With the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of online education has become one of the staple ingredients in our day-to-day lives. However, one of the basic frustrations of transitioning to online learning is not only the inevitable rise in screen time among young students but also the lack of practice in conducting a class on a virtual platform. This is especially true for preschool teachers, who teach 3 to 4-year-olds online.
While this might be a relatively new concept, the fact is that online education is slowly becoming a new normal. Nowadays, many parents are looking forward to admitting their students to get online preschool learning instead of sending them to a conventional school. This is convenient for a lot of people – as it diminishes the commute time and helps the students live a more relaxed life. Students are also getting more tech-savvy. Online learning is slowly getting embedded in our system.
Can Preschools Be Taught Online?
Humans are known for their adaptive capability. Although long-term online learning might be a new thing, with a little bit of practice, you would be able to grasp the concept and help your students get the best experience possible.
Here are some tips for you to follow in order to master the virtual platform.
There is a first time for everything. That is what happens in this case, too. Understand that this is a new thing and the only way to get through it is by trial and error. Therefore, you should be aware of your skills and developments and start from there. Since it is a relatively new concept, nobody expects you to be perfect at it. Also, give space to the children and their families. They are also learning along the way.
Have a Growth Mindset
Try different approaches and understand what works and what does not. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. That is how we all learn. Students will also be able to understand which methods they prefer. Trying different approaches does not harm the children. An approach might work on one child and not work on the other. The key, as a teacher, is to find a balance, which will help all the students in class collectively.
Partner with the Families
In an online learning environment, even the family members are involved. Therefore, take their existence into consideration and partner with them to ensure the best results for the children. For instance, you can use the materials in the children’s homes as a way to demonstrate your points. The parents can assist a child with things and make learning easier for them.
Understand Your Students’ Attention Spans
There is no denying that children have a relatively short attention span. However, it will be shorter when the class is happening on some video conference call. The act takes more time, effort, and sustained attention. Preschoolers are no exception. If you see a student getting away from the screen, they are probably taking a brain break.
Keep the Activities Short
Following up on the previous point, it is best to keep the activities short. This would help them to focus their attention fully on the activity. Make sure you give them short breaks between activities in order to replenish their mental strength. Try breaking up your lessons into small chunks with sufficient movements.
Get the Kids Moving
Alternating between active and passive activities would help you garner better results. For instance, try creating a dance pattern or let children do a scavenger hunt (like, find three red things in the house). Moving around activates their brain and helps them focus a lot better.
Have a Set Routine and Stick to It
Routines are a major part of a successful venture. By setting routines, everyone knows what to expect. Send them a printed schedule of what will happen in the class. This would give the students and the parents an idea of what to expect and be prepared for it.
Make Your Lessons Flexible
You can make your lessons flexible by overlapping them over different domains. For example, you can ask them to count the red blocks. This would help them learn colors as well as numbers.
Display the Books and Presentation On-Screen
A great way to get the children’s attention is by projecting the topic of discussion in front of their eyes. If you are teaching some story, present the book on-screen so that they can see what they are being taught.
Experiment With New Games
Do not fall into the habit of conducting the same activities and games over and over again. At some point it becomes boring and the children tend to lose focus. Keep changing and introducing new games to catch the attention of the students. Children are curious beings and would be happy to know how something new works.
Teaching and learning online can be exhausting, especially at first. Make sure you are taking care of all the people involves. Give each other brain breaks and try to do things to keep the stress levels low.
It is important to understand that online learning is here to stay. Hence, the only way to cope with it is to get better at the system by practicing it ardently.