Remote Learning in the Early Years – Key Learnings from Toddle Talks Webinar
Ashrita Johnson & Pooja Pillai
8 min read

The Early Years, more than any other age group, has always been known to be ‘hands on’, ‘interactive’ and ‘skill based’. The curriculum is based on a balance of academic, socio-emotional and physical learning that we have always known to experience through real time, face to face interactions between teachers and students. However, in the wake of COVID-19, we’re in a situation that requires us to embrace technology, adapt our lessons, and connect with our students and parents virtually. Who would have believed it was even possible to teach young children remotely? But we did it. We all are in it now, together.

Through the PYP transdisciplinary themes, we will walk you through ways in which virtual learning can be made possible in the Early Years.

Where we are in place and time

An inquiry into orientations in place and time, relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals from local and global perspectives

As educators, our current context is one of remote and asynchronous learning, limited availability of resources and student and parent engagement from a distance.

For remote learning in the Early Years to be successful, it is important for us to maintain a close relationship with our students. Our young learners are home with their parents, siblings and extended family, unsure of why they’re not going to school, or going to play at the park anymore. As educators, we should help them feel safe, secure, loved and cared for during this time.

It is also important for us to support and coach parents to be able to engage learners in inquiry, daily home routines and quality family time. Parents are coping with work and home dynamics in a sensitive and unpredictable environment and as teachers, we need to support them in supporting their children better.

How we organise ourselves

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making…

We are all interconnected – our systems and communities. In a remote teaching and learning environment, it is crucial to develop structures, processes and systems that work in your context to support students, teachers and parents.

Supporting students

We can support students through targeted strategies and structures such as those below.

Give them a sense of connection with their teachers – The social emotional environment at home and school has an impact on children’s behaviours. We often hear parents saying that children are feeling anxious, are unable to engage in activities, are throwing tantrums or feeling less engaged. Beyond academics and daily routines, helping students manage their feelings is the most important aspect of the current crisis. As their teacher, establish a virtual connection while encouraging mindfulness through child friendly breathing techniques, yoga and calming strategies such as positive self talk is an important element of the curriculum.

Give them a sense of routine in their daily lives – Establish home routines to help students feel safe and calm through this phase. At Toddler’s Den we send across a sample schedule to our class parents on Toddle. Parents can follow the plans as is or modify it to suit their home requirements.

Empower them to participate in weekly learning engagements – Parents are also going through many changes in their lives, and this might affect children at home as well. To cope with the home environment encourage children to be involved in daily home chores such as serving drinking water, laying the dinner table and so on. Having a positive impact on each other is important in the parent – child relationship too!

Enable communication channels between them and us – Communicating with our young learners consistently is very important for them to feel a sense of security and reliability. Meet your young  learners regularly through video calls to build synchronous learning and communication with them. In the asynchronous set up, you could create video or audio recordings of messages from yourself to students and vice versa to help maintain a close, dependable relationship. Creating interactive videos that provoke students to engage with their physical surroundings will provide a deeper understanding of the Unit of Inquiry. Here’s a playlist with a series of videos under the theme How we organize ourselves.

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