Moorpark’s Child Development Center adapts to online classes due to COVID-19


Image Courtesy of VCCCD photo archive. Photo credit: Clepsy Hernandez

By Liz Byington

As the Ventura County Community College District continues to only offer online classes following spring break in accordance with Ventura County’s “Stay at Home” order, the Child Development staff have found new ways to connect to their preschoolers in the Child Development Center program through online resources.

The Child Development Center is Moorpark College’s laboratory school for children ages 2 through 5 years old, as well as a practicum and observation site for Child Development majors. As the Child Development Center is typically an in-class program with a hands-on approach, the Child Development staff is working to make the Child Development Center’s online program just as engaging for their students.

Child Development Center Site Supervisor, Johanna Pimentel shared how social distancing and online classes has restricted the preschoolers’ learning experiences.

“It is fairly limited, what we can do with children online, because we’re working with children mostly on social and emotional experiences,” Pimentel said.

Child Development Department Chair, Cynthia Sheaks-McGowan noted that the staff is working hard to provide these social and emotional opportunities for the preschoolers. Student teachers have demonstrated different activities through classes hosted on Zoom, such as reading books, doing yoga sessions and cooking meals that families can recreate with their children.

“They are all making connections with the families and the children, either through Zoom, or through making recordings that they’re sending to and sharing with the families,” said Sheaks-McGowan.

Photo courtesy of VCCCD photo archive.
Photo courtesy of VCCCD photo archive.

Masiam Barakat, a second year Child Development major and a student teacher in the Teaching Practicum class, discussed how the children are adapting to Zoom classes and seeing their classmates online.

“The Child Development Center is doing a great job,” said Barakat. “So far, they seem really excited to see everyone.”

While the Child Development Center is adjusting well to an online structure, social distancing restricts how much the Child Development staff can interact with the preschoolers. Barakat noted that she does miss aspects of the in-class experience of working with children individually.

“Kids would always run up to me and ask me random questions,” said Barakat. “But through Zoom, because the entire class is together, you miss that one-on-one interaction.”

Despite the obstacles the Child Development Center has faced due to social distancing, the Child Development staff continues to maintain their connections with the preschoolers.

“It is not the same experience by far,” said Pimentel. “The only thing we are going to do right now is really keeping that relationship with the children alive.”