We are inspired by the openness, courage, and readiness of many kindergartens to tackle the challenges and create something new in this situation. Albatross Daycare in Espoo (Finland) had made significant moves to keep in touch with families during coronavirus. We picked up the phone and asked all we could from the general manager Brian Crosby, and the kindergarten teacher Idaira Pineda Marrero. Watch the entire Albatross interview, where Idaira talks more about testing different tools at the beginning of filming, and Brian gives tips to other kindergartens if the idea of setting up your own Youtube channel started to interest you.
Where did it all start, in addition to the corona, of course?
Brian says that because of a new situation, the number of children had decreased in the daycare, they noticed at the lunch table that there was constantly more food that they were able to eat. Changes to the order were not possible within a quick schedule, so the kindergarten decided to start distributing food to families to avoid any extra waste.
As the amount of food and needs of the children in the kindergarten began to match again, they gathered at the same table to consider how they could keep in touch with families and children in the best possible way.
That's great. What did you decide?
Brian says they decided to start using their Youtube channel, which they had created to wait for such a suitable moment. After some research and testing, they found that it is most convenient to use pre-recorded videos.
Brian and Idaira say that the beginning of the project required testing, experimenting with something new, throwing oneself into that, and of course, lof of learning. The idea behind was a way to keep in touch with the children who are at home. It was left open for the teachers to decide what kind of areas they would like to cover, although they had a list of things that should be thought about. In the end the teachers were very active in coming up with ideas for what they could record - there are currently videos on origami, math, baking, and gardening, such as growing tomatoes and sowing peas.
In the Albatross Daycare, they decided to release nine videos, a few audiobooks, and a few live sessions each week. Brian calculated that for the end of May, they would need a total of 70-75 videos, and he says that he was impressed when Idaira said next week that all the videos were already ready.
70 videos. Wow. How did this happen? Starting video production in a kindergarten environment is a big deal.
Brian describes that the atmosphere has been really good, and it's been fun to see how the kindergarten has changed a bit into a studio environment. Idaira says that, in the beginning, teachers had to learn how to be and act in front of the camera, but laughs that they have had so much fun making videos that maybe they should always do this. Idaira emphasizes that the most important thing is to be creative and keep in mind that there is always a solution. For example, they have involved children in the daycare in video production. They have participated in video activities from another room in kindergarten and, at the same time, getting acquainted with the world of technology, so they are also covering this aspect of the Finnish early childhood education plan.
Idaira says that the background idea has been to utilize things around you - both in activities at the children's home and in making videos at the kindergarten. They always give options to children; for example, if a ball of a specific size cannot be found in the home, they provide ideas on how to shape one from the accessories already found in the home or what else can be done alternatively. Idaira laughs and gives an example also from the kindergarten side of the creative use of already existing goods - a good angle for the videos has been achieved by putting toys to keep the tablets upright.
Impressive. How have families reacted to the videos?
Brian says the parents have been delighted and have been in touch with them through the various communication channels they use, such as TinyApp. Some parents have also sent videos back to kindergartens, where children have done video activities.
Hopefully, there will be Albatross videos also in the future. How does it look?
Brian ponders that video production could continue regardless of whether the children are in kindergarten or not, filming could be done in kindergarten, for example, at times when it is quieter than usual. Through the videos, children who would have been away for one reason or another would be able to get back in smoothly and keep in touch even then.
Here, we are having all the thumbs up for the continuation of video production and more origami, baking, and urban gardening videos, for example. As mentioned above, what is certain is that there will be videos until the end of May - subscribe to get the videos directly from Albatross's Youtube channel.
Watch the entire Albatross interview, where Idaira talks more about testing different tools at the beginning of filming, and Brian gives tips to other kindergartens if the idea of setting up your own Youtube channel started to interest you.