Last year, due to the Covid pandemic, The Ohio State University was not able to host its in-person Summer Success Program to help preschoolers prepare for kindergarten. So the school pivoted to a fully virtual program, with a big question: Could this kind of remote teaching be effective for 4-5-year-old kids without previous preschool experience?

For 2020, the teaching staff launched a four-week program including one or two individualized teacher-child video chats and a phone or video meeting a week between the teacher and parent or caregiver. The 91 families involved were given storybooks and a tablet preloaded with educational videos; the parents also get instructions about how to read the books and watch the videos with their kids, as well as examples of questions to ask them.

Previous studies had demonstrated that preschoolers who participated in in-person programs improved their kindergarten readiness. The good news is that the reinvented Summer Success at Home program was popular with both teachers and parents and has worked properly with some success in developing children's early math, literacy, and emotional skills. Moreover, the school had no difficulties recruiting families ready to participate and more than three-quarters of them completed the program. Not bad at all.

Picture: Children on the Hill (