By Sunita Jain, CEO, Hello Kids Chain of Preschools & Riverstone Schools.
Pandemic has brought many sectors to a standstill including the education, ( preschools, schools and colleges). Educational industry thus had to widely make use of the online learning platforms and modes of media to organize the classes and academic activities. Albeit this has caused a lot of discomfort at the beginning, slowly the students has got used to this and eventually started enjoying it. Online & Blended Learning classes is a boon during this tough times as our tomorrows are painted obscure by this strange virus – corona.
The years of having a fun filled environment, games, activities, friends and teachers who care you like mothers is been missed literally by the kids due to the pandemic. However Online Pre-schooling is in one way a kind of alternative method to compensate for this. To familiarize with interacting with people other than family, to involve in peers, to get trained in social and cognitive skills, to learn to do the basic routine tasks like having food on own, washing hands properly, keeping the books and place neat, basic manners etc are all acquired by kids from preschools. Online & Blended preschool classes though can’t fully provide all of these; it does help kids acquire most of these skills. Interactions through virtual set up will help kids in improving social skills through online group sessions through video conferencing, group activities with friends in the class through online groups etc. Story times with your teacher in front of you in Google meet or Zoom classes keep the kids engaged and entertained and hence they won’t feel alone and bored at home.
The online classes will also help the parents a lot that most parents might be working from home and managing kids in between is a huge task. Since the kids are occupied with classes and doing their home-works and assignments after class, parents are not disturbed much and can carry on with their work peacefully. Hence, online pre-schooling is very essential.
The real motive behind arranging online classes for preschoolers is that along with their physical development of the kids as they grow their emotional and brain development has to take place simultaneously which require proper classes and activities. This calls for depending on technology to make happen the classes as we are unable to organise physical classes because of the ongoing pandemic. Also, if the kids are let alone deprived of attention and care which might possibly happen because parents might be working from home all day and nannies might not be coming because of the pandemic, their emotional health will be negatively affected. Online classes help keep them engaged and also in deviating their thoughts of being deprived of attention from parents.
Though most of the kids be very much excited to go to preschool or school physically in post pandemic times, many of them will equally be stressed and anxious regarding different things. A few reasons can be about missing their old friends if they get shuffled and put in to different classes, about the stress in being exposed in to a class after considerably a long break spending at indoors at home not seeing much people due to pandemic and about the worries of again be randomly picked to answer questions. But those kids who have been attending the online classes are already in touch with their classmates and teachers through classes, group activities etc and hence won’t have any anxiety regarding going back to classes physically. They will only be too much excited about meeting everyone in person.
Those kids who are not attending any online classes might have caused a lot of fatigue and laziness as they are not playing and doing exercises while kids attending online classes will be instructed to do exercises and activities and teachers will make sure whether they are doing it. Doing the physical activities after a long time might be little difficult for those kids who didn’t attend any online pre-schooling.
The environment at preschools and schools in post pandemic time will be very different from the way it used to be at the time the pandemic has not hit the earth beings. So kids can be emotionally affected by these changes. Parents and teachers should keep a check on the emotional status of kids by asking them to express their positive and negative feelings without any hesitation. Also, all kids are not capable to communicate their emotions verbally and hence parents and teachers must analyze their emotional state through their behavior and body language. It’s very likely that the kids who were not engaged with any schooling during the pandemic might turn aggressive and behave indifferently and it’s because they are frustrated with lack of attention and due to the constant inactivity and lack of any sort of engagement. It will be a little difficult to bring them back to their normal state. Hence, make sure your kids are given online schooling.
Going back to preschools and schools is again challenging for kids who didn’t attend online classes in taking care of themselves with precautionary measures to fight the coronavirus. Because those who attended classes are given special awareness sessions about the pandemic and the ways we can keep ourselves safe through safety measures while others are not. Hence, parents of those kids who were at home not attending classes must ensure that their kids are trained to do precautionary measures. Make them aware that the germs and viruses are not visible top our naked eye but are unsafe and that to fight them these precautionary measures are necessary. When they have doubts and worries, try to support them and give ways to manage it. Kids generally look up to their parents and derive language, views and emotional cues from them. So speak and behave positively in front of kids. Transition is tough but it’s possible.
Sunita Jain,, CEO of Hello Kids Chain of Preschools believes in “ If you are not willing to LEARN, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can STOP you”.