A statement so profound and yet so simple. It also helps us put the last 2 years into perspective.
The one activity that the pandemic most impacted was play. Play with peers, play to initiate curiosity, play for engagement, play to learn or just play for fun.
Early years schools closed shutters and came up with innovative solutions like online engagements, sending learning material via email or also sending teachers home to stay relevant.
But the lack of skills could be easily spotted in all children universally irrespective of which part of the world they came from. Inadequate social skills also severely affected language, cognitive ability, creativity and innovation which are essential 21st century skills sets.
Play also is an important component of experiential learning. Important because it gives the child a safety net without being worried about the outcome.
As exposure to co-curricular activities either in school or in personal life stopped, children were cocooned in a restrictive world, sometimes in the four walls of their homes, left with nothing but to fall back on what different screens had to offer.
Interestingly data still suggested that edu.com companies just showed a growth rate of 4% throughout this period. Funnily, something did not corroborate, if the world had moved online why was there no exponential growth shown by this sector.
The answer lies in the ways young kids learn. They are kinesthetics and a tactile curriculum helps them with proprioception which aids the process of long-term learning.
This being the truth for the Early year learners, most or even being pompous enough, all online efforts, seem to not have yielded the desired results even while employing the latest technology.
Though virtual reality is the future, the blatant truth that we were enlightened with is early years learning needs engagement, exploration and enjoyment that only a hands-on method can provide.
The approaches may be varied from project-based learning to inquiry method, in the end if deeper understanding needs to be achieved the physical involvement of a child in a particular setting, which allows experimentation is paramount.
To top it a mother’s only wish while enrolling a child in school is that he/ she makes friends is what we need to ponder on deeply and seriously!
The authored article is written by Akshada Kamat, Head of School, Vedanya International School and shared with Prittle PrattleNews exclusively.