Early Education Remote Learning Plan 

Guidance for Early Childhood Remote Learning Experiences

Somerville Public Schools Early Education Department recognizes that families are their children’s first teachers and we are here to support learning at home. Teachers are planning daily and weekly communication including pre-recorded or live content, and links to quality learning experiences that follow the SPS Early Education trajectory. Play IS learning. Make time to build a fort, act out stories, engage in pretend play. Helping at home IS learning. Laundry, cooking, dishwashing, cleaning, watering plants, etc. Make time for children to be helpers and develop independence. During this extraordinarily challenging time for everyone, our goals are to provide children, and their families, with: 

  • A sense of continuity and structure in their school lives through teacher-led daily and weekly experiences, including a daily and weekly schedule
  • A place to find learning resources
  • An ongoing virtual or written connection with friends and teachers 
  • A chance to do things with grown ups, older siblings, and by themselves
  • Opportunities to talk and play as they develop their home language
  • Time on-screen and off-screen, engaging with their indoor and outdoor environment

Some recommendations for our youngest learners:

  • Create a learning space, corner, shelf, low table, or carpet square for materials.
  • Communicate, read, play in the language that is most comfortable for you.
  • Read books and tell stories EVERY day. Write a letter and mail it.
  • Reach out to your child’s teacher. They are providing daily and weekly content to help you and your child.
  • Use our resources at
  • Choose screen time options wisely. No scary or adult content. Adults can watch their own content while children are sleeping or not around. Children see and absorb everything and can be confused or stressed from adult media.

SPS Remote and Continued Learning Vision

During this time of school closure, our vision is to expand educational opportunities for all students in an equitable manner through a variety of developmentally appropriate, inclusive, and accessible learning opportunities that continue to foster the academic and social emotional growth of all students while facilitating student agency and staff development through an environment of equity. 

To achieve this vision for Early Education, Continued Remote Learning includes:

  • Access to and connection with members of the classroom community in ways that provide routine, regularity, and consistency  
  • Language development in Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Drawing & Writing as determined in the 4 Essential Practices: 
    • Oral Language and Concept Development
    • Fine Motor, Drawing, and Writing 
    • Expressive and Written Language 
    • Phonological and Phonemic Awareness  
  • Opportunities for Language Input and Output
  • Meaningful access to content learning  - literacy, math, science, SEL learning, arts, and sensory-motor development 
  • Opportunities for home and community-based hands-on, real world experiences 
  • Opportunities to build, draw, talk about, and show and share learning with others 

Keeping priorities in mind (Zacarian, 2020) 

Whatever we offer as on-line learning experiences are not a replacement for school, which provides its greatest value from the face-to-face relationships children have with their peers and teachers as they learn through interaction and practice in one another’s physical presence. During an extraordinarily challenging time for everyone, this plan sets as a foundation to provide students with: 

  • A sense of continuity in their school lives
  • An ongoing connection with friends and teachers
  • A sense of structure, routine, and predictability in a time of change for students and families

Conditions for Learning  

  • Basic needs are met: housing, healthcare, food, utilities, financial assistance
  • Devices and internet connection: the goal is that 100% of families have access to ensure the same learning experiences for all students
  • Assurance that immigration status does not affect access to basic needs. Continuous messaging that all are welcome here.
  • Multilingual and translated information and materials are consistently provided
  • A family member or friend who is able to support and facilitate access to the online learning environment  

Conditions for Learning are met with support from and through partnerships with City of Somerville, Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC), Early Childhood Education Department, the Somerville Partnership for Young Children, Student Support Teams, Volunteers, SPS Tech Dept., internet providers, Welcome Schools Ordinance, and Multilingual Services.

Learning Design

From the student view

  • Cohesive, enriching, and engaging
  • I can do it with a grown up and by myself!
  • Learning goals are clear to me and I know when I have reached the goal
  • I share my play and work with teachers, friends, and family and receive feedback on what I did  
  • I have opportunities to talk and play as I develop my home language
  • Time on-screen and off-screen, engaging with the surrounding environment

From the teacher view

  • I collaborate with the Somerville Early Education coaches, grade-level, content area, ESL, specialist teachers (art, musc, PE, library) and Special Education partners for lesson design and co-delivery of on-line learning
  • I have planning and co-planning time
  • I am clear on the learning goals to be addressed
  • I (co-) plan integrated, thematic learning experiences, projects, and lessons
  • I can access Professional Development opportunities related to making remote learning accessible 
  • I know how or can get support to develop on-level supports and scaffolds for Language Learners and students with special needs
  • I ask to see examples of my students’ learning, give feedback, and use formative assessment for planning

From the parent/family view

  • I know the expectations of my child’s learning because I receive a weekly communication
  • I know how to find learning resources
  • We have a daily and weekly schedule that we are able to follow
  • We have designated quiet spaces in our home to play and learn (school work) and a place for children’s materials
  • I talk with my child in any language that I feel most comfortable
  • I support my child with opportunities to develop our home language
  • I can count on my child’s school for any support my family needs or the school can connect me to community resources 

Educator Collaboration

Addressing the needs of young children and providing equitable access depends upon teacher collaboration and co-delivery of instruction and supports. To ensure a cohesive learning experience, every teacher need not provide individual content. Instead, we should coordinate learning activities for different learner profiles and content areas. For example, Preschool families receive a weekly menu of activities that has been created collaboratively by teachers, coaches, and specialized areas of service and support (ESL, Special Education). Educators can share content with each other to create a unified system of support.

What can teacher collaboration look like in Early Childhood?  

  • While district grade level support staff (coaches, department heads, principals) are curating and organizing curriculum, it is up to teachers to collaborate/meet with each other to share platforms, recordings, resources, etc. to develop coherence, consistency, and equity in what children and families receive.
  • Reference 
  • Plan weekly learning targets and themes that children/families can repeat and extend
  • Identify language, social, and life skills goals in addition to content learning targets
  • Offer multiple modalities for students to engage in and show their learning
  • Minimize excessive daily communication with a “Week at a Glance” sent to students and families
  • In meetings, think about your Language Learners and what scaffolds and supports they will need and how you will deliver them (pre-teaching, visual and graphic supports, word banks, sentence and paragraph frames, etc.)
  • Set “office hours” for families to get support for content clarification, social emotional support, and/or language supports
  • Schedule small group and one-on-one time with students

Grade Band Learning Experiences

Sample Weekly Delivery Schedule (will vary depending upon teacher and classroom):

  • 5 times per week, M-F: Video/Visual Morning Meeting (with meeting components listed below, pre-recorded)
  • 5 times per week, M-F: Instruction, offering of activities and experiences
  • Live at least 2 times per week: (GoogleMeet, Dojo, etc.) with time for children to share, sing, dance, be together in whole or small groups
  • Use website for curriculum guides, Essential Practices, Building Blocks Pacing Guide, and weekly curriculum grids. 
  • Video Structure:
    • Morning Message - read to children
    • Song with children’s names
    • Read Story and/or
    • Explicit Presentation of something they can do at home
    • Maintain specific practices - letter of the week, name writing, counting, math at home, practical daily life skills
    • Invitation to send pictures, write letters

Guiding Technology Principles for Educators

  • Limit the number of new platforms/technologies you introduce at one time. Start with activities and tools that families and children are most familiar with.
  • Teach families how to use online tools with simple community building activities first.
  • Teachers across content areas/specialist should use similar structures and online tools and integrate content with classroom teachers
  • Consider low-tech and no-tech learning options (quality television, indoor and outdoor activities)