ACG Strathallan Preschool is currently offering an online learning programme for their young charges. Operating during Level 3 and 4, the online sessions have been created to keep little ones entertained while also increasing their knowledge and encouraging social interaction at what could otherwise be quite an isolating time.
We’ve spoken to Centre Manager Angela Lunam about the benefits of online learning, and she has outlined the programme below, providing some helpful tips for parents with active youngsters.
Which age ranges does your online learning programme cover?
We are currently offering the sessions to our children aged from two to five years old.
What sort of programme are you offering?
We hold three virtual learning sessions every day, which begin with a welcome song. We have a dedicated programme each day, and over the week, this will include sessions in the arts, science, music and movement, along with numeracy and literacy. Each day we also set a task (for example, building their own fort) which we talk to the children about and demonstrate for them.
How long do the daily sessions last?
Each session lasts approximately 25 minutes.
How much (if any) parental supervision is required?
Once children are logged into our virtual learning session, parents can sit back and enjoy a short rest. We interact with their children using a range of theatrical songs, stories and games. This approach catches their attention and engages children in our learning programme.
Why is it so important for preschoolers to attend online learning?
It is essential for our preschoolers to stay in touch with their teachers and friends to support consistency over these unsettling times. Online learning also provides a continued connection for both children and their parents with our teachers. So, it is extremely important to maintain these relationships to ensure young learners experience a smooth transition when they return to preschool.
What are the benefits of online learning for such young children?
It provides a set routine during the day to give children some normality while they are at home. Physical isolation does not mean social isolation, so by using virtual learning, children have new social experiences, which keeps our connections active.
What advice do you have for parents trying to entertain preschoolers during lockdown?
These weeks can be a little daunting for those at home with children who are trying to find things to keep them entertained. One great way is to make chores a fun family activity by harnessing your child’s inner ‘prosociality’. Prosocial behaviours benefit or help other people and can be as simple as helping to fold the washing and making a game of who can put their pile of laundry away first. Or tasks like emptying the dishwasher allow children to learn to put dishes in the right cupboard or drawer.
It is also important to keep a routine – and this will also help parents fill in what can be a very long day.
Plus, you can encourage children to be independent by setting them simple tasks and activities. Then let them complete them on their own, giving them praise to foster their self-confidence. This will provide parents with a much-needed rest in between working and looking after their children.
And engage in lots of activities outside when the weather permits. Running, jumping, walking and kicking a ball will all help with the whole family’s wellbeing. Children have mounds of energy, and we like to take our son to the local reserve to kick the ball. He absolutely loves this activity, and he is exhausted when we arrive home.
What are you most looking forward to when the Preschool can re-open?
Being reunited with our children and spending time with them. We are all missing our preschoolers and can’t wait to be reconnected in person. In addition, we are excited to have the opportunity to observe how they have grown and developed over the past weeks.