Whether your children will be engaged in blended or 100 percent remote learning, it is important to help them know when it is time to focus on work. Reading daily, completing homework, and submitting assignments on time are important skills your children will need to be successful students. Fortunately, you can play a huge role in helping them to succeed! Here are ways you can help support your child’s education:
Setting Up for Early Childhood Activities
Everything your child needs to learn at home is already there! Use household materials to support your child’s learning such as kitchen items, clothes or fabric for dress-up, writing materials, recycled and natural materials, or collections such as buttons, bottle caps, clothespins, etc. Allow your child to explore in places where they are already comfortable. This will lend itself to the learning process. You do not have to create a classroom in your home or outside; children learn best where they feel familiar and safe.
Blend Different Learning Methods with Screen Time
Parents can suggest that their children spend part of their learning time away from computer and device screens. For example, if possible, encourage your child to print out some of their assignments and work from paper copies. Reading from traditional text books and other paper-based written materials is also a good way to break up screen time and help children engage with work. You can also use objects commonly found around the house, like buttons or bottle tops, to serve as math manipulatives.
Connect with Other Parents
While maintaining social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus is crucial, it is also important to remain connected to your community. All families are facing similar challenges, so it can be helpful to share feelings, get access to resources, and learn what others parents are doing, while encouraging each other. Families can stay connected with each other at the school level by participating in their school’s Parent Association / Parent Teacher Association and at the district level by participating in their district’s Community Education Council meetings.
As social distancing measures continue to remain in place, experts say that keeping daily routines will bring everyone, including you, a sense of stability. Start by ensuring your child has a regular sleep schedule that is similar to the schedule they kept before schools transitioned to remote learning last spring. Additionally, you can help children maintain their focus and consistency by setting times for when certain daily activities begin and end. Consider making a simple visual schedule to support your child’s understanding of what to expect. Prepare children for a change in a routine. Before the change happens, provide 1-2 reminders about the upcoming change.
Interacting Online with Friends Outside of Classes
Like you, your children also benefit tremendously from connecting with their friends and family. Young people experience community by keeping up with what their friends are doing on social media, finding out what is trending in pop culture, or just interacting with someone their own age about how they feel about the world around them. Try to build time into your child’s schedule so that they can get the social and emotional engagement that only their friends can give them.
Make Time to Have Fun
Having fun is important to the development of children’s social and emotional health and well-being. When children are happy, they also concentrate better on their schoolwork. So make time for “fun breaks” to do anything that you and your children truly enjoy doing either separately or together, like drawing alone, or dancing together to your favorite song.
Play with Your Child
Playing with your child is a way of supporting their learning at home. It can provide an opportunity to connect and communicate with your child in new ways. Your child’s teaching team will provide you with some ideas that can build on classroom learning, but children learn through all types of play. So, the more often they are playing during the day, the more they are learning.
Strategies to support learning through play:
- Play with your child in your home language.
- Play and learning can happen in everyday activities (bath time, cooking, laundry, etc.), so involve your child whenever you can.
- Talk to your child about what you notice they are doing (e.g. “I see that you are stacking the boxes.”).
- Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions have no defined answer and extend the learning that is happening. This way of asking questions gives children the opportunity to say whatever they are thinking or develop new ways of thinking (e.g. “I wonder what will happen if you put one more box on top?”).
- Build on learning that is happening in your child’s program at home, when possible (e.g. if the classroom is working on “What is in my community?” take a walk through your neighborhood and talk about what you see.).
- Share what you are doing at home with your child’s teaching team, so the teaching team can be part of the remote learning process and continue to get to know you and your child.
Create a Consistent Space to Learn
Having a specific space for learning at home is critical to ensuring a separation between work and play throughout the school year. Ideally, the space your children learn should be quiet, comfortable, and used for learning only. The space should not also be used for playing, whenever possible. This will tell your children that whenever they are in that space, they are in school.
When it is time for your child to do school work, take their phones, electronic devices, and toys away until they have completed it. They will get more work done and have those activities to look forward to during their “fun break” or dedicated playtime.