New Hope School Launches Virtual Bedtime Story Program
Relationships are a crucial component of the student-teacher dynamic. But with schools in Minnesota closed since last week due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic, maintaining those relationships is no easy task.
“We just know that it takes a village to raise a child,” said Nancy Froelich, principal at Meadow Lake Elementary in the Robbinsdale Area School District.
Meadow Lake has a motto that children should have connections and relationships with as many adults as they can within the school. The thought of the students losing those connections during this period of school closure kept Froelich up at night.
“I was tossing and turning and I’m like, how can we keep these children connected so that they know everybody is still a piece of their life, whether they’re at home or they’re in school?” Froelich said.
That’s when she came up with the idea of having staff members read the children bedtime stories.
Utilizing technology to keep students connected
Froelich decided to utilize Meadow Lake’s YouTube Channel to feature different staff members reading hand-picked bedtime stories for students to watch at home.
In the first seven nights of the program, the videos received more than 850 views.
“So it’s definitely being utilized by the children and the families,” Froelich said.
Froelich says she usually posts the bedtime stories by 5 p.m. every day. When she initially reached out to staff members to tell her the idea, she received a flood of supportive responses.
“I think there’s over 40 of them in the Google file already,” she said. “And then once we run out, if we’re not back in session and we need more stories, (and hopefully we don’t), but we would put it out to the staff again.”
The plan is to continue the program indefinitely. So far, Froelich says the response has been great. Several parents have sent emails about how much their children look forward to it every night.
“Our goal through all of this is just to keep the kids connected and to let them know during this stressful time that they have a lot of people surrounding them,” she said.
The bedtime story initiative is just one more tool that teachers and staff members at Meadow Lake Elementary can use to help foster a love of reading.
“We know that the more books read to a child, the higher vocabulary rate that a child has,” Froelich said. “And for us, that’s important, that we can build that vocabulary in the children. So getting these books online, along with the digital books that the teachers are doing during their class sessions, will be key for keeping reading skills and vocabulary skills and comprehension skills at their peak.”