Written by: Rita Magallona
Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it may take weeks, even months, before schools can safely reopen their physical facilities. A lot of institutions have opted for distance education, also known as home-based learning, online education, and school at home.
Millions of parents worldwide now find themselves facilitating classes while working remotely and doing household chores, all at the same time. This is especially true for parents of preschoolers, who require more focused attention and hands-on activities.
How can you ensure that young children still get the education and emotional support they need during this stressful time?
5 Simple Preschool Home-Based Learning Tips for Parents
1. Know your role
Home-based learning is not the same as homeschooling. When you homeschool, parents are the primary teachers using materials provided by a homeschool provider. But for home-based learning, the actual teaching is often done by professional teachers through videos or online classes. Your child’s teachers will plan the lessons and provide online resources that have to be followed.
All you need to do is to set up what is needed and make sure your child follows the classes. Sounds easier said than done? Check out the rest of these tips.
2. Create a routine that works for everyone
Let’s face it: we can’t make the old ways work under this new normal. Families now have to create new routines that account for the new circumstances. Now’s the time to have an honest conversation with your boss about schedules. As most parents now face the challenge of combining remote work, childcare, and home-based learning, employers are more likely to offer flexible hours or adjust expectations.
When you make a schedule for your child’s learning, try to set classes when both of you are alert and attentive. Fit your child’s learning time within your work time, factor in doing chores, and do your best to avoid overlaps. Avoid late bedtimes so that everyone can get enough sleep.
Also, school doesn’t have to happen for six to eight hours. For preschoolers, an hour of focused school work each day is usually enough. Encourage your child to engage in independent or free play, which are also opportunities for them to learn.
3. Keep in touch with at least five people
The social isolation imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus has an impact on preschoolers. Their usual routine has been disrupted, they can no longer see their teachers and classmates, and playdates are also not allowed. As a result, they tend to be clingy and more attention-seeking at this time.
Understand that, more than academics, a large part of home-based learning for preschoolers is about connection, relationship, and a sense of security. This is why it is a good idea to have children stay in touch, even digitally, with their teachers and classmates. On top of that, don’t forget to schedule a regular call to grandparents and other significant relatives.
4. Provide opportunities for movement
Preschoolers need to move if their minds and bodies are to develop properly. Use what space you can to let your child run, jump, and dance. Also, join her if you can as she will always look to someone for engagement and approval.
When you facilitate your child’s learning time, understand that children of this age can only stay engaged in something for about 10 minutes. To maximize this, change her activity every 10 minutes, shifting from active play to quiet activity to active play, and so on.
5. Create something every day
Let your child build, draw, or write something new every day. Doing something creative will help in coping with the trauma of social isolation. In fact, this is something you, the parent should also take the time to do. Crafts, cooking, and other hands-on activities can help relieve stress and improve emotional well-being.
Isolation is hard for everyone, even more so for preschool children. With these tips, you can help them stay on track with their education and feel secure during the uncertainty of a pandemic.
Looking for a way to help others while you’re practicing safe distancing measures?
TOUCH Community Services is a not-for-profit charity organisation in Singapore. Officially registered in 1992, TOUCH has been a member of the National Council of Social Service since 1994. Over the years, the organisation has reached out to many individuals from all religions and races, including children, youths, families, people with special and healthcare needs, and the elderly.