The coming school year has brought about many changes amidst Covid-19. You may find yourself as a professional nanny suddenly taking on the role of homeschooling your charges. Be sure to have a meeting with the parents regarding school planning to ensure that you are all on the same page. One of the first things to know is whether the children will be doing virtual school, or home school. With virtual school there will be a whole curriculum as well as a teacher teaching virtually during the scheduled times. With homeschooling the curriculum choice is up to the parents and the structure of the schooling will be your responsibility. If virtual school is the case make sure that you are getting any required notes, schedules, and assignments from the teacher, as well as a calendar to write down due dates. With homeschooling, find out what the parents have chosen to do for a curriculum. There are curriculum options for purchase that they may choose, or they may choose to create their own curriculum. Find out who is in charge of creating the curriculum (whether the parents wish to do it or if they would prefer for you too) so that there is no confusion. With both types of schooling it is important to write down the schedule as well as keep a calendar.
Now that you have a school option selected it is time to make a list of necessary school supplies. Keeping stocked up on supplies will help ensure that you make the most of your time in class. Check with the Teacher if there are specific requirements for class. While it can vary depending on the age and grade of the child, here is a list of some basic supplies: paper, pencils, markers, crayons, colored pencils, folders, notebooks, paint, construction paper, extra art supplies to have on hand, computer, and a ball or jump rope based on physical education class activities.
Be ready to focus on the learning needs of the child/children in your care. Children under 5 years old need a lot of learning that involves play, rather than sitting down for hours at a time. A child this young will quickly lose focus if there is not enough active learning. It is also important for their physical and emotional development to be doing a lot of learning through play at this age. While a typical school day is about 7 hours, keep in mind that school involves a lot of transitions and breaks between. There are transitions between classes, lunch, announcements, as well as extracurricular activities such as Art, Drama, Computer, Music, and Spanish. Homeschooling is typically about 2 to 3 solid hours a day depending on the age of the children.
Children thrive on routine! When going to school a student would come home with a class schedule, or some type of written agenda for the week or semester. They know where they have to be and at what time. Just as a teacher would do, you will want to plan a routine. Plan the entire time out in detail knowing which class or activity will take place when, and allowing for small breaks between each subject or class. Try not to vary from this routine outside of the occasion you don’t have a choice such as a dentist or doctor’s appointment. A steady and consistent routine will ensure that your students stay focused, prepared, and on track throughout their learning. It will also make the day go much more smoothly for you as their teacher. Your routine can be curated by you based on the specific needs and types of classes that you are teaching. Perhaps you have some focused students who can get through up to 2 or 3 hours of schooling with just a short snack break. You may have students who work better by having a solid hour of play as a break in between before finishing the school day. There is no right or wrong way, the key is sticking to it! You can plan your schedule according to what works best for you and the children that you are teaching. Write down your schedule and have it where both you and the students can see it. Perhaps based on their age, you may each have a copy while also having a main one up on a dry erase board, chalk board, or posted by the family calendar. Create your calendar and stick to the schedule and daily routine. Double check your planning to be sure that you have included all classes including extra-curriculars.
It is important to discuss with the parents as soon as possible whenever any issues arise. This can be anything from being short on school supplies, a child struggling with a particular subject, a behavioral problem, or an internet that is not working. Whatever it is, don’t wait to bring it up. It is also a good idea to plan a short-scheduled meeting time each week so that you can update the parents on what their children are learning and what they have been doing in class. As a nanny, you are always teaching and helping children to grow. This may seem challenging at first as it is new territory, so find ways to keep it fun as much as possible. It is imperative to give each other grace. This is a new experience for both you and the children in your care. Discuss the importance of being kind and respectful of one another and working together through any challenges. We wish you much success as you take on this new role!
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro