The online class is one of the options you have for your preschooler while this pandemic is still raging on. But if you think that online class is not yet appropriate for you preschooler, you can opt-out of it. There are other options for you and your kid, you can still pursue his education by being a mom-teacher. If you want to be guided by curriculum standards, you can enroll your child in a home school institution. Whichever modality you choose is fine, just don’t deprive your child the learning that he needs in this stage. Brain researches say that it is between the ages 0-5 that the brain develops to its optimum. You might not want to miss this chance. Leaving the child without learning at this stage is highly detrimental which can lead to a lifelong learning disability.
If you decide to have your child attend a virtual classroom, you must commit your full support, no excuses! Preschool’s virtual classroom is way too different and difficult from the regular classroom you have been used to. Your child’s school, and most especially your child’s teacher needs you, because, the fact is, an online class is not a developmentally appropriate practice for our little bundles. Little children need movement, they need social interaction, and their fine motor skills are not yet fully developed, therefore they need you beside them help them do their task and be their classroom buddy.
Before you change your mind, read on. The following will give an insider view of what’s going on in a preschool virtual classroom and you might probably think that this will work for you and your kid.
SCENARIO 1: Teacher’s Limitation
Your child’s teacher is struggling too. As much as she wants to give her students the must-needed attention and care. She can’t be with her students, she can’t give them stars on their hands (only virtual ones), she can’t hold their hands during writing time, and many more warm physical interactions that teachers do during face-to-face classes that she can’t do right now. Parents must be there on behalf of the teachers.
SCENARIO 2: Children’s Natural Tendency
It is a natural tendency for children to move around, and tinker with anything they put their hands into. They cannot sit still for over 10 minutes. It is perfectly ok if you see your child doing all kinds of stunts while in front of the virtual classroom. Believe me, they are listening. If you want to make sure that your child is listening, ask evaluative questions from time to time. Do not force them to sit still for more than 15 minutes. I’m sure preschool teachers know about the developmentally appropriate practice, they will let their students have screen break, move and dance too.
SCENARIO 3: Anticipate Technology’s Glitches
You cannot trust technology. Be prepared for a possible glitch that may come along while he is having virtual classes, it may be low bandwidth, trouble with the mic, no audio, etc. If one of these happens, adults should be around to help the child. You can also teach your child minor technical skills like muting and unmuting, basic mouse skills, and turning on and shutting down the computer. As much as possible, have them use laptops or pc rather than a tablet for maximum interaction.
SCENARIO 4: Discipline in Home
“Everything I learned in life, I learned in Kindergarten,” this line from the famous author is true. There are classroom rules that the teacher imposed inside the classroom which may not work in the virtual setting. These rules develop discipline, self-help, empathy and other desirable values in life. Examples of these are lining-up, waiting for one’s turn, cleaning up your mess, sharing, and many more. To develop these values, you can collaborate with the teacher of your child to still impose classroom rules and the parents are the ones to impose them in the house, monitor their behaviour and make them experience the consequences of not following the rules.
So far, these are the different scenarios that parents of preschool children should anticipate in an online class. But how about screen time? Aren’t their health compromised? Experts say that the advisable screen time for preschool children should be 30 minutes, however, there are preschool centres who conduct classes of up to 60 minutes. As a parent, discern which is good for your child.
However difficult, there are silver linings in this new normal. The bonding time between a parent and a child has been strengthened, this is one of the best things that happened to the family.