Parents, we know you are on triple duty—working, parenting and keeping your kids busy at home—all while striving to keep your household healthy, fed and mentally balanced. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these resources for you and your kids!
SCHOOL REOPENING INFORMATION
Back-to-School Guidance from CDPH
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website offers up-to-the-minute information, guidance and recommendations for the safe reopening of K-12 schools, including vaccine and quarantine recommendations, masking, social distancing, testing, and more.
- Click here to visit the CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California for the 2021-22 School Year home page, which contains links to numerous other related pages.
- Click here to jump straight to the K-12 Schools Reopening Framework and Guidance Q&A, which has recently been updated with additional questions and answers.
CA Safe Schools for All
California’s Safe Schools for All website consolidates key resources and information related to COVID-19 and schools. New resources are added to on a routine basis. Click here to visit the homepage, or click here to go directly to the Parent Page.
CCEE and PACE Reports on Distance Learning and School Reopening
California State PTA and our partner the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) held a series of listening and networking sessions in May and June to learn more about what was going on across the state with families and schools. We analyzed the lessons learned from the three sessions, and compiled an in-depth report which details families’ experiences during the first months of the pandemic, and identifies available resources to address the needs of parents and families. The report also summarizes key take-aways for schools around decision making in distance learning and the safe reopening of schools.
Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), in cooperation with California State PTA, produced “Navigating the Uncertainty of Reopening Schools: A Guide for Parents, Families and the Public.” The report summarizes the current state of knowledge about key issues, and suggests a set of questions that parents and educators should ask when considering plans for reopening during the pandemic. It also includes a summary infographic, which can serve as a valuable handout for community discussions.
LEARNING AT HOME RESOURCES
Just because your kids are away from school doesn’t mean learning has to end. And it doesn’t mean that you have to turn your living room into an all-day classroom, either. If you have internet access, the following websites will provide your kids with hours of self-directed educational activities, games, videos and lessons that can help them stay busy, engaged and entertained.
If your family (or a family you know) doesn’t have internet access at home, please click here to learn about low-cost and free options in your area.
Our partners at Create CA have curated an amazing selection of resources that allow kids to learn about and engage with the arts while homeschooling, or just stuck at home. Not only are they educational, but they can relieve stress and allow kids to pass time in fun and productive ways.
The #CreateAtHome website offers a comprehensive – but not overwhelming – array of collections and activities split into six categories, with at least four resources per section:
- Integrated and General
- Visual and Media Arts
- Performing Arts
- Arts for Healing
- Arts Educators and Professionals
Click here to see all the categories.
Learning from home sites:
- US Census: The US Census is offering over 200 free at-home activities and resources for children in pre-K through 12th grade as part of its Statistics in Schools program. Take advantage of this great opportunity to help your kids learn why it’s important to count everyone – especially children – in the 2020 Census.
- Scholastic – Learn at Home
- Storyline Online
- National Geographic Kids
- Wisconsin Educational Communications Board
- Highlights Kids
- Imagineering in a Box from Khan Academy
- Code Academy
- National Archives – Learning at Home Activities
Virtual field trips:
- Museums with Virtual Tours – Travel & Leisure
- Virtual Museum Tours with Metroplex Social
- 20 Virtual Field Trips to Take With Your Kids
- 33 National Park Tours You Can Take From the Comfort of Your Home
- San Diego Zoo
- Yellowstone National Park tour
- Planet Mars 360-degree tour
- Monterey Bay Aquarium live animal cameras
- Atlanta Zoo panda cam
- Houston Zoo webcams
- Georgia Aquarium beluga whale cam
- Farm Tours from FarmFood360
- Experience Polar Bears on the Tundra
- Great Wall of China
- Boston Children’s Museum Virtual Tour
- Google Museum Collections
- 30 Virtual Field Trips
Podcasts for elementary, middle and high school students:
Free downloadable educational coloring pages:
More resources for parents:
- “Teaching Math to Young Children for Families and Caregivers“: These resources are designed to help families and caregivers support math learning in kids ages 2-8 throughout their daily activities – whether at home or school.
- Summer Stride: Learning Heroes recently created this useful flyer, which offers tips to help families strengthen their child’s summer learning.
- Infomacion Sobre el Coronavirus (en Espanol)
- Resources for Out-of-School Time, National Center for Families Learning
- Your Home School Coach, Springboard Collaborative
- How to Home-School During the Coronavirus (Free Resources), The Today Show
- Get Your Family into the Reading Habit, Our Children Magazine
- Make Learning Fun and Easy (Home Activity Guide), National Inventors Hall of Fame
- “Quarantined” Mom: Day 4, Learning Heroes
- Don’t Have the Internet? Get Two Months FREE Service, Access from AT&T
- Free Online Events and Activities for Kids at Home, CommonSense Media
- Apps for Students with Special Needs, Edutopia
- List of Education Learning Games and Technologies from the US Department of Education provides links to websites
and information about how to access the resources
- Kids’ Zone from the National Center for Educational Statistics and the Institute of Educational Sciences provides
resources for students, families, and educators to support engagement in distance learning settings
- A variety of web tools are summarized by Catlin Tucker, a Google Certified Innovator and Teacher of the Year in 2010
in Sonoma County
- Shasta County Office of Education Resources for Parents
- Tulare County Office of Education Distance Learning Resources
- Imperial County Office of Education TK-12 Digital Resources (Recursos Digitales TK-12)
- Sacramento County Office of Education Remote Learning Resources
- Kern County Superintendent of Schools At-Home Learning Resources
- Alameda County Office of Education Distance Learning Resources
Resources for teachers and school administrators:
- This document from Green Schoolyards America advocates for re-purposing outdoor spaces at schools as a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities, and the health benefits associated with increased access to nature.
