The Post Covid-2019 Reality for Early Childhood Education and Afterschools

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Change is the only constant in life or so they say and at no time in life have we been more challenged than now. Life as we knew turned upside down overnight. The day to day activites that most of us took for granted seemed like an exhaustive task and only got worse each day. As businesses began to close, it became more apparent that business owners had to drastically re-work their model to survive or perish in the flames of the pandemic. In the field of providing education to young impressionable minds, we ought to practice what we preach. Children at NurtureKids are taught at every step of the way to be curious, think out of the box, be fearless, and always tackle problems head on. They are also taught to never lose sight of their mission and always find ways to fulfill their goals. When we were faced with the same challenges, we decided to tackle it head on.

Primarily based in the Silicon Valley-the technology capital of the world, it was difficult to imagine that NurtureKids would face any problem in transitioning to the changing demands. But is it really that easy? Spread across the Bay Area and Sacramento, the brand consists of preschools, after schools and a Montessori school. Replicating the Montessori curriculum in an online model is a tedious task because it involves materials that are used in class and is hands on approach to teaching young minds. The mode of study is very specific to every kid and the progress they have made. There were many other challenges. For the kids aged 2-5 the online class did not seem like a feasible option. At that age, children lack focus and the ability to sit at one place. Their parents would have to be with them throughout the class. With everyone working from home, scheduling was going to be challenging. In all this chaos, there was one aspect that the entire team agreed on- we will find a way, and thus began the effort to streamline the online platform to continue to give the kids the education that we promised.

Three weeks into the online mode of education and we couldn’t have been more wrong about our fears. Children surprise you in myriad ways and they have taken to online learning like a fish takes to water. We have seen some budding artists coming up with their versions of the craft taught in class, dancers dancing their heart out, little chefs enjoying cooking in some Friday fun along with Math and English activites. Our teachers are improvising, doing some fun games during public speaking, picking recipes that will get the child excited, giving them a peek into summer months through craft and making sure that their interest isn’t lost. Most adults today have short attention spans and kids tend to get distracted easily. Add the distance learning model to the mix and it can be problematic, but with their unique approach the teachers have been able to help the kids enjoy and stay focused. The parents have supported us every step of the way and their support will be more crucial in the times ahead.

A lot of unknowns exist right now. The timeline of easing the shelter in place restrictions, once the economy opens will there be modified rules with physical distancing that businesses will have to follow. Will social distancing become a norm for the foreseeable future? No one has the answers yet, but everyone knows that the post Covid world will not be back to where we stopped just yet. Changes will have to be made. New guidelines will take shape. All educators will have to adapt to the new order. They will have to monitor children. After having stayed home for so long, there are bound to be changes in how they adjust back into routine. The responsibilities of early childhood education providers will not only double but will pose unique challenges every day. Getting kids adjusted to a routine, having them be at school every day, listen to instructions from teachers. A month or two is a long time to forget what they have practiced so far, and these will be some of the new challenges that education providers will face once the crisis eases and schools are allowed to open again. As long as these challenges are met with ideas and efforts, the transition will not be as daunting as it appears.