Our kids deserve an education which will adapt with the current circumstances and deliver them lessons which develop their brains. Our future is counting on our field right now to communicate with our students and each other, be innovative, and take swift and certain action. - Mary Miele
Simply put - If you are not happy with how your children are learning right now - address it.
Your why - Your children will only be the age they are just once. Their brains need to be activated and developed most of the day. We, educators, know a great deal about this in our field, and so we must push each other and support each other to realize what is possible within our new normal.
Your playbook for how to deal with a program that is not delivering for your child -
First, know that you, the parent, have the power to decide what is best for your child educationally speaking. Do not settle and reach out for support as you need it.
Second, know the basic ingredients of distance learning which is working for most students and schools -
- A mix of synchronous (LIVE) and asynchronous (videos, worksheets) learning is what educators have determined work best -
- Important to note: there are WAYS to do both of these which will connect to your kid - if the video lessons are confusing or the LIVE classes are disconnected from your kid, then they won't work even if they are included
- Also important to note: young kids need supervision to complete asynchronous work - which teachers can provide on ZOOM LIVE times which are not the same as LIVE lessons
- LIVE lessons work well in small groups (ideally no more than 7 kids and even smaller with younger kids); our youngest children work very well in 1-1 lessons and can often work up to one hour at a time
- Connection and engagement are two important ingredients for distance learning lesson success -
- Kids need to be physically taken care of (fed, have enough sleep, be regulated, and feel safe) in order to arrive at learning - distance or otherwise
- Students need to play/explore and build. They need to make meaning with a 3D experience - which is not the same as talking about concepts (often too abstract for them)
- Kids need to be assessed or tested and this knowledge should drive instruction. From data, we can determine what they need to practice and be instructed within - when instruction is meaningfully delivered, kids are primed to learn! I mean, why work on lessons they don't need or assign practice for what they already know?
Third, as issues or challenges arise, speak with your child's teachers directly.
- Before this meeting:
- Write down clear observations on exactly how your child is working - both the successes and the challenges should be mentioned
- List your concerns as they relate to your child. "I'm concerned that my child is not progressing with reading.." or "I'm concerned my child is checking out of the LIVE Zoom classes"
- Create some ideas for how your child might learn better - but also it is okay if you don't know this as you can also present the problem to your teacher and allow them to come up with a solution
- Present the data and your concerns and take notes
- Be sure to leave the meeting with a clear understanding of what will happen which will be a reasonable and mutually beneficial solution.