Child development cruises through the virtual school year

More stories from Emily Speranza


Photo courtesy of Rakeb Halleriam

Students play a “Would you rather” activity before starting the lesson plans for the day.

When that time of year comes for students to choose their upcoming courses, electives tend to be the easiest and perhaps the least anxiety-inducing part of the decision process. Most electives such as art, P.E. and music usually offer a lighter workload. But with the recent virtual shift, educators have had to develop innovative lessons when creating remote learning plans that were traditionally easier to execute in a physical one-on-one class. One example is child development.

Child development is a class where students learn about the mental, physical and emotional development of a child from birth to elementary age. Students learn about many developmental stages for each stage of life as well as effective skills like nurturing, teaching and parenting of children. But what makes this class so unique is that students have the ability to use these skills to teach preschoolers from ages three to six on a weekly basis. Students work in groups to create lesson plans and teach the children important skills that would help develop them for kindergarten.

But now, the only issue is…there are no children.

Covid-19 has put a dent into the whole “child” development aspect, making these lesson plans rather childless since the daycare is no longer operational in WJ. Through virtual school, students are still able to learn the psychological, and developing side that comes with the class, as well as participate in fun and engaging student activities that are planned by child development teacher Hyun Yoo.

“Everyone is still pretty engaging since it’s a really fun class. Even though we can’t teach kids anymore, we still do fun assignments like reviewing finger-plays so that way when we do go back to school, we can use those in our lessons,” senior Rakeb Halleriam said.

Although Yoo is still trying to incorporate main lesson plans, the class has become more of a research-based class than a hands-on experience because of distance learning.

“The transition from in-school to online learning was hard, it was disappointing for a lot of students because one of the biggest reasons why they take the class is because they get that hands-on experience,” Yoo said.

In order to prepare for the sudden shift, Yoo and the other child development teachers in the county had to discuss new plans for the class. In order to efficiently teach the developmental stages, the students are shown many informative video clips to make up for the lack of in person observation.

“I originally signed up for child development but when virtual school started I was unsure of how the class was going to be so I switched my schedule, because I really wanted to teach the kids. I hope that it can continue again soon,” senior Valeria Ibanez said.