The Operation Little Learners (OLL) program has always been about serving military families and meeting the unique needs of young military kids. We understand that these children are often at a disadvantage when they start kindergarten due to frequent moves and other demands of military life. OLL was created to meet those needs with a focus on early childhood education through curriculum-based lessons and opportunities for building community. According to the CDC, children who feel connected in their school environment perform better and have less behavioral issues than those who lack a sense of belonging.
The recent shutdown of schools and organizations due to the COVID-19 crisis has created an additional burden on our military families. With service members who are always considered essential personnel, our Little Learners need consistency and connection more than ever. That is why we created our Operation Little Learners Online community. We wanted to develop a means for our community to keep learning, growing and connecting during this time.
"If they can't come to us, we need to come to them!" says Operation Little Learners Manager Tessa Davis. "It's really important we stay connected and foster the routine we have already established with our kiddos. In addition, we are able to reach out and make new friends that can now have a place to come each week where they get excited about learning. Familiarity and repetition is so important at this age. It's incredible to know that our students are shouting, "That's my school! That's my teacher!" when they tune in during each session." Another parent told us her daughter loved watching and following along and immediately exclaimed "I want to go to preschool right now!"
This new virtual session is ten total classes occurring over five weeks. Each week, on Tuesday and Thursday, participants are sent an email link to that day's circle time video. The virtual circle time is hosted by some of our favorite OLL teachers, including Miss Tessa. In order to receive access, participants must sign up for their free membership and register for the virtual session. Each video includes printable activities and ways to facilitate learning at home. Our military community of learners is having a blast following along at home. After participating in the first at-home class, one parent told us that she was so grateful to have "extra time in the program despite the current circumstances."
Registration is still open for all active duty dependents between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old. Not yet an ASYMCA Hampton Roads member? No problem! You can activate your FREE membership when you register for this virtual session.
Posted April 14, 2020
ABOUT ARMED SERVICES YMCA:
The Armed Services YMCA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves currently serving military members and their families. In 2019, we engaged more than 250,000 participants and delivered more than 1.3 million points of service to junior enlisted Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and family members at 200 service centers in 18 states. Whether providing respite child care for parents in need, summer camps for kids, or assisting with emergency needs, the Armed Services YMCA is a nonprofit with a mission: Strengthening Our Military Family®. Visit our website to see how you can join us in supporting military families.