As parents we look for activities that are fun, engaging and educational for our children. For the first time ever, parents are faced with balancing work at-home and providing an enriching experience for their children during these unprecedented times. There are more than 30 million students pre-K through 8th grade and over 75 million students, pre-K through post-secondary, in the U.S. that are no longer in school due to the global pandemic of COVID-19.
The impact of closing schools and businesses has put a tremendous strain on the economy and families to create normalcy during a less-than-normal time. At Motus, we are fortunate to have had the infrastructure already in place to support employees working from home. Video calls, group chats and social media with our peers is everyday practice for us. With the recent changes in our society, our means of everyday communication grew. We began using our communication tools as a way to support each other.
In our business messaging platform we parents have a dedicated channel to share pictures and stories of our children as a way to stay connected. It’s especially nice since many of us are scattered across the country and the globe. As the pandemic unfolded, parents began sharing different ways they were continuing their children’s education and keeping them occupied. Parents populated the channel with resources for online books and story time. And that’s when Children of Motus Story Time came to fruition.
Children of Motus Story Time: Virtual Storytelling with the Young and Talented was created to provide opportunity, engagement and a sense of connectedness in our community. We’re now on our second week of story time and I can still remember the sheer joy of seeing all the young, smiling faces on the screen for the first time. I thought to myself, if all we accomplish today is joining the video conference call, our mission is complete. Even in the world of today, many adults will never experience video conferencing or FaceTime calls. To be able to bring the experience of virtual story time to young minds was satisfying. Excitement abounded in their expressions – lots of smiles and hand waving.
The call starts without a hitch. To no surprise, our young audience is a tech-savvy bunch. They all dialed-in, on-time with no technical issues. If you’re used to web-conferencing, you know this can be a rarity. The storytelling is delegated to our young readers, who sign-up for a time slot in advance. And our storytellers are truly exceptional. Public-speaking is far from easy. Yet, without hesitation, they read in front of a large, virtual audience they’ve never met before. They make the future look promising!
As we approach the third week of story time, there is still uncertainty about the near future. How long will this last? When will kids return to school or daycare? However, during this life-impacting experience, I’m certain that, in our supportive community and across the country, we have talented, young minds. Young minds that will grow up and shape our future. It is our duty as parents, as a community, to show them love and strength in hard times. Sharing our willingness to adapt, innovate and support each other is a gift we can help them grow. And, together, we will see it bloom as they become the women and men who carry our world into the future.
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