The whole world is going through trying times. It is a bizarre experience where an attack from a virus has compelled the whole world to stay home. While most of us sit at home, doing our best to isolate ourselves and our family from the COVID-19 virus, we find ourselves comparing our current schedules and behaviours to days when things were “normal,” just a couple of months ago. We have been forced to adapt to new schedules and new routines almost overnight. Parents are suddenly working from home, most classroom instructions are now taking place online, and trips to the grocery store are suddenly creating unexpected feelings of anxiety. With all these changes, of course, come new questions and a new perspective of the world around us.
The one thing this pandemic has taught us is resilience – human beings are constructive and innovative and always come out of challenging situations, even stronger. We have seen people get back to work the very next day after various natural calamities like floods, cyclones, even bomb blasts in the train, and more. Humans have the ability to find solutions and overcome hurdles when pushed to the edge. It’s not just innovative ways to maintain social distancing, but to learn and grow as an individual, to cook, to teach young ones, to support children in their studies, to exercise, we have seen avid gym going people continue their workouts at home with online sessions and more and the list goes on! With all of this, one thing is clear ‘learning goes on’ – lockdown or no lockdown. The pandemic has seen a paradigm shift in the way education is being delivered – school teams, teachers, children, and even parents are now well versed with ‘virtual learning’ – What once witnessed a lot of resistance from parents, teachers, and students is now ‘the new normal’. This phase has helped us all realize that online education is not as bad as it seems. When we say this, we do not mean that children need not come to school, but that technology has empowered and enabled us as educators, to deliver high quality and engaging experiences to children as they enjoy the safe and secure environment of their homes. Another important thing parents must understand is that all children are digital natives – this is the digital age and facilitating a safe and curated means of exposure to technology will boost their overall learning and development and ensure they do not feel left out. Another aspect to remember is that escaping the screen is next to impossible, what you can control is the time limit, and the kind of content exposure.
Parents fear excessive use of technology and screen time, and one of the questions are school teams have been asked most is ‘how much screen time is acceptable’ – our answer to this is simple – First parents must understand and distinguish: Why is the child spending time behind the screen and what are the kind of activities the child is doing when spending time behind the screen. If screen time is used to expand knowledge, to acquire a new skill, to sharpen existing skills, to enhance creativity, or to boost physical and mental health – it should be embraced with arms wide open. However, if screen time is being used as a babysitter – to ensure the child is quiet as parents or family members go about their daily chores, then that is dangerous. Today, we have the choice to ensure our children are positively engaged and are in a happy place mentally and physically while at home. Apart from the choice, we also have multiple options on virtual schooling and virtual preschooling to choose from. It will not just keep your child abreast with activities and concepts that are important for his/her age, but also build their confidence and ensure they are socially connected and emotionally balanced as they interact with peers, celebrate happy moments with friends and teachers and grow mentally and academically at the same time. There is no documented data that states minimum number of acceptable hours for screen time, but according to the research-based virtual preschooling and virtual schooling programs initiated by Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd., we see that 2 hours of curated screen time for toddlers has proven to be beneficial and 4-5 hours of well-planned screen time for higher grades has been immensely effective and appreciated by parents.
When we were put in this situation unexpectedly we decided that our children need not miss out on their academics and their connection with peers and teachers. In March itself, before the lockdown was imposed, our management, curriculum team, school administration, and teachers came together ideated on designing a holistic virtual schooling and virtual preschooling program. Our teachers are connecting with students via a video calls. They have their lesson plans and guides in place beforehand the session and they are creatively using materials at home, to help children learn in the most creative ways. Our children are also doing dance, arts, language, coding, and physical education classes online. Teachers have been working round the clock to make their lessons creative and fun. There have been virtual field trips, guest lectures, celebrations of birthdays, and special days online. Nothing that was part of the regular school/preschool program has been missed out virtually. Children are enjoying these classes most, as they get to meet their friends virtually. An internal survey shows us that what was initially met with caution and anxiety from our parents, is now an initiative that is greatly appreciated by 70% of our parents as they are able to see the classes live and the quality of education being delivered.
We see our system is working well for children, parents, and teachers despite the technical glitches at times. Just like in school we have a psychologist available on call for children and parents, should they wish to reach out to experts on any anxiety faced during these times. We also have our shadow teachers take extra classes for our special needs children. The management is going great lengths to ensure all aspects of regular schooling are met, despite migrating to the virtual learning model.
Simply put, to us, the best way to deal with this period is to view it differently. We see this time as a time to CONNECT, CREATE & EVOLVE - to connect with your family, pursue that one hobby that you always wanted to, take time to help children understand the importance of helping at home with household chores and above all spend some time with yourself. We encourage you to make yourself a daily schedule and follow it make time for everything right from meditation, virtual schooling for your child, spending time with your family, learning something new, helping around to make a difference at your community level (any social service to support lesser fortunate at this time) and watching your favourite movies and shows on TV!
This is an opportunity you have to spend time with your family and bond with them, something most of you us have always longed for, it is also an opportunity to take time out for the things you love most and slow down a bit – let the lockdown be an opportunity for you to grow as an individual. Don’t let the lockdown take away the critical learning experiences your child deserves at this age.
Author: Kangaroo Kids - Team Marketing#boostingchilddevelopment