Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center Responds to COVID-19 with Innovation and Resilience

Cobleskill, NY – As the faculty at the Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center (EBP CDC) at SUNY Cobleskill began to grapple with the new reality presented by COVID-19, maintaining “a warm, family atmosphere throughout the pandemic” for their preschoolers was paramount in their planning, said Elise Weiss, program director of the Center.

The Center currently serves 17 children, ranging from three to five years old, with a play-based philosophy promoting social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and language development. Moving from spacious classrooms, outdoor play areas, and an indoor gym to remote engagement was an urgent challenge, but also an opportunity to be innovative and resilient. Before the end of March, the Center’s plan was up and running.

Weiss, along with lead preschool teacher Renee Knapp, and practicum students, devised a schedule to engage the children throughout the day, beginning with their first morning hello from Murray the Monster, a character the children themselves created. Murray is available on a recently launched private EBP CDC YouTube channel dedicated to the children and their parents.

The channel offers a growing library of videos of the Center’s practicum students reading stories and singing songs from their homes and enhancing the family atmosphere by occasionally introducing members of their own families to the children and their parents.

As Weiss explains, in addition to offering digital content, the team decided to use some “old school” methods as well. A communication was sent to parents with the home addresses of the practicum students, who have become pen pals with the children, exchanging letters and drawings. Going even further, the children have all received “activity kits” filled with materials and resources to engage the children in making things, practicing their handwriting, and learning through play.

Knapp stays in close communication with parents and families through the Class Dojo app. Families can check in with Knapp and communicate with her daily. She misses her preschoolers dearly, she says, and has brought all 17 of them together through Facetime. “They had so much to say and so many things to show me.”

Early Childhood students continue to learn and grow. Throughout a normal semester, students enrolled in the freshman course, Child Growth and Development, study the preschoolers from an observation booth, in order to prepare reports that highlight the physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and language strengths of the children. This semester, with shortened observation time, Elise Weiss and Renee Knapp have collaborated to supplement the students’ observations with information and even the children’s artwork to analyze their developmental stages. Practicum students are also leading a Power Point project, using fairy tale and nursery rhyme themes to develop math, literacy and science activities, with links to songs, interactive play, and videos of students reading to the preschoolers.

“In essence, the shift to distance learning has provided additional rich learning opportunities for the college students,” says Weiss. “I am very excited about that for the future of our Early Childhood program.”

The Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2021.

 

This release was initially published by SUNY Cobleskill, 04/14/20

More News

Congratulations to our competitors, Michael Fasanella and Nicholas Kimball, for an excellent showing at this year's National Collegiate Landscape Competition! #CobyAgriculture

https://t.co/9SReKEJyto
Last fall, Honors Program students Marta Suska and Alexandra Delvecchio completed their capstone project: reconstructing an entire horse skeleton.

The skeleton will assist future students studying various disciplines dealing with animal anatomy.

https://t.co/4zO05Zp8KU
A huge thank you to FPI Mechanical for supporting our 2022 SUNY Cobleskill Golf Tournament as one of our LUNCH SPONSORS! Your support directly helps our college athletes, as well as all of our students and programs across the college. We are truly grateful for your partnership! https://t.co/VZBnWQZzwq SUNYCobleskill photo
A huge thank you to Delaware Engineering for supporting our 2022 SUNY Cobleskill Golf Tournament as one of our LUNCH SPONSORS!

Your support directly helps our college athletes, our students and programs across the college. We are truly grateful for your partnership! https://t.co/ioYbKRQCLc
SUNYCobleskill photo
Please join us in congratulating University Police Officer Joseph Marotta for completing the NYS DCJS Basic Mounted Patrol Course recently sponsored by @albanypolice. Thank you for serving our campus. https://t.co/D3Se8JoLto SUNYCobleskill photo
Ever thought about making your own wine? We have! Take some time for yourself and enjoy our Wine Making Workshop this July, and taste you're very own!

Register at https://t.co/49wGWmahwE. https://t.co/xodq3D9Czd
SUNYCobleskill photo
Skip to content