As the education crisis caused by COVID-19 continues, all levels of education should focus more on the number of skills students need to learn rather than the amount of time spent on Zoom. This is especially important in primary school where education is closely tied to developmental milestones, and for pandemic parents who are struggling to find time and energy to help their kids with online education.
No matter what shape school takes for your child this fall — remote, in-person, some combination thereof — there’s no question this year is going to be different. The usual day-to-day rhythms are gone. The stakes are high. Parents and teachers are on edge. But now, more than ever, we are all in this together. And parents and caregivers certainly want to help support the educators who are risking quite a lot to guide their children through these unprecedented times.
‘Pandemic Pods’ And ‘Micro-Schools’: How Parents are Finding Ways To Help Their Kids — And Themselves — Manage Schooling At Home
After spending months keeping her 6-year-old daughter occupied with nature hikes, scavenger hunts and virtual playdates, Julia Devetski was hoping she could finally return to work full time again once the energetic rising first grader was back in the classroom this fall at her school in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage — and after learning that her daughter and her Chicago Public Schools classmates will be doing remote learning at home at least part of the time when the new school year starts in September — Devetski joined the soaring ranks of parents who are counting on “pandemic pods” or “micro-schools” as a solution to their dilemma.
Young children need to enjoy the process of learning instead of focusing on performance. Educators and parents can emphasize the joys of trying new activities and learning something novel. We need to help children understand that mistakes are a welcome, normal part of learning. This period is also the time to establish a growth mindset—the belief that talents and abilities are developed through effort instead of being innately fixed. Educators should avoid labeling children or making universal statements about their ability. Even compliments such as “You’re so smart” are counterproductive. Instead, emphasize persistence and create safe spaces for learning. Children will learn to love learning if we show enthusiasm over the process rather than fixating on results.
Since schools aren’t hospitals, the school nurse will be one of the sole medically trained guards against COVID-19. This isn’t radical. A nurse should do a nurse’s job. But there are very few full-time nurses in American schools.
For the first time in my children’s lives, they are not being rushed to put on shoes or get out the door. There are no scheduled piano lessons or gymnastics classes for which we cannot be late. No standardized tests. No carpools or playdates or summer day-camps that we frantically booked months in advance.
Playdates are out, schedules are in — what experts say kids should and shouldn’t do as the coronavirus outbreak closes schools
In an effort to slow the virus’ spread, almost 20 states temporarily shuttered statewide kindergarten through 12th-grade schools as of Sunday. They are shifting to online instruction, just like many colleges that are ending in-person classes. Many other cities and towns are taking the same approach in states that haven’t yet announced closures.