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.
Children vary so much in their verbal and social-emotional development that even two kids who share the same chronological age may have very different ways of understanding or expressing complex problems. The goal is to break it down in ways that are simple, but meaningful.
The world is changing by the minute, and we are in a time that involves many unknowns. All the recent changes are forcing parents, on top of their own work life, to now become their child’s teacher. Many parents are wondering how to support their child’s learning during the COVID-10 Pandemic. To continue to build your child’s academic skills and overall mental health, here are some tips that parents can employ to help navigate through this uncertain time.