"I really felt like this was one of those times when I was at a loss for words," said Vance. "How can I explain to them something I don't understand myself?"
At first, Vance looked for books on topic for her class of 18 six and seven year-olds.
Then, as news of the spill began to dominate newscasts - and conversations - Vance knew she needed something more.
"As a teacher, I think my kids think I know a lot but I don't know everything," she said. "This was one subject where I was feeling a little lost."
Around the same time Vance began her search for sources, WSRE, Pensacola's Public Broadcast System station, launched their own educational website in response to the spill. The comprehensive resource was aimed at teachers, students and parents with questions about all-things oil.
It was just what Vance was searching for.
"It's been a tremendous resource for my students," she said. "It's been so good for us all to have a clearer picture of what is going on."
The website is chock-full of age-appropriate information and includes a vocabulary section, up-to-date photos and other helpful links for parents and educators alike.
Jill Hubbs, the director of education, outreach and content development for WSRE, said the website is as timely as it is necessary for the Panhandle population.
"As a former teacher myself, I knew children would have questions," she said. "So, we went to work to help answer them."
Hubbs and her team created the page with kids in mind, but she said parents will certainly benefit, too.
"Having done something similar after hurricanes Ivan and Dennis, we knew what kind of format to follow," explained Hubbs. "What we found then was that the program was just as helpful for parents as it was kids."
Hubbs acknowledged that the recent spill was new territory - even for her team - but she said they've been able to work together to generate material that appeals to their broad audience.
"It's a worrisome time, especially since no one knows what is going to happen," said Hubbs. "Our goal was to provide a positive emphasis on what is going on."
Vance has found the resource to be especially helpful when it comes to the semantics of the spill.
"So many of my students just didn't understand the terminology," said Vance. "I think having this resource has helped put their minds at ease."
Hubbs said her staff is working diligently to maintain the site so that it contains the most up-to-the-minute information, and to ensure that WSRE's younger viewers have a reprieve from the barrage of information regarding the spill.
"When every television channel is constantly broadcasting information about the spill, it can sometimes seem like there is no safe haven," said Hubbs. "Ultimately, that's what we're here for, that's why we developed this website and that's why we're tailoring our daytime programming for our younger viewers. Not only to provide information and to reach out to the communities we serve, but to help everyone understand something they have no control over."