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Should I Let My Preschooler Stop Schooling During The COVID 19 Crisis?

Written by Ms Rapuncel Castillano Racines

Is online learning effective for my preschooler?

If you are a parent of a preschooler and is asking these questions, you are not alone. During this crisis, many parents are in a dilemma as to whether they should let their children stop attending school or continue since most schools will start online rather than face to face. Many parents are doubtful of the effectiveness of online education for their early learners.

As an educator, I have explored and sought good answers to these questions. I read countless articles and research papers as well as attend webinars and joined educators forums. This article is to encourage you to continue sending your early learners to online school. Let us examine the basic reasons:

Why do we send our early learners to Preschool?

We send our kids to preschool because we want to get kids excited and happy about learning- this is the most important skill because we teach children early on to “LEARN HOW TO LEARN”.We concentrate on the whole child and not academic skills. This will later on make them resilient and flexible learners.

In preschool, children learn important skills such as building friendships and norms in social interaction. Studies show that children who are well-adjusted socially become enthusiastic life-long learners; they are critical thinkers who can work well with others, use their imaginations, and solve problems creatively.

In the preschool, play, exploration, hands-on learning, social interaction, sensory activities, and real-world experiences help them discover and explore the world around them. This creates a sense of wonder and creativity in the child.

“We have decades of research in child development and neuroscience that tell us that young children learn actively – they have to move, use their senses, get their hands on things, interact with other kids and teachers, create, invent.”

— Professor Nancy Carlsson-Paige, child development expert and author.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT NOT TO MISS PRESCHOOL?

Early childhood education is very important because children begin to develop interests that will stay with them throughout their lives.  

Research has shown that children who attended a good preschool are more behaved (higher EQ) and can easily process information (higher IQ ).

“Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. ECCE has the possibility to nurture caring, capable and responsible future citizens.”-UNESCO

Advantages of not missing Early Childhood Education online:

1. Deeper communication between the teacher, child and parents

In an ongoing discussion in an online forum of top teachers worldwide, it was discovered that communication between the teacher, child and parents became more meaningful during the online education process. Parents became actively involved in their child’s education thus making the education process a positive experience for all parties involved. Teachers shared that through online learning they have a deeper understanding of the life and mindset of their students thus making them effective teachers. 

2. Opportunities for social interaction despite the lockdown.

With everyone staying at home, kids have missed out on the much-needed socialization and this could hamper their growth. By deciding to stay in school, small kids have the opportunity to interact with children of the same age and enjoy interacting with their teachers albeit online. Playing and singing with others online will help them learn, grow and mature.

3. Online school can still offer a regular routine

A regular routine is very important for a child to flourish. With routines, we reduce the stress of the unknown and the aimlessness of doing mundane things. 

4. Managed screen time for kids can be valuable

Studies show that early learners adapt well to new tools and this applies to gadgets as well. Using screen time for interactive online teaching is more positive than letting your child watch things unsupervised. As using digital technology will be the new normal, it will do good for our your young learners to learn how to use it effectively in their lifelong quest for knowledge.  

5. Online school will enable the child to easily transition when face to face school resumes.

Familiarity with classmates and teachers online can give your child a sense of safety and emotional acceptance that only a school community can give.

In conclusion, the development of the social and emotional aspect of the child has an overreaching effect on the kind of adult they will become. In this time of crisis, I think that parents must decide to invest their time and resources so as to maximize their children’s future well-being.

Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. Childhood is a small window of time to develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.

— Anonymous