Remote preschool: The “hows, whys and what ifs”?

By Trevor Osterhaus |
April 20, 2020 |
Children's Mental Health

Mental Health Mondays:
Remote preschool:  The “hows, whys and what ifs”?

by Deb Mugno, Ed.D.
Director of Education, Lucy Daniels School

Remote learning for preschoolers can be especially challenging because so much of what is learned in preschool depends on the close teacher-child relationship as well as the development of peer relationships. Preschool teachers all over the world are using interactive virtual platforms to help maintain those relationships, but often this is most successful when parents accompany and supervise their child during class meetings, story times etc., supporting peer and teacher interaction.

Play is also a critical part of every preschool day and helps children develop and experiment with peer relationships, learn key problem-solving concepts and engage with a variety of toys and materials. When you are able to sit down and play with your child, try out the following prompts. They just might encourage your child to expand play into more creative and imaginary realms. You might say:

What would happen if…?

How does this work?

Is there anything you would change?

How could you…?

Tell me about…?

I wonder why…?

What made you think of that?

Children also need to learn to play independently for sustained periods of time (depending on their developmental level) and parents who are working from home are challenged to provide activities that young children can participate in quietly with only visual supervision. Simple, minimal prep ideas for even the youngest children are available online at some of the websites listed below. Favorites that use things you likely already have at home include:

  • Sensory play in a large storage bin filled with shredded paper. Add cars, trucks or hide objects in the paper for treasure hunts.
  • Stringing Cheerios, Froot Loops, pasta or cut up straws with yarn to make necklaces and bracelets for themselves or their stuffed animals
  • Sorting Lego blocks, buttons, torn pieces of colored paper, etc. into plastic bowls, muffin tins, or paper plates by shape, color, size etc.
  • Decorating a wall or a piece of furniture with post-it notes
  • Matching bottoms and lids, stack, and sorting plastic food containers
  • Matching tops and bottoms of plastic eggs
  • Using plastic cookie cutters to trace designs on paper.

Keep in mind that these are only suggestions for preschoolers as they too have joined their older siblings in temporary remote learning. Hugs, kisses, snuggles and kind words create special memories and build stronger relationships that last for a lifetime.

To find out more about remote learning for preschoolers or to get more information about Lucy Daniels School, go to:

Lucy Daniels Center is currently operating via telehealth services due to Covid-19. If you would like to request a consultation with a mental health clinician, please click here: