The pandemic came as quite a shock to the whole world. What we consider as our normal has changed completely and we’ve learned to adapt to change and explore our alternatives. The same goes for children. The childhood of today’s generation will be so different from what our generation has experienced. This is also the case for their schooling and learning experiences. Since social distancing is one of the most important protocols to follow and physical gatherings are highly discouraged, schools have now transitioned to virtual classes for kids and online learning instead.
How Much Screen Time is Safe for My Child?
Many parents are hesitant to enroll their children in virtual classes because they are concerned about screen time, which is quite understandable. The appropriate amount of screen time differs per age group. Children below the age of 2 are discouraged to use screen media (non-interactive technology such as television programs, videos – passive viewing).
On the other hand virtual classes, which fall under interactive media since children are encouraged to engage with their teachers and children, are advised to run for 1 to 2 hours at the most each day, for children ages 2-5. However, it is highly advised to have a break every 30 minutes and have children engage in physical activities like simple exercises or dancing to songs. This will encourage them to get moving and will help keep them engaged throughout the session.
What are Virtual Classes for Kids?
Since having face-to-face classes has been momentarily suspended due to the rise in COVID cases across the globe, most parents have been looking into enrolling their children in virtual classes. Many schools offer virtual classes for kids in different age groups. Primary schools and preschools, to be specific, take different approaches when it comes to online learning since it is essential to explore different ways to keep children engaged during virtual classes.
Schools usually utilize blended approaches that are partnered with online sessions or virtual classes. There are often activities given that can be done off-screen through the guidance of their parents or adults at home that can assist the children. These activities aim to reinforce and extend the children’s learning experience.
Although schools usually offer a program good for the entire school year, some virtual preschools offer specialized programs that cater to the different common interests of children. These include special classes focusing on music, the arts, sciences, and foreign languages to name a few. Some classes are thematic or
theme-based. This is where they explore a specific theme (such as underwater animals, cooking, or community helpers) to explore in the course of a shorter period like 4-8 weeks.
The pandemic has challenged parents and educators to explore ways to address the children’s learning in a whole new set-up. Although this can be a struggle, especially at the beginning of the transition, setting up objectives and having a structured daily routine will be helpful not only for the children but also for the adults involved in their learning. Remember to get creative and be open to trying new things because, although the physical schools are closed, learning never stops!