DSODE provides a unique early childhood experience to children in Louth

DSODE provides a unique early childhood experience to children in Louth

by Freya Lucas

May 05, 2022

Teachers from the Dubbo School of Distance Education (DSODE) are now two months into delivering preschool remotely to children in Louth, on Wongaibon country in the Orana Region of New South Wales, Australia.

 

Representatives from DSODE recently connected with the NSW Department of Education to talk about the journey of early learning, with teachers working closely with a preschool supervisor at Louth Public School where two local children attend twice a week, as well as two children who attend virtually from their homes 70 km out of town.

 

DSODE regularly sends resource packs to its preschool learners, which it calls ‘Preschool in a box’, containing a range of age-appropriate activities including books, puzzles, games and gross motor equipment.

 

“Within each box, we also send a resource book with a range of activities in a program format that the supervisor will run with the children,” DSODE Preschool Teacher Justin Ayling shared.

 

Whilst not being in the same room as their pre-schoolers, the DSODE teachers incorporate elements of the Early Years Learning Framework including Quality Area 1 through their child-centred programming and responsive practice.

 

“The supervisor will share their observations and feedback with us which then drives the programming for the next lot of activities, just as you would in a face-to-face preschool,” Mr Ayling explained. 

 

DSODE Assistant Principal (Preschool to Year 6) Jenny Ballhausen said the school’s focus is on giving children the same experience they would have at a physical preschool.

 

“We are a real preschool as much as possible in a distance education context,” she said.

 

“Preschool in a box contains everything you could reasonably expect to find in a preschool except for large play equipment and another child to play with.”

 

Teachers in Dubbo also hold daily Zoom lessons in which Louth’s pre-schoolers talk and play with other children enrolled at DSODE from across the state.

 

“The children love playing dress ups on Zoom each week and sharing stories about going to the beach on the weekend or about new lambs being born,” Mr Ayling said.

 

“One of the best things about the Zoom calls is that kids get to see other kids from all different parts of NSW.”

 

On Wednesdays, DSODE connects up with Broken Hill School of the Air for “Outback to Ocean” Zoom classes involving distance pre-schoolers from both schools. Just like with a regular preschool, Ms Ballhausen continued, “it’s loud and fun – there’s so much happening”.

 

With so much learning happening in the years from birth to five years of age, the team behind Louth Preschool is excited for the future and to be part of an opportunity to involve children from remote communities in valuable early learning. 

 

To learn more about the distance education preschools, please see here

PRINT