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Communicating With Your Child - The Role of Online Homeschooling

Typically, when we talk about a child going to preschool, we focus on four key aspects - 

Peer Group Interaction

This is possibly the most important aspect for a parent when sending their child to preschool. Their child's exposure to peers, and helping them learn to make friends is a key aspect of their growth and development. While this remains true for a major portion of their growing years, the foundation for this is laid as early as 12 months (for children going to day care) and 18 months to 2 years (for children going directly to preschool).

It is for the same reason that parents also take their children to parks and organize playdates at home - introduce peer group interaction. A preschool adds on an element of structure and assured peer group on a regular basis.

Exposure to an Environment Away from the Comfort Zone of Home

Home is where the heart is, but home is also where the comfort is. It is the safe space of every child, the only world they know till the time they step out and are exposed to a whole new set of people and spaces. The first exposure is typically a school. While a key aspect of sending your child to preschool is also so they learn to deal with a variety of situations more independently, the transition is typically gradual so that the child learns the safety and comfort also available in this new space, with a new set of people.

Forming a Bond with the Teachers

The bond between any child and their teacher is meant to be special and beautiful. A teacher holds the responsibility of becoming that person apart from the parent, who a child can trust and approach in good times as well as the difficult times. 

The teacher-child bond is another crucial aspect of exposing a child to a preschool environment.

Learning

Even though schools are supposed to be temples of learning, when it comes to a preschool, a conventional learning atmosphere must be secondary to all the three aspects mentioned above, especially when it comes to concrete learning. For a toddler, every experience is a learning, which tends to be more abstract as a result. Learning to share, waiting for their turn, understanding how different elements of nature interact with each other, are as much a part of the learning curve as are the ABCs and 123s. 

A good preschool balances concrete and abstract learning while preparing the children for what will come in the later years of their life.


Conventionally, preschools have been physical spaces, which cater to the four aspects mentioned above. But there is one very crucial element in a child's life which gets ignored in this setup.

The Role of the Parent 

The role of the parent, or more broadly, the family, is the most integral part of any child's life. There must be sync between the family and the school philosophy, but most importantly, as we have discovered during the last one year of online homeschooling in India, parents must also be a part of a child's learning journey.

This is not just in terms of understanding a curriculum, or executing activities. This forms an essential part of communicating with your child, at a level that is theirs, not yours, and creating a quality bonding experience. The focus must be on interacting with your child which is your time together. This also helps you interact with them without the help of passive screen time (no more the need to play videos on your phone to keep your child engaged), and focusing on holistic development in addition to the nitty gritty of child raising - for instance, the focus on keeping them fed and clean, or only disciplining them and so on.

Where Conventional Preschools Lack

In conventional preschools, the single most important aspect of the entire dynamic is that the parent or the family involvement is negligible, other than the customary parent-teacher meetings. There are two aspects to this -

1. Parents' need to take the guided help of professionals who are experts in early learning and care.

2. The preschool format typically minimizing parents involvement (at least in the same physical space), other than parent-toddler programs, which are typically viewed as a transitory program for the under 2 years age group into independently staying at school, while being comfortable and happy.

The Role of Online Homeschooling in India

When Morning Glorie started the online homeschooling program in May 2020 (this is a live and interactive module for the early learners, an activity based and personality centric program which is facilitator guided and in small groups), we realized that for the first time, we had the opportunity to bridge that one gap left behind in the conventional physical spaces - make parents an equal part of the learning journey of their child in a holistic manner.

In addition to still meeting the 4 preschool needs of a child mentioned above (albeit virtually), online homeschooling offers the perfect tool in the hands of the parents -

1. They are now equal partners with the school - this gives them the opportunity to experience first hand the learning methodology of the school they choose, while also ensuring that a proper feedback mechanism is in place to constantly improve learning for their child.


2. They better understand the level at which they need to communicate and interact with their child - by being a part of a guided program, they now know the age appropriate protocols, while being able to better guide their children for enhanced learning. This is a natural outcome of the dedicated one-on-one time spent with their children, without adding any pressure in terms of learning goals.

3. This helps create a quality bonding time with their child, without having to depend on passive screen time, by converting passive screen time into active screen time.

For the first time, there is an opportunity to create a holistic environment for the children, with all those who form an important part of their world coming together on the same platform, at the same level, and with the same approach - the child, their family, their teachers, their friends and their learning. The role of online homeschooling programs is in enhancing the exposure which a toddler has, not diminishing it. 

We would love to hear your feedback in this regard, while also taking up any queries you may have regarding the whole approach. Please feel free to reach out to us for the same.

Up Next - A Child, Individual and Unique

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