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How Can Virtual Preschools Support Children and Families?

How Can Virtual Preschools Support Children and Families?

How Can Virtual Preschools Support Children and Families During Unprecedented and Unpredictable Times?

This global pandemic has changed education forever. Because of the global pandemic, schools shut down in more than 165 countries. Almost 1.5 billion children were out of school classrooms. Out of these, at least 40 million children were below the age of 5 years old. If it wasn’t for the access to online learning and virtual preschool, they would’ve missed out on a lot. Those early years of education are very critical to those kids’ overall development. 

According to UNESCO, millions of children worldwide still have either no or only partial access to physical schools. The pandemic made huge changes to education throughout the world. Furthermore, it created a massive shift to digital and distance learning.  

In the UAE, we have been fortunate that all educational institutions, including nurseries and early learning centers, have reopened. However, many parents remain cautious and wait to return to physical childcare. A large number of children participate in virtual early education.

Are virtual preschools good alternatives to physical ones? 

Research shows that during the first five years of children’s lives, the brain develops faster than any other time. Those years are the most malleable ever. Which makes them a critical period. Furthermore, if a child is not exposed to structured early learning opportunities. Or their learning curve abruptly stops for a prolonged period. This can have lifelong negative implications.

We know that young children learn best through interaction and the meaningful relationships they build with their:

  • – Educators.
  • – Peers.
  • – The environment surrounding them.

Thots pandemic restricted children’s access to physical interactions and learning opportunities in a physical nursery environment. Efficient, high-quality virtual preschool programs consider important matters like: 

  • – Developing young children. 
  • – Keeping them engaged. 
  • – Helping them adapt to learning styles.
  • -Understanding their needs and interests.
  • – Finally, measuring a child’s progress effectively and objectively.  

As for virtual preschool programs 

Many experts believe that educators need to base the learning process on live interactions. Those interactions must include themselves, children, and peers. That is the best way to ensure that young children benefit from online learning. In addition, learning activities should be multisensory, engaging, and meaningful. Educators should also use research on child development to make sure the learning process is successful. And surely, those interactions need to be fun! 

Moreover, many parents and experts agree that we saw extraordinary resourcefulness, dedication, and creativity from those programs. They definitely kept kids engaged while also sustaining their learning curves and progressing. Also, those parents reported that their children continued learning and developing. They also expressed that they have started building a community. With a sense of belonging with their classmates and educators in virtual classrooms.

Developing emotional resilience & normalcy to support families.

COVID-19 has shaken all of us to our very cores. As parents, professionals, and individuals, we had to – in many cases – reinvent ourselves. And go through a prolonged state of uncertainty, that naturally becomes a source of stress. Our children can easily absorb this stress from us. Also from the unfiltered and potentially anxiety-inducing information they are bombarded with. Especially from newscasts and a multitude of sources around them. Children are more vulnerable than adults. They depend on us for their safety and security, even when we as adults may not feel safe ourselves. Children are more vulnerable to the emotional impact which COVID-19 has disrupted our everyday lives. Threatening their sense of structure, predictability, and security.

Participating in a structured virtual preschool program will help your child maintain a sense of normalcy. Also, it will support their emotional well-being. Virtual preschool programs give your children a safe and reassuring place. Where they can build nurturing and secure adult and peer relationships. All in an environment that offers them routine, structure, and opportunities to learn self-regulation. High-quality virtual preschool programs will support your child’s all-round development. It will do so with a holistic and multisensory approach that will also have mindfulness and emotional well-being in mind. With consistent support, children can become incredibly resilient. 

What will education look like post-pandemic?

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold. Hybrid forms of teaching and learning across all age groups dominate our new normal. We can expect these to continue into the future beyond the pandemic. High-quality virtual preschools are rapidly becoming the next best alternatives to brick and mortar physical schools. Ensuring that children’s development continues even if they continue to stay physically distant from their peers and educators. 

This article is written By Fruzsina Benyei-Anirudhan, Head of Curriculum and Training, Kïdo Education – with over than 15 years of experience in multiple facets of Early Years Education.