Topeka, Kan. – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have suddenly found themselves filling in for teachers so Washburn University’s Education Department decided to offer a helping hand.
“Our students get years of training and access to lots of resources before they are asked to develop curriculum or teach a lesson,” said Dr. Cherry Steffen, department chair. “What’s more, the amount of time that teachers can spend with their students in remote settings is limited. Our teachers are doing a great job working with students online and provide many wonderful learning opportunities. But, there is still time in any day that could be devoted to further learning and parents can find themselves with extra time to fill.”
The department decided they could help and give their students some extra training at the same time. The faculty and students worked together to develop a series of activities designed to enhance at-home learning such as using paper airplanes to learn about physics or using your shadow to create art.
The activities are being released on Facebook but are also available on the education department’s web pages. They are grouped according to age suitability and each activity includes a list of supplies as well as the educational goal. The Facebook postings are available on the department’s page at:
They are also collected on the university’s website at:
“We worked to make sure each activity is clear and easy for the parents to execute,” Steffen said. “At the same time, we wanted to make sure that these have strong educational value and aren’t just filling time. And, perhaps most importantly, we wanted the activities to be engaging and fun for students and parents.”
Steffen said that they plan to continue to add activities through the rest of the school year and even through the summer if the demand continues.
“We all want our students to continue to progress and grow even though they can’t be in their school buildings or with their teachers on a full-time basis,” Steffen said. “We want them to move forward developing skills they need for the future as well as to continue to enhance their appetite to learn. The best part is that these lessons provide additional educational experiences for children as well as for our future teachers,”