COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The Child Development Center at the Defense Supply Center Columbus serves the children of hundreds of military service members and Department of Defense employees. With many families working from home and adhering to social distancing guidelines, the center's child care staff found a creative way to keep in touch with children by creating virtual story time videos.
“We miss that day-to day-connection with them and know that they’re missing it too,” explained CDC Director Tracy Charles. “It’s a stressful and uncertain time right now. While we can’t see each other every day, we can do things to stay connected – to let children and families know we’re still here for them, we’re thinking about them and wanting to find ways to support them, and we’re excited about the day we can all be together again.”
The center closed March 16 due to an unplanned shortage of staff following Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s extension of public school closures but remains staffed to accommodate the children of active duty military personnel. Virtual story time videos are one of the ways staff have found to keep connected with the young children at home.
The initiative launched in late March and initial feedback has been very positive, Charles said.
Bringing it to fruition was a team effort by all. With closure imminent, Charles consulted with childcare staff and other Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff to put plans in place to solidify the effort. Teachers began recording videos reading aloud their favorite or most-requested stories. Completed videos are submitted to the center’s administrative assistance William Roseboro to edit, compile and add his self-designed video introduction for posting online. DSCC MWR Marketing then pushes the videos through their social media and website platforms. Nearly a dozen videos have been uploaded since the initiative’s launch, and the center plans to continue adding fresh content as time permits. Books recently featured include Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Dear Zoo and The More We Get Together.
“As the leader in this space, one of the most important things to me is establishing and maintaining strong, trusting relationships with our families,” Charles said. “The combination of the children we care for, their families, and our staff bring such a wonderful energy to our building that it’s genuinely palpable.”
Charles said there’s room for growth with the online concept and she’d like to continue innovations in that vein, saying, “The story time videos are definitely something we’d like to continue and, perhaps, build upon. We’ve discussed adding sing-a-longs, fingerplays, the use of puppets, etc. and are excited to add new things as we move forward.”
Visit the DSCC MWR CDC Story Time webpage to learn more and view recent videos.