Cajon Valley Union School District student Danica Gibaldi presents her TEDxKids@ElCajon talk, “Happy, Healthier Students.” Photo via tedxkidselcajon.com.

When schools were closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus, classrooms were moved online – for better or for worse. But distance learning, with its many ups and downs for adults and children alike, may have created an unexpected opportunity for students throughout the county to sample a new school district without enrolling.

There are no attendance boundaries on the internet, just lots of engaging lessons developed by local educators from North County to the South Bay.

For parents looking to widen a student’s horizons with visual and performing arts, TEDxKids talks, writing exercises or developing social/emotional wellbeing, school district websites and YouTube channels offer grade-level, age-appropriate programming.

Students hungry for the arts will find plenty of content on the Chula Vista Elementary School District VAPA YouTube channel that fosters creativity and critical-thinking skills. Posted by the district’s arts and music teachers, lessons are playlisted by discipline to make it easy to find dance, music, theatre, visual arts and media arts.

Want to learn how to do the “Footloose” line dance, pull string painting or an improv exercise? This is for you.

Or maybe your schoolchild is interested “ideas worth spreading.” The Cajon Valley Union School District’s YouTube channel features its TEDxKids@ElCajon series. The video archive showcases student TED talk presentations to encourage learning about the world in news ways by highlighting the voices of young people from diverse communities. This year’s theme is “My possible future self.”

Students choose topics design to spark discussion, present a researched and supported narrative, and reflect on personal experiences. Talks touch on subjects that range from memories of a young immigrant’s Afghanistan homeland to the academic benefits of recess.

And for those looking to help their student build social/emotional skills, the Escondido Union School District offers video newsletters addressing growth mindset, self-awareness, respecting physical and virtual space, and healthy habits on its YouTube channel.

Mini lessons in English language arts are also available in a four-part series on how to write a literary analysis essay.

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