Covid-19 Resources

The week of March 2nd, our staff noted the first official cases of the novel coronavirus in New York City. We began reading and Abby began preparing to shift to hosting school remotely in the coming weeks. Starting March 16th, all learning is happening off-site until further notice. As an intentional community of self-directed learners, we’ve been practicing pro-active care, mindfulness that learning is everywhere and ongoing, and agility in response to an ever changing world. Here are some insights and resources we appreciate, as supports for ourselves and for those families who find themselves taking an unexpected break from conventional schooling…

Specific Guidelines [for talking to children about COVID-19]:
Remain calm and reassuring.
Children will react to and follow your verbal and nonverbal reactions.
What you say and do about COVID-19, current prevention efforts, and related events can either increase or decrease your children’s anxiety.
If true, emphasize to your children that they and your family are fine.
Remind them that you and the adults at their school are there to keep them safe and healthy.
Let your children talk about their feelings and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective.
Make yourself available.
Children may need extra attention from you and may want to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions.
It is important that they know they have someone who will listen to them; make time for them.
Tell them you love them and give them plenty of affection.

Reading and Podcasts

on out-of-school learning and self-directed education


Remote Community Practices

This section will be live-updated as we experiment with staying in community even when we are scattered across the boroughs and over the rivers of our city.

3/16: Abby spent the weekend updating our Glideapp app so that folks can now submit offerings, shares, and awarenesses on it. She sent that link and links to the virtual offerings schedules out to parents, kids, and volunteers Sunday night, and then fielded texts about how to navigate the new tools. Meanwhile, facilitators across the network shared and added to the schedule of virtual offerings we’re co-creating for kids across centers. There were offerings from 12 facilitators across 8 centers by Sunday evening. Monday’s morning meeting on Zoom had all 4 ALFs, Katherine, and 6 kids. Folks figured out chat, screensharing, and changing their backgrounds. We got a bit sidetracked listening to Sebastian’s Pokemon wisdom, but we still managed to get most of our schedule coordinated by the time Dungeons and Dragons started at 10. Didn’t have time to do spawn, but if we get better at sharing the mic and managing our tech as we practice then things will be smoother next week. We held and attended a bunch of online offerings throughout the day, and folks reported back at afternoon meeting that they enjoyed having all the offerings. Generally, feedback on Zoom was that it’s easy to use, on the spreadsheet schedules was that they’re full of offerings and easy to follow, and on the day that it was pretty fun considering we’re bummed about not being able to be together.

3/13: School building open to those who could commute without taking public transit. 3 staff and 3 kids on 9:30 am Zoom call for morning meeting and change up. The kids walked, biked, and caught rides with parents. Maths, poker, and Japanese cancelled for today. App for sharing schedule and reflections live with basic functionality, with Hugo and Abby working on improving it through the day. Board games, piano, and science experiments happening on-site. Instagram Livestream of short story. 3:00 pm scheduled Zoom call with Abby and Mel to close the day, even though Fridays we typically start our end-of-day rituals at 2 to leave an hour for creating reflection artifacts. Facilitators communicating with each other via Slack and parents/kids via text. Facilitators from across ALCs putting together a collaborative schedule of virtual offerings to open to kids next week and for however long we’re all off-site.

We’ve chosen to respond to this moment by doing our adapting and learning in public, to support other communities and families in their own adapting and learning. Can you help us keep facilitating and broadcasting? (Or maybe you just want to watch the video tour of our space and explanation of how we do self-directed ed?)

Subject-specific Study Resources We Already Use and Love

  • Crash Course! – video lessons for many different subjects, often 30+ videos per series –
  • Khan Academy – online courses, most popular in our community for math and art history –
  • Duolingo – language learning app we use for German, Spanish, Hebrew, and French
  • Libby – the public library’s app for getting e-books and audiobooks on your personal device
  • TED-Ed – video lessons such as “The Science of Spiciness” and “The History of the World According to Cats” –
  • MOOCs like EdX and Coursera! – massive open online courses on all kinds of subjects, often with optional completion certificates available – and
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