With Hurricane Ida forcing evacuations, ongoing power outages, and school closures across the Gulf region—on top of the existing COVID-19 surge—Louisiana families, as well as our own New Orleans-based team, are carrying a huge load right now. If your family has been affected, we stand with you and we’re here for you.
We know you’ve probably been inundated with information from different sources, so we’ve collected some simple resources to help you keep the kids busy, along with updated information about what’s happening. We’ll keep this page updated as circumstances evolve.
1) Resources and financial support for meeting basic needs
Look here for groceries, gas, cooling and charging stations, as well as mutual aid organizations that may be able to provide direct financial support if you need it.
WWNO’s guide to what to expect from federal disaster relief.
Healthcare and housing information, cooling stations, and more.
WWL’s regularly updated listings of open businesses, including groceries and gas.
Free legal aid to those who need it. Check SLLS’ Instagram for helpful tips and resources related to FEMA, insurance claims, housing and evictions, and more.
2) Information about school reopenings in the region
NOLA Public Schools will reopen buildings between September 15-22. Your child’s school will notify you soon about your specific reopening date.
Washington Parish schools are open as of Tuesday, September 7, with the exception of Mount Hermon School, which is still without power. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for further information.
St. Bernard Parish schools will reopen on Monday, September 13.
3) Mental health support for children and families
Guidance on how to support your children’s mental health in the midst of ongoing traumatic events.
Complete Guide to Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event (Child Mind Institute)
Practical tips for caretakers to support children during and after experiencing trauma.
Family Displaced After a Disaster? (New York Times)
Guidance for supporting your children during times of displacement.
An app by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to give parents and educators tools for supporting children through trauma.
4) Resources for keeping kids engaged and learning
If your family’s basic needs and safety are under control, here are some suggestions and tools for supporting your kids’ learning, too. If you don’t have access to a computer with internet where you are, don’t worry. Many online learning tools can be accessed via mobile phone or tablet.
Connect with your Navigator for a quick check-in. Your Navigator can help figure out what types of tools you can use to give your child some learning opportunities while schools and libraries are closed, and what kind of academic and social-emotional support they might need when they return to school. Note that many of our New Orleans-based Navigators have also been temporarily displaced; if you have any trouble reaching your Navigator, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-MyEdNav (693-3628).
Break up the day. In a crisis, caretakers typically don’t have the capacity to home-school their children. And that is totally fine. However, you probably want to make sure the kids stay busy enough so they aren’t bouncing off your walls. We suggest chunking up the day into a few blocks: some reading, some educational apps or games, and some playing outside (weather and safety permitting). If your children have specific assignments to get through for school, include a chunk of time for that, too.
Choose high-quality apps and shows so you get a little more out of screen time. Some video game time is fine. So is letting them zone out to their favorite YouTube videos or TV shows for a while. (We all need some of that.) But there are also a lot of high-quality screen options out there to make their screen time a little bit more educational. Trying steering them toward some of our favorite apps and games:
For Toddlers and Preschoolers
Duck Duck Moose: This is a big collection of free, award-winning educational apps for younger children. Kids can try virtual art activities, math games, reading, and a lot more. They’re available to download on iTunes and Google Play Stores.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox: Simple puzzles and math problems for kids aged 3-5.
Storyline Online: Great kids' books read aloud by famous Hollywood actors.
Dragonbox Numbers: Games designed to strengthen number sense in students aged 4-8.
Bedtime Math: A daily (or nightly) math problem focused on a fun fact or topic. This is a super quick way to keep a little math in their daily routine.
Khan Academy: For more in-depth academic content, this site offers free lessons across many subjects and grade levels.
Prodigy: This site allows elementary and middle school students to practice math skills through engaging games. Grown-ups have the option of setting up an account to track your students’ progress. (Prodigy offers a basic account for free, or you can add more features with different levels of paid accounts.)
Camp Kinda and Camp Kinda, Jr.: If you haven’t already, check out EdNavigator’s own exploratory learning experience, created to keep kids ages 3-13 busy and engaged while they’re not in school. This includes more than 350 hours of high-quality on- and off-line content on topics like coding, magic, history’s mysteries, science, and the arts. Camp Kinda, Jr. is specifically designed for your littlest ones, with topics like Things That Roar and Animal Friends. If you don’t already have a Camp Kinda account, use code EDN21 when you register to get full access for free.
Need more? Try Common Sense Media’s “best of” list of apps for kids. You can filter the lists by age group, look up apps that don’t require wifi or data plans, and more.