April 3, 2020 6:40:30 pm
By Atul Temurnikar
The global pandemic coronavirus or covid-19 has caused a road bump in children’s educational journey. While students are thrilled at the extended summer vacation, parents are worried about the missing school days, as well as the time spent sitting idly at home.
During summer vacations, children usually divert their energy in outdoor activities and games. However, a mass lockdown in the country has forced everyone to stay at home.
Under these circumstances, virtual classrooms started by some schools is a breath of fresh air. But, when the classroom activities are over, parents are faced with a gigantic problem of keeping children engaged in ways that is productive for their development.
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Ensuring children attend virtual classrooms
Virtual classrooms are implemented by schools for the benefit of students. It is one of the most technologically advanced ways of ensuring that they don’t miss their school under any unforeseen situations. With the help of innovative tools embedded in the smart classroom platform, schools can organize vacation lessons and activity sessions for students to keep them engaged even while they are self-quarantined. Parents should ensure that children are attending these sessions on their respective virtual classroom platforms and are actively participating in the activities conducted there. This will help them be up to date with their learning cycle as well as enable them to learn new skills while they are confined to their homes.
Leveraging technology for skill development
Apart from virtual classrooms provided by schools, there are many educational institutions and online schools that provide vocational courses and activity sessions to students. These courses are completely online and can be undertaken from the comfort of one’s homes. Carefully curated as per the age and needs of the learner, these courses help students learn new skills which can be applied in their daily studies as well. Parents should keep a watch out for these courses and enroll their children in them. These short-term courses help create an interest among students in specific subjects and help them learn new concepts and skills which are otherwise not available in schools.
Playing intellectually stimulating games
Self-quarantine or lockdown should also be seen by parents as a way to spend quality time with their children. This is an ideal time for parents to engage with their children in board games like chess, Lego, scrabble, etc., which stimulate them intellectually and improve their focus.
Intelligent and brainstorming games will ensure students are on their feet, thinking and innovating to avoid idle time. Involving children in brain games and other creative hobbies will also help keeping them busy and divert attention to productive activities rather than exposing them to the current external scenario which may make them anxious and distressed.
Practice exercise and meditation
As mentioned above, the external environment, exposure to technology and rumor mills going around on the subject of the great pandemic can often lead to children developing anxiety, and raise concern about their health and well-being. Staying in isolation and living indoors without contact to the outside world can further lead children to dive deeper into their own shell. Hence parents should practice yoga and meditation with their children to soothe their senses and protect their mental health. Additionally, due to a lack of physical activity children may also become lethargic. Hence parents should bring about a system of performing a physical workout like Zumba or any home workout with their children for 10-15 minutes minimum on a regular basis to keep them active and agile.
Inculcate good habits
This is also a good time for parents to inculcate habits like reading, gardening, cooking (without fire) and other household chores in their children. Since charity begins at home, this is the best time for parents to teach their children essential life skills which will help them become independent and self – reliant and instill in them the importance of respecting all kinds of labour. The Covid situation in India is a unique one, something that has never been witnessed in this country before. However, parents should keep their calm during this time and do as much as possible in their capacity to shield their children from all the negativity. Protecting a child’s mental health should be the top priority of parents in these times. Occupying children with productive activities allow them to acquire new skills and talents by the time schools reopen and normal routine resumes.
(The author is co-founder & chairman, Global Schools Foundation)
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