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The staff of Bronx Community College’s nationally renowned Early Childhood Center so miss their pre-school students that they have said so in the only way they can these days: online.

From their places of self-isolation during the current pandemic, the teachers and education assistants took selfies of themselves holding hand-drawn signs with messages of longing and inspiration. These were woven together in a video with uplifting music and posted on the ECC’s YouTube channel. “We miss you and we will pass through this together” says one. “Your ability to keep going each day is a sign of courage,” reads another.

“Every time I watch it, and I watch it twice a day, it makes me cry,” says ECC Director Jitinder Walia. “But it’s not just warming the hearts of our student-parents. It lifts the spirit of anyone that sees it.”

The three dozen videos posted on the ECC’s YouTube channel are a major part of its comprehensive distance learning strategy. They include lessons recorded by beloved visitors like the puppeteer who came to the Center every Monday and the music teacher who appeared on Wednesdays before COVID-19 closed down our campus. The Center’s teachers still read books to their rapt internet audience. Zoom is being used for regular Yoga classes and counseling sessions for the parents who are also continuing their BCC educations via distance learning. Meanwhile, information on resources in the community are regularly emailed to ECC families.

“I’m sharing all this with my peer directors at other schools,” notes Director Walia. “This is for anybody who can take advantage of it.”

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