The Rising Nepal
Kathmandu, May 24: People worldwide have been adapting to new behavioural changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has brought lives all across the globe to a standstill, people are finding new ways to continue their work and studies.
Work from Home (WFH) has become the new corporate culture and online classes have become a new way of learning and preschools are no exception to it.
During the nationwide lockdown, preschools in and outside the valley have introduced virtual classes to teach children stuck at home.
Although online classes have become an effective way of learning for students, they aren’t quite effective when it comes to kindergarten students, the parents say.
“After the lockdown started, we were worried that our son who is 4-year old would possibly forget everything that he has learnt in school,” said Ramesh Sharma, 32. “But the school decided to conduct online classes also for kindergarten students.”
Although the school has taken a greater initiative during the COVID-19 crisis to keep the students engaged, remote learning isn’t a workable idea for kindergarten students, Sharma said.
“Our son used to enjoy his online classes in the earlier days. But now, he always tries to skip it,” he added.
“We, as parents, also think that teaching preschool children virtually doesn’t work,” Sharma said. “Online platforms are good to make children keep in touch with their friends and teachers at school, but they cannot learn or grasp whatever is being taught through a laptop or mobile screen.”
Like Sharma, many other parents have been experiencing the same problem. “Children at the kindergarten level require a lot of attention of their teachers. It isn’t an easy task to teach them the basics of all the subjects in person. Now, the idea of remote learning has made academic learning even more complex for preschool students,” said Sarita Shrestha, mother of a 5-year old.
“My daughter is in Lower Kindergarten, aka LKG. She enjoys studying and learning new things a lot. But she doesn’t sync with her teacher in her virtual class,” said Shrestha.
Meanwhile, the preschools which have been conducting online classes also said that academic teaching wasn’t effective for students of kindergarten level.
Kamala Pathak, Founder of Spring Garden Kids World, Basundhara said, “Initially, we decided to start teaching online to make sure that our students’ habit of learning new things every day doesn’t get compromised due to the lockdown.”
“As it has become difficult to teach them new syllabus, we have used online classes as a medium to keep in touch with our students,” said Pathak. “The online classes that we’ve been conducting are rather interactive than informative.”
Teaching 3- to 5-year old children online isn’t quite practical. “Thus, we are conducting revision classes for them but we’ve decided to not teach them new syllabus,” she added.
Teaching academic syllabus to students requires a lot of efforts considering their mental development, the parenting experts say.
“Teaching kindergarten level children is not similar to teaching grown-ups. It really requires a lot of efforts,” said Sushila Dhakal, a Montessori trainer.
“It is easier said than done to teach 3- to 7-year old children. The basics of all subjects such as English, mathematics, science and Nepali are taught in preschool. Foundation for other social skills and extracurricular activities is also laid in preschool,” said Dhakal.
The more the class is interactive, the faster the students learn. Also, the teaching modality in Montessori schools is individualistic rather than holistic. Due attention must be given to each and every student as the ability of students to grasp whatever is being taught differs from one to another, she added.
“Thus, remote learning doesn’t sound effective for preschool kids,” said Dhakal. “Children have a short span of concentration and they can be distracted even by little things. Thus, to keep them engaged in virtual class isn’t possible.”
Dhakal said that it would be difficult for children to adapt to the new mode of learning. “Online sessions for preschool kids can be run to keep them in touch with their teachers and friends. But teaching them an entirely new syllabus doesn’t sound like a good idea,” Dhakal added.
Preschool is where the foundation to one’s academic life is laid. It is an important part of one’s educational journey which shouldn’t be compromised, she said.