It is almost midnight, but Rashi is on her computer. The presentation needs her attention. There is a video she needs to look on the internet. Another book needs to be downloaded on her system. And don’t forget the messages and emails have been lying in her inbox for two days! If you are wondering that Rashi is one of those corporate slaves struck on a busy day, you might be wrong. For she is a preschool teacher, trying to don a million hats and grapple the unprecedented challenges amidst COVID 19.
With more and more preschools moving to virtual classes every day, the teaching-learning process is undergoing a paradigm shift. So, the army of teachers has no choice but to find novel ways to engage the little ones and ensure that they are ‘learning.’ The experience can not only be very demanding but sometimes daunting as well. For preschool teachers were never expected to be ‘working from home,’ were we?
All said and done, online classes are the latest buzzword in the education world right now. Ed-tech seems to be the way to move forward with the learning of the children. Since planning for an online class is an entirely different experience, given below are some tips and tricks that might come handy.
With most parents occupied in their office work and managing without any help, attending virtual classes with the children may seem like an additional task. Hence, try sending in the class schedule a week prior that enables parents to work out their schedule better. The parents will surely thank you for this help.
Design a FAQ
Got parents making frantic calls or messaging every hour to inquire about the homework or an activity? How about addressing those at the very beginning and making your work easier! A simple tip for preschool teachers is to pen down or record answers to the issues that parents might encounter during activity and share with them. A little hand-holding from your side will not only save your time but ensure that parents carry out the activity well with the children.
Downsize the class
A child tootling here, another one walking there! Sounds familiar, isn’t it? A significant challenge for preschool teachers teaching pre-primary grades is to ensure that all children pay attention in the class. However, doing so with 25 children in a virtual classroom may not be ideal. Given such a situation, one can consider downsizing the class and dividing the children into small groups. Further, you may also think of recording the class in session and share it with parents. This way, you will be able to give more time to each student and save yourself from all that micromanagement.
Let internet be your friend
One good thing that has happened during the lockdown is that a lot of websites are offering their content for free. From digital storytelling to worksheets and lesson planning, you name it, and they have it. Some of the sites we picked for you are
Free Printables from We are Teachers
Teacher Resources from Twinkl
Primary Teaching Resources from BBC
Online stories from storylineonline
Pupetry from the Center for pupetry
So, go ahead and browse them. We bet that you won’t be disappointed.
The lockdown period has seen a spike in the screen time for young preschoolers. As per the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, screen time should not be more than one hour for children less than five years of age. The older children may also feel strained and sluggish being in front of the screen for long durations. So, allow them to get up and take screen breaks every thirty minutes. Let them go and count the birds in the sky or get their favourite toy to show it to the class. Can learning be any easier than this?
As preschool teachers, we know the importance of feedback. In standard times, it is through verbal and non-verbal gestures of our students that teachers improvise their lessons. Virtual classrooms sadly, do not provide an opportunity for teachers to get feedback from children. Roping in parents to do so can be an excellent way to improvise your teaching. All you have to do is to prepare a rating scale for parents to give you feedback. This partnership will go a long way in helping you hone the digital teaching skills.
Sure, the times are tough but all I hope is that you will tap on to the potential of technology and make the most of it. After all, the show must go on! Do let us know if these tips and tricks helped you to plan your better.
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