Despite the ongoing closure of early childcare centers as mandated by Governor Baker’s announcement late last month, South Shore Stars continues to safely and remotely provide education and support to children and families in its programs in full compliance with the governor’s emergency order.
South Shore Stars is a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive early education and youth development programs through a family-support approach. Stars has served as a resource for working parents on the South Shore since 1970.
Additional efforts to reach out to and support South Shore Stars families during the pandemic have been incorporated through an umbrella of family support in recognition that this is a challenging time for everyone, and at-risk children become even more at-risk in times like these.
Throughout the ongoing closure, Stars staff members have been regularly connecting with all of the Stars families, via phone, email, text, and FaceTime, providing support and helping them to access any needed resources. Multiple resources are also posted on the South Shore Stars website, which is regularly updated and additionally offered in Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese.
At the preschool level, outreach began with postcards from staff members to families, and “Snippets with Stars” via Facebook, providing frequent connections with children, families, and staff members.
More recently, each of the three preschool centers (located in Quincy, Randolph, and Weymouth) are offering additional programming focused around music, reading, and creative arts. New weekly 30-minute classes incorporate music as well as movement while focusing on skills like matching pictures and learning directional words. An additional weekly offering is focused on reading books with a complementary creative arts activity. These lessons allow discussions that help build and strengthen social-emotional vocabulary, while also incorporating math and fine motor skills as well as movement.
Additionally, each classroom’s lead teachers are also checking in at least weekly (if not more frequently) via Zoom. With a continued focus on social and emotional support, teachers are providing a safe space for children to talk about their feelings and offering supportive strategies.
South Shore Stars has also ensured that children have the tools they need to be successful and supported at home by delivering (from a safe distance) bags of art supplies and homemade play dough.
Debby Rawson Stratton, preschool program director for South Shore Stars, said that this kind of programming is critical at a time like this.
“With schools closed, we’re doing all we can to fill the holes,” said Stratton. “Not only do these activities provide learning opportunities and social and emotional support for children during what can be a confusing time for them, but the programming is also providing a connection for families and teachers, which is great,” she added.
For more information, visit http://www.southshorestars.org