The global pandemic has turned remote learning from an educational option to an outright necessity. With quarantine orders across the country, both teachers and parents are struggling to move learning from inside the classroom to at home on the computer. Given how quickly all of this transpired, it’s only natural that you may feel anxious and overwhelmed at how to make distance learning work.
In the preschool environment, playtime in a curated environment is key to educational development. Playtime helps young children develop social and emotional skills, brain function, and learning skills. The role of an early childhood educator is to facilitate this process, using materials that appeal to a child’s natural curiosity to help them engage with their surroundings and with other children.
These principles must be at the forefront of early childhood education, even if they can’t be practiced in a physical classroom at the moment. That’s why we are working with families to help them recreate a distance learning environment within their own homes, both onscreen and beyond. While remote learning is a new concept for many, it is possible to bring these skills to your own living room or kitchen table and help your child learn at home.
Let Your Child Give You Cues
Children are still inclined to play, explore, and learn, even if they can’t do so in a classroom. As you observe your child during playtime – perhaps even record it with your phone – pay attention to trends or patterns to share with your child’s teacher. Maybe your child gravitates towards playing with toy trucks or blocks over other toys. Maybe they would rather look at books. This will allow you to cater to your child’s education plan to their natural interests or abilities.
We’ve all heard the reports of what extended screen time can do to young, developing brains. Much of distance learning involves the use of computers, laptops, or iPads. It’s understandable, then, that you’ll want to limit screen time for younger children, particularly between the ages of two and seven. Not only is extensive screen time unhealthy, but their young attention spans can’t focus for too long.
So, what else can you do? Distance learning doesn’t have to depend exclusively on technology. Integrate periods of playtime in your remote school day. Use props as tools for learning, like small blocks for learning addition and subtraction. Have time for art projects, reading books, and other expressions of creativity that suit your child’s personality. Share some of your child’s favorite tactile learning techniques with your child’s teacher, or other parents of children in the class.
Add Fun & Innovation With Music
Distance learning is hard for lots of families, but there are ways to make it fun. Children love and respond positively to dance and music. Incorporating song or movement to a lesson can not only make the content easier to remember, but it’s much more fun. Song and dance also make interacting with the screen a lot more interesting and less harsh on the eyes and brain. For children who are more easily distracted, this is a good way to keep them focused and engaged.
Be Good To Yourself
There’s a reason not all of us are cut out to be teachers: it’s a hard job! Rewarding, yes, but hard. So, don’t feel bad about yourself for struggling with the distance learning process; many parents are, and you’re not alone. The previous standards of successful learning no longer apply in the midst of a pandemic. If you find yourself – and your child! – feeling frustrated, it’s okay to take a break. Do an activity that relaxes you instead. Talk with other parents feeling similarly for support and encouragement. Take comfort in knowing that you’re doing your best, and this situation is temporary.
Reach Out To Your School For Help
Providence Children’s Academy is a preschool and daycare center in Coconut Creek, Florida, that seeks to enrich children through education and developmentally appropriate activities in a safe, healthy environment. We understand that this transitional period is difficult for many families, and no one should have to go through it alone. If you need support or advice regarding your child’s distance learning, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 954-570-6914.