Nursery school videos go online

Teacher Ms. Kim transfers a chrysalis to the flight cage. Photo captured from a GCNS video that follows the development of Painted Lady butterflies. GCNS video lessons are now publicly available online.

By Andrew Roberts

Much like grade-school children, the preschoolers at the Glebe Cooperative Nursery School (GCNS) are keeping up with their learning online during the current school closure. Our three dedicated teachers have been creating weekly story-time videos for the children as well as interactive “circle time” lessons and a special caterpillar science lesson. As of this month, much of that content is available for anyone in the community or world to access!

With libraries closed and parents looking for resources, the GCNS board thought the story-time videos could also be a help for families who are not GCNS members. If you have or know small children, you may want to check out some new, locally produced, quality content made by experienced, qualified early-childhood educators. If your kids love the stars of our videos, they are our teachers, and they could be your kid’s teachers too. That’s right, we are in enrollment season.

Enrolment for the next school year begins in spring, and GCNS usually counts on its annual block party, the Spring Fling, to introduce prospective new families to the school. This is a key event for recruitment because it is a way to introduce families to the GCNS community, and it usually happens when school is still in session so families can come back to check out the GCNS class experience. While the Spring Fling was cancelled this year because of the COVID pandemic, we hope that public access to our teacher’s online lessons can introduce the GCNS to prospective member families.

If you are thinking of enrolling for the 2020-2021 school year, there are still spots available. Registration is to be completed online, and any questions can be directed to If you are just looking for great toddler or preschool resources and community, please connect with us online on YouTube or Facebook.

The full list of our teacher’s video content can be accessed through the GCNS YouTube channel, GCNS Videos, while highlights can be found on our Facebook page Our three teachers are each posting two or three videos a week each and will continue to do so until the usual end of our school year in the third week of June. All of the story videos are targeted to either a toddler or preschool-age groups, though we have noticed that older and younger siblings love them too.

One of the most exciting online activities has been keeping up with the GCNS virtual pets. Teacher Ms. Kim has been raising a group of 10 Painted Lady caterpillars from pupae to butterflies. The exciting process has been documented on YouTube and is publicly available. Ms. Kim and her daughters have made videos about feeding and housing tiny caterpillars, the forming of the chrysalis, installing chrysalis into a butterfly “flight cage” and their emergence as butterflies. We are now eagerly awaiting the butterflies’ release into the wild once they are strong enough to fly away. The children have enjoyed their interactive science lesson on video while adults like me also learned that a chrysalis (butterfly) is different from a cocoon (moth), and that butterfly droppings are known as “frass.” If you love these videos and want to give it a try, butterfly kits that include everything needed for this type of project are available for purchase online.

Our teachers have also continued to stay personally connected to our students during this closure. While our annual Mother’s Day Tea at school was cancelled, my daughter and her mom got dressed up this year for a Zoom tea party with her teachers and classmates to celebrate with songs, a story and tea. Students have even been receiving periodic individual video messages from their teachers; they were very much appreciated by my daughter.

We may have missed the last and best couple of months of the preschool year – the teachers have noted that the last quarter is when they see the children engage in the richest play as their comfort level and socialization has really taken hold. However, the amazing ways the teachers and parents have continued to support our children and each other during this closure has reinforced that the Glebe Coop Nursery School is a strong community with talented, loving and loved teachers, and we will carry on next year and beyond.

Andrew Roberts lives in Old Ottawa South with his partner Genna and their daughter Madeleine. They are a member family of the Glebe Cooperative Nursery School.

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