Even though museums, libraries, and other learning institutions are closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still virtual learning to be had from home thanks to these Victoria organizations.

As the weeks go by during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are stuck at home for much longer than we’re used to. Whether you’ve already transitioned to the working from home lifestyle or you’re still figuring out the most optimal routine for you, one thing’s for sure — you’ve got some extra time that you’re looking to fill, particularly if you’ve got kids in the house.

Luckily, there’s learning to be found online for both young and old thanks to local institutions.

Virtual learning in Victoria

Even though museums, libraries, and other learning institutions are currently closed to the public, some of these places have moved services online through virtual programming. They are offering weekly live events that are engaging and educational, tailored for kids and adults alike.

Museums and galleries

The Royal BC Museum has shifted to online learning programs, hosting a number of live sessions throughout the week via RBCM@Home. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:00 p.m., curators and other staff members talk about various aspects of their jobs and the materials and collections that they work with. On Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m., RBCM@Home (Kids!) provides an online play-date and museum-related activity for the little ones to get involved in. And keep an eye out for RBCM@Outside to go on a virtual field trip with museum staff as they venture through outdoor spaces. The museum is also hosting special sessions just for educators (teachers, support staff, and parents teaching at home during the pandemic) through their RBCM@Home (Office Hours).

If you miss a live session, have no fear! The museum’s YouTube channel has recordings of the sessions available to watch back later, as well as many more educational videos to enjoy. Between the channel and a plethora of other videos and resources found via the Learning Portal, knowledge about our province and the people in it is at your fingertips.

Similarly, the Maritime Museum of BC has created virtual programming for adults, featuring their Tea & Talks series, a monthly trivia night, and a program called Maritime Memories that caters to seniors and special interest groups. They also have weekly virtual programming for youth, featuring a number of topics related to school subjects, where museum educators host live sessions to teach children and youth from ages 4 to 14+.

For the more art-oriented person (big or small), the Bateman Foundation has created digital resources with colouring sheets, lesson plans, and video tutorials so you can learn about art and nature in one go.

Love to read?

While the Greater Victoria Public Library remains closed, their virtual library portal is open and now features a way to get a library card online in just a few minutes! Access movies, build new skills through Lynda.com (free with your library card!), and find an incredible range of other digital content to engage with.

BC Campus has over 300 open textbooks to access, covering a wide range of subject matter.

Another great resource to consider while at home with the kids is the Victoria Literacy Connection‘s Kids E-Reading Club. Offering small group sessions for kids in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5, the organization held its first set of virtual reading sessions in April. Their next set of weekly sessions starts on May 4th.

For additional support when it comes to reading at home with your kids, Scholastic Canada has many resources for parents to make use of, including fun downloadable activities and help with how to teach during this hectic time.

More resources for virtual learning

The provincial government has a learning portal of its own called Keep Learning, providing parents and caregivers with resources, suggestions, and activities to do with the kids.

Lots of national and international organizations are also creating special virtual programming to still provide us with knowledge and ways to keep learning while we’re at home. Visit Vancouver Aquarium’s Online Ocean learning centre for activities and resources. National Geographic’s NatGeo@Home launched a few days ago on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and also provides activities, videos, and resources to explore as a family.

And if you just don’t have the extra energy to dedicate to active learning at the moment, not to worry. There are lots of fun ways to stay sane with the help of some local small businesses too!

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