opportunities to learn. As you go about your day, be on the lookout for letters, numbers, colors, and shapes and point them out.
Make learning new words into a game! Point to an object and ask, “What’s that called?” Say the word in your native language and then try it in English. Make a list of words you’d like to learn (for instance, color words, words for animals, or names of foods) and keep track of your progress.
Rest and Remember
The quiet moments before bedtime are great moments to reflect on what children have learned during the day. Talk together: What surprised you? What was new or interesting?
Then, before going to sleep, say these words together:
Even though many things have changed and may change,
I am still me. I can learn new things.
I am a learner, and no one can take that away from me.
I know my letters and numbers!
Your child’s experience of school in your new or “for-now” community will likely be very different than what they’re used to. You can help them prepare by practicing letters and numbers. Invite children to color these pages. Can they name each letter and each numeral?
Here are more ways to prepare children for school:
- Search for letters and numbers all around you (look at signs when you’re out and about: “Can you find the letter A?” “Can you find the number 3?”).
- Help children practice writing their first names.
- Help children practice writing numbers. You might invite them to copy your phone number and say each number in it (this will help them memorize it, too!).
- Help children practice holding a pencil or crayon with their thumb and finger supporting the tip.
- Write (and say) a number between 1 and 10 and invite your child to hold up that many fingers.
- Share stories and read books together.
Launch Make Your Mark
Children can learn so much about themselves, each other, and the world around them when they create art. Artmaking can also be a healing activity—helping children (and grown-ups) express some of their big feelings. Invite children to make some digital art using this artmaker game. Then ask them to tell you about what they’ve made. There are different art activities to choose from; for each, you might ask: