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Feed Your Mind During the Pandemic With these Virtual Learning Sessions

Local educational institutions help you stay sharp during your self-quarantine.

BY March 22, 2020
Photo courtesy of Golisano's Children's Museum of Naples

There’s no excuse for a stagnant mind. Not even when most of the nation is bottled up at home during the coronavirus pandemic. If anything, this is the time to read up and absorb all the information you can on a topic that’s always tickled your fancy. Read a good book and encourage the younger ones in your family to keep learning with daily activities on subjects like math and science. Local schools and other educational centers have opted to transfer their curriculum to online and televised platforms, so learning is never out of reach.


Collier County Public Schools: The Collier school system has ensured that all students still have access to engaging educational resources. They are uploading a daily list of social activities that parents can discuss and participate in with their elementary, middle and high school students. Also available online exclusively for CCPS students are math, science, English language, fine arts, college and test prep activities and modules. The “Keep Learning Alive” booklet provides a list of recreational reading and educational activities that will add a school-day structure for all school-aged children, including non-CCPS students.


School District of Lee County: Lee County has taken their unexpected extended spring break to garner an online learning schedule for students, starting Monday, March 30. They have prepared by providing Chromebooks to households without a computer. Low-income families in Comcast service areas get 60 days of free internet when they sign up as a new customer.


Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Nature Academy: The Conservancy has taken to the internet to continue its mission to protect the environment and educate the community on our unique ecosystem. Although the campus’ Nature Center is closed, you can tune in to the Facebook page and Instagram account for animal updates—like sea turtle feeding time and a raccoon’s recent recovery—as well as informational sessions. The group is also be streaming classes, like a webinar on solar energy Tuesday, March 24, at 6 p.m.


WGCU: In addition to offering its normal news and televised programs, WGCU has stepped up their educational programs to show content similar to what’s offered in a structured school day. Starting March 23, the PBS channel launched its “curriculum-related programming,” which will broadcast shows that focus on science, math, social studies and the English language for kids ages 5 to 18.


Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’MON): Although closed, Golisano’s is making sure that children and their families still receive the most dynamic learning experiences. The museum recently added Play & Learn virtual programs that encourage kids to explore their creativity by conducting experiments and recreating C’MON exhibits at home. Instructions for these activities will be available on C’MON’s YouTube channel. Stay updated on the Facebook page for additional activity links.


Grace Place: To ensure that educational development doesn’t stop for the children and families depending on their services, the team at Grace Place organized a Family Home-Learning Guide resource on their website. Multiple learning activities are uploaded each week, from read-alouds for younger children, to flash card practice and virtual museum tours for older kids. The learning guide is accessible and free to all.


More Ways to Stay Sharp: There’s a bevy of online resources to help people develop new skills and beef up on subjects of interest. During the pandemic, many are offering their courses for free or at reduced prices. Skillshare—a platform with thousands of classes ranging from creative pursuits like DSLR photography to business savvy workshops—is offering a free trial period for everyone, plus two months of free classes for middle and high school-aged kids. MasterClass has a $15 monthly membership for access to its pros like Anna Wintour, Malcolm Gladwell and Neil Degrasse Tyson spilling trade secrets on topics such as leadership, writing, scientific thinking and other skills meant to make you more effective. For those with ivy league dreams, Class Central offers 450 courses from schools such as Georgetown and Yale for online at no cost. Youngsters and aspiring social media mavens, will appreciate millennial lifestyle site Brit + Co’s workshops, like Photoshop for Bloggers, Phone Photography and Cake Decorating. The site is streaming all its creativity focused workshops for free when you use the code SELFCARE.

Happy learning!

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