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Hello 2021! And What 2020 Has Taught Us

 Happy New Year!

Admittedly, around May-June, it seemed like a far away possibility for us to be thinking about a "happy" new year. The prospects appeared bleak - the preschool and daycare industry was possibly the only industry which was completely shut down (even after the unlock guidelines), there did not seem prospects for fresh admissions, it was a time when meeting base expenses seemed like an impossible ask. As an industry, we had truly hit rock bottom.

The year has come to a close, and while things continue to be difficult (the physical spaces remain closed) the year has also taught us a lot, as have our kids. We would like to share our learnings and our key takeaways from 2020. 

What 2020 Taught Us

There is More to Life than Work

We learnt to be grateful for all the small things in life we take for granted - our health, our loved ones, enjoying nature, eating home cooked food, reading books and so much more. Focus on all that is good instead of dwelling on the bad. 

One Bad Year Doesn't Define Your Whole Life

Even if you assume a life expectancy of 60 years, 2020 was only but 1 year. That's less than 2% of your whole life. Worst case scenario, this is one negative year of your life - as an individual, or as a business. Learn to write it off in the long run.

Remember to Plan for Contingencies

While maintaining a positive attitude and outlook, and remembering that this too shall pass, 2020 taught us not to take anything for granted, and to plan for contingencies. Even if you don't assume the worst, planning for small things will also help you go a long way. As an individual, build up your savings, same goes for an organization. But remember to maintain a balance between planning and living in the present.

Look for the Opportunities

Every cloud has a silver lining too. When one door appears to be closed, look for new ones to open. It may not be what you were expecting, or what you have been used to, or even as lucrative as you would like it to be, but every new opportunity brings with it a potential to be unlocked.

At Morning Glorie, we launched online preschool in India, and also MG's Eggheads, an activity club for older children. This was unimaginable till 9 months back, but we learnt to find opportunities and to capitalize on them. We also learnt that when it comes to forming bonds with the children, the digital space works as well, even though we miss the intimacy of the physical spaces.

What We Learnt From Our Kids

We are Designed to Adapt

While Darwin may have told this to us more than a century back, and while his theory applied more to our physical existence and being, our kids have taught us that humans, when faced with adversity, can be truly resilient, and adapt to whatever life throws at us. Our children have taught us that even in the toughest of circumstances, we can forge ahead and adapt to a new way of life.

Friendships Don't Have Boundaries

Nor is it constrained by physical proximity. We have seen 3 and 4 year olds bonding on the screen, planning playdates for when Covid goes away, asking about each other's day. This, when they are sitting in different cities, different states and even different countries at times. Who knew?

Learning Doesn't Have Any Fixed Format

Once upon a time (read, only 9 months back) it was assumed that for a child to learn, they needed their educator to be in close proximity. Children either went to school, or were homeschooled - either way, their educator was with them. True, this mode of learning is crucial, and it is being deeply missed. But 2020 and our children have taught us that learning hasn't stopped, even if physical schools are closed.

Children have taught us that the mind's desire for knowledge and learning far outweighs anything else. Even the smallest of encounters and experiences can impart a wealth of learning. Children across age groups have found that they are able to connect with their teachers well in the virtual format (for some children, they find they are now better able to bond with their teachers, get their problems solved - my own cousin feels she's a better learner now than she was last year).

Even as adults, we have learnt to deal with adversity, the time at home has given us the space to imbibe new skills, we have found that if circumstances so dictate, we can manage nearly everything at home - we learnt to sweep, mop, cook, everything for which we were so heavily dependent upon others.

Morning Glorie's Key Takeaways

Every Industry Can Go Virtual

Including education. An industry which rose to the challenge presented by Covid, and faced it beautifully. Teachers learned to innovate, work in a new format, and open up their homes so that their wards could learn.

Learning in a Virtual Format Isn't Necessarily Bad

In fact, there are aspects to it which are really good. Interacting with people outside of physical boundaries is one of the best learning experiences one can have. Admittedly, the older we are, the better the experience of physically visiting other places and learning from people there is, but this is the best we have given the circumstances. 

Opening up of learning spaces away from your locality also means that you are spoiled for choice - you can now find an institute (and the same holds for any industry which has gone digital) which is the best fit for you. In our industry, it means you can now find an online preschool in India as per your choice - take a trial sitting from anywhere, and choose that which you like best.

This also works well for players like us that provide online preschool in India - we are now able to cater to a broader audience and extend learning to children across boundaries, something which we would not have been able to accomplish in the traditional mode of learning. Morning Glorie is richer for that opportunity, and happy to say that we have been able to explore it well.

Hybrid of Physical and Virtual is here to Stay

At least for the time being, till the vaccine comes and the Covid situation stabilizes. Many parents we speak to are very sure that they are not going to be sending their kids to school even if they reopen. Even when parents feel comfortable in sending their kids to school, a hybrid of the physical and virtual (twice a week at school, thrice a week from home, and so on) will be good for them, and interacting with children from different backgrounds and cultures will be good exposure for them.

Perhaps preschools like ours can learn to collaborate so that we can have "virtual exchange programs" for our toddlers 

At Morning Glorie (preschool and creche in South City 1, Gurgaon, online preschool in India), 2020 gave us the chance to reinvent as educators - we launched our online module, which is activity and experience based to provide the best learning outcomes to our children, and even when we reopen our doors to welcome children physically, we will be a better school, with a better understanding and execution of an experiential way of learning. 

We also learnt that it is crucial to maintain good relationships with all your stakeholders - as a preschool and daycare, that meant our parents, our kids, our landlord, our vendors and our team. We all struggled together, and so we could all support each other. Our sincere gratitude and thanks to our entire comm-unity.

We  now look to 2021 with a positive outlook, ready to take on new challenges, ready to innovate.


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