The world is changing, and so are our ways of teaching. During these challenging times of a global pandemic, of school and nursery closures, of social distancing and strict lockdowns, we have had to adapt and adjust to the new environment in ways never imagined before and that includes virtual learning. While we naturally cannot solve the current situation, we can provide support through interaction with the children we dearly love.
Interacting on a daily basis with classmates and teachers – who our children connect with emotionally with – can provide the necessary daily pattern that helps refocus their thoughts and reduce their stress levels. This led, Kido Education to introduce a one of a kind platform: Kido Home for the early years education sector.
It is an international virtual learning preschool and kindergarten program for 2 to 6 year old, taught live by our teachers from across the world. The curriculum successfully instills 21 century skills in children, nurtures their all-around development, ensures advanced academic performance, and is also engaging and a lot of fun!
Concerns Yet Prevail
Still, there are many questions that worry both educators and parents alike. How can we make sure that our children stay engaged with our teachers and with the distance learning program that we provide? How can we ensure during these unprecedented global circumstances that our immersive, modern early childhood learning system continues to deliver its global promise of excellence?
The answer is simple – by genuinely changing the way Early Childhood education is practiced, delivered, and experienced.
It is important that preschools and schools curate online sessions which are engaging, interactive, visually attractive, and supported by a digital presentation to enhance clarity. The program should include songs, games, calendar skills, mental and physical challenges, curricular content. All of those are introduced in a multi sensory approach to support children’s diverse learning styles and multiple intelligences.
How to Address any Concerns?
Naturally, the age and abilities of children make online and virtual learning in the Early Years a challenge. We all know that young children learn best through interaction and the meaningful relationships they build with their educators, their peers, and the environment that surrounds them.
Also, make sure to keep talking to your little ones and help them through regular conversations addressing their thoughts and feelings.
So, how can we ensure these if the only available means of interacting with children is through a computer or television screen?
– First and foremost, educational institutions should undertake research and studies about beneficial screen time for young children and have fully aligned Distance Learning Program with these.
– Children are naturally attracted to technology. We must ensure that children learn to use current technology in this constantly-evolving world. Integrating technology, when done well, not only reinforces key technical skills children need to thrive in the 21st century, but it also increases engagement and enhances learning in their continued learning journey.
– Live sessions conducted through secure video conferencing bring back a sense of normalcy into children’s lives during a time of uncertainty. Seeing their teachers on a regular basis helps reduce anxiety. They are trusted adults to the children who have been parts of their daily lives before these lives and routines were turned upside down.
– The offline pre-recorded videos should be conducted and made in the same manner as online live sessions. They should be engaging, cheerful, and enable children to understand the activity and the process of execution thereof. This practice supports children’s learning process that will increasingly empower them to become self-motivated learners and soon the children should be able to execute them with minimal assistance. Parents are there as a support to their child, just like a teacher would be in the classroom setting a facilitator and a guide. The children themselves are the ones working towards mastering the skills with the provided support.
Studies show that the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than plain text. If we include a visual medium like a video in our offline teaching, our children have a significantly better chance of understanding and retaining information that was introduced to them in the live session. Hands-on practice will further support and enhance this understanding and retention process.
The cycle is then further supported with the online reflection session, where teachers can reflect with the child on the learning process and the activity they completed. These reflection sessions become teachers’ observation and assessment tools. They enable them to check for understanding of a certain concept or progress in the process of acquiring of a skill.
Listed below are some more tips and tricks that help keep children engaged in virtual learning.
1| Incorporate movement
Sitting still for any length of time is hard for most kids. That’s why some movement into the sessions is encouraged.
2| Be silly and include humor!
A lot of kids love it when you do something goofy and unexpected.
3| Take advantage of the screen sharing feature
You can literally screen share anything just by clicking the screen share button during your meetings.
4| Play games
You can see how you could create a variety of interactive games during your meetings.
5| Have a parent present to help keep the child focused & engaged
Having a parent present during the online session helps the child stay focused and stay engaged.
6| Change things up throughout the meeting!
A quick change in activity like this is the perfect way to break up the monotony of talking back and forth via video only.
7| Outline the expectations at the start of the meeting
Think visual schedules or a checklist
8| Let them be the teacher
Let your children be the teacher and have them explain concepts to you. Have them explain the concept first, then ask them to show it to you or give you examples. This is how successful virtual learning is achieved.
9| Plan themed meetings
You can try a theme like bring your pet or your favorite stuffy to the meeting. Or try hat day or pajama day (although aren’t we all living in pajamas these days?!)
10| Show & tell
Kids love to show off things they love, whether it’s their pet, a sibling, their new dress, or something new they learned
11| Imitation & copycat exercises
Show something to the children and have them try to copy it back. Think of ways that you can incorporate imitation exercises like this into your sessions
12| Use the child’s interests
Follow your children’s lead and use their interests. It’s such an easy hook for engaging your children.
The world is changing and so is the way we live it. It is time we adapt this change for our little ones and maximize the opportunities and growth that come along with it.
13| Be prepared
Virtual learning preparations are a little different from regular learning. That is why you need to set up the best gadgets for your child to ensure maximum benefit from the experience.
More about Kido home
Customized to your child and delivered to your home. Year round, every day, complete with holiday camps. we deliver our curriculum, international network of teachers and multiple languages to children anywhere in the world. All at a fraction of the price of a regular international preschool, nursery or kindergarten!
High quality pedagogy and teaching, accessible to anyone, without the need for a physical presence. Available initially in four time zones – USA, the UAE, India, and Hong Kong. Visit the Kïdo Home website to learn more, and book a free trial class: www.kidohome.net
How does it Works?
Teacher led activities and lesson plans, delivered via live video sessions in small groups are complemented by touch screen interactive modules and home activities. One on one time with parents and teachers and an ability to move children within groups, unconstrained by age, ensure customization to the child’s abilities.
The article has been written by :
Lead Trainer Asia