Support for parents in the form of a student-driven blog
20 Apr 2020 By Haley Apel
For some instructors at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the switch to remote learning meant becoming familiar with Zoom or other technologies to deliver a lecture from their home office. For other instructors - those whose courses involve more hands-on learning - the transition wasn’t as straightforward. Instructors like Carrie Hanson-Bradley, who had no choice but to completely overhaul her course format mid-way through the semester.
Hanson-Bradley, an assistant professor of practice, teaches CYAF 382 Working with Parents in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies in the College of Education and Human Sciences. The service-learning class is aimed at helping students learn about the complexities of parenting. Students in the class partner with community organizations to complete 20 hours of service.
When precautions were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, it meant students would not be able to complete their in-person service hours. Hanson-Bradley had a decision to make and she had to act quickly.
“The idea came to me when I sat down to revise the syllabus,” Hanson-Bradley said. “What if students created a large repository of ideas to help ease the challenge of parenting during a pandemic?”
Rather than completing in-person service hours, now students in the class are posting activity ideas and educational resources to a newly created blog. Students have the option of sharing preexisting resources, or creating their own original content, for which they will earn more class credit.
New content is being added to the blog on a daily basis. There are ideas and activities for all ages and activity-levels, from sorting shapes and scavenger hunts to a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park and creating a political campaign poster.
“I was surprised at the original content the students have posted so far,” Hanson-Bradley said.
One of those students is Sophia Genova, a family studies major. Genova, is currently at home with her parents and younger siblings so she’s witnessing first-hand how stressful this situation can be on parents. Her first blog post is a simple story-time activity for younger children. The activity involves children choosing random items found throughout the house and then creating a character and story for that item.
“I thought this would be fun for younger children because they have such big imaginations,” Genova said. “At the same time, I wanted to create something interactive and easy for anyone to do without any supplies since everyone is stuck at home right now.”
Taylor Brumbaugh, a senior psychology major, started out the semester by partnering with Willard Community Center in Lincoln. During her time at the center she worked with preschool age children, who became her source of inspiration for future blog posts.
“The transition to the blog was a big change, but after working with kids at the Center and watching them do activities, I had some ideas for my posts,” Brumbaugh said.
For additional inspiration, Brumbaugh visited her local library just before it closed due to COVID-19. She walked through the children’s book aisle where she came up with the idea to pair an activity with a storybook. One of Brumbaugh’s blog posts involves reading a storybook about plants and then planting a mini flower or vegetable garden at home.
Although the blog is still in its infancy, Hanson-Bradley has already received great feedback about the quality of content the students have produced. It is her hope that a few weeks from now, when the initial wave of online resources recedes, parents will have a great repository of ideas to lean on created by her students.
“This blog has proved to me that our students can collectively create something that might be helpful for parents,” she said.
To view all of the activities and ideas shared on the blog, visit https://cyaf382.blogspot.com/.
College of Education and Human Sciences
Child, Youth and Family Studies