- To support local educational agencies transition to virtual learning, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) is partnering with technical assistance providers and expert practitioners to provide resources, guidance, training, and ongoing professional learning for schools and districts.
- Statistics in Schools: These teacher-created resources for pre-K through 12th grade help teach kids why it’s important to count everyone – especially children – in the 2020 Census.
- To the Extent Feasible: Strategies for Success with Distance Learning – This webinar hosted by EdSource discussed effective strategies for high-quality learning.
- Learning Apart, Staying Connected: A Distance Learning Playbook was released on April 8th by PACE and Entangled Solutions. The Distance Learning Playbook was created for California school districts to support the development and roll-out of distance learning plans across the state. The resource is designed especially for administrators at small and medium-sized California districts and is built around integrating the needs of English Learners as the focus of any distance learning plan. The Distance Learning Playbook builds on guidance and resources provided by the California Department of Education and incorporates advice from experts on distance learning.
- Wide Open School: Common Sense Media’s free online resource to help educators and families transition to learning at home. It features the very best resources from publishers, nonprofits, and education companies, including the American Federation of Teachers, Amplify, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Head Start, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop,Time for Kids, XQ Institute, and YouTube.
- Building Powerful Partnerships with Families: This webinar series by Dr. Karen Mapp can help school practitioners partner with families to support learning at home and sustain the growth and development of children during these unprecedented circumstances.
- Supporting Online Learning in a Time of Pandemic released on April 13th by USC’s Rossier School of Education is a new report offering guidance to K-12 teachers, principals and superintendents, as well as schools of education, on how to handle the increasing stress of adapting education systems to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Social and Emotional Learning in California, from the California Department of Education
- Accessible Distance Learning: A guide to making distance learning accessible to students with disabilities
- SELPA Content Lead to Support Students with Autism: Marin SELPA and CAPTAIN have created resources and guidance Padlets to support instruction during school closures in both English and Spanish
- The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence resources to support teaching and learning in the virtual environment, including: training and best practices for integrating online tools to enhance classroom instruction, guidance and professional learning to support students with disabilities in the virtual classroom; and “Office hours” with experts focused
on addressing specific content, technology, pedagogical needs
- Self-Care & Thriving for Educators During a Public Health Crisis from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
Here are a few things to keep in mind during this time of social distancing:
- Children take their cues from the adults around them, so it is important to remain calm and talk to them about what is going on in an age-appropriate way. Children become anxious when the adults around them are anxious.
- Experts say children feel better when they have some control over what is going on. By letting them choose what they eat, wear, read and watch on TV, you are helping to keep them calm and confident.
- Spend some time outside running, walking or bike riding to get fresh air, burn off excess energy, and keep “cabin fever” at bay. Just remember to stay a safe distance from passers-by.
These insightful articles and podcasts suggested by National PTA can help families alleviate the mental and physical stress they are likely experiencing right now:
- Notes from the Backpack: Tackling COVID-19 Anxiety Together – This episode of the popular podcast from National PTA features advice from psychologist Dr. Erlanger “Earl” Turner about how to stay happy, healthy and learning during this difficult time. He shares tips for setting routines, managing your mental health and coping with uncertainty.
- 5 Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus, The American Psychological Association
- Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Child Trends
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource, National Association of School Psychologists
- Promoting Positive Mental Health for Teens Feeling Isolated, Erika’s Lighthouse
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Manage Anxiety & Stress, CDC
- Helping Children Cope with Emergencies, CDC
Other excellent resources:
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control
- The Help for Students in Crisis web page from the California Department of Education (CDE) includes crisis and warm line numbers, along with other COVID-19-related resources for providing virtual mental health services and information for mental health providers, families, and youth.
- Teen & Youth Help Hotline: An advice, crisis and depression helpline where teenagers can talk to other teens
- Good Sleep Habits: Information about children’s sleeping habits (Spanish version here)
- Using Mindfulness: Information about how to use mindfulness as a tool to reduce toxic stress (Spanish version here)
- The Benefit of Supportive Relationships: Information about maintaining supportive relationships (Spanish version here)
- ACEs Aware Self-Care Tool: A tool to develop a self-care plan to enhance well-being and decrease stress for children and families
- Self-Care & Thriving for Educators During a Public Health Crisis from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network
- Caring for Children: Tips to Keep Children Healthy While School’s Out, CDC
- Supporting and reassuring children around the world
- Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic from Child Trends
Staying physically active and eating right while in lockdown mode is essential to getting through it. The following resources offer a road map to eating well and getting enough exercise in the less-than-ideal conditions we all find ourselves in right now:
- Physical Activities & Family Health and Nutrition Classes, CATCH.org
- Help Your Child Eat STEM for Breakfast, Our Children Magazine
- How to Keep Kids Active & Motivated, The Aspen Institute Project Play
- 8 Indoor Activities to Release Kids’ Energy, PBS Kids
- Dealing with the Cancellation of Youth Sports, Positive Coaching Alliance
- Tackle Spring Cleaning the Right Way with these Tips, Our Children Magazine
(Please note that these links take you to websites that are neither run by nor endorsed by California State PTA.)