Online Schools: An New Window to how your child sees the World
Dinusha Manjarie Wickremesekera
At 3 years a child starts going to Montessori. A few hours a day away from home to begin with but then once in school, more and more time is spent away from home with teachers and peers. Friendships are formed and lessons are learnt – in particular reading, writing, arithmetic, but also running, jumping and playing and getting along with others.
The lockdown changed all of this. Everyone had to stay and home and go online to school. Supervision is now your responsibility, and peers in their distance, have less influence. Remember in classes peers sometimes keep each other in check.
Online before the lockdown, we understood very differently. We wanted to restrict access but now we are trying to make sure that they stay online and that they stay engaged. So be aware that they stay focused and safe.
There are a few things to keep in mind when we talk about learning. Psychologists talk about the importance of readiness to learn. Readiness refers to being ready. We can’t learn until we are ready. Ready to learn means that we are physically, emotionally and mentally prepared to incorporate new things – to understand – to remember and to apply what we are being taught. Readiness to learn also implies that they are motivated to learn because we understand the reason for what we are doing. What psychologists have found is that our readiness to learn is higher when we are calm and not stressed.
Motivation is another important factor in learning. Motivation varies and is not intrinsic for all of us in the same way. It is dependent on multiple factors including maturity, development stage (physical, cognitive and emotional). We have relied on teachers to motivate them. Teachers have used their physical presence to get to know students and see how best to motivates them.
The other important thing is the understanding of content and the learning of skills. The teacher in schools guides the children through this.
Online schools still mean schools are in progress and teachers are doing their work. The difference is the feeling that a child gets in a different environment – away from the home environment. Now after more than a year you might think that this is no longer important. But particularly if your child is struggling to concentrate to stick to a task it might be useful to give him/her the sense that they are in school. If a particular place is not possible maybe dress in school uniform.
For younger kids, additional supervision might be needed. When supervising it is important to make sure that the child has independence too. But for this, it is best to observe the child and help the child to pay to his strengths disengaging when needed and directing when necessary.
It is not easy and there is no right or wrong way to do this. The most important thing you can give your child is your patience. The most important thing you can give yourself is kindness – you are good enough and you are doing this right.
Play with your child. Let your child play. Find a balance between learning and playing because the two are complementary – one reinforces the other.
This time will come to an end and children will return to school. But think of the blessings – this is also an opportunity to get to know your child, his/her learning style, his/her way of looking at the world. It is a whole new way to build a connection.
Tip: This time allows knowing your child. Take it. Enjoy it.
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