This year will be anything but normal for the parents and children. While some parents were expecting the situation to be normal and getting their kids back to school, many parents decided to opt for one year of home-schooling rather than enrol in a virtual school.
Home-schooling may be able to address a small part of the knowledge component of learning but that is bound to be limited. The process of acquisition of knowledge decides whether learning will be deeply embedded or remain temporary. Hence, missing a year of school experience is not a solution.
As the school buildings are closed, music, dance, sports, art, etc., are not happening in most of the educational institutions. In this scenario, parents are wondering whether these classes are needed, or should they focus on core subjects like English, Maths, and Science? Education is a holistic process. Educators strongly believe that these classes are extremely important even through the virtual mode of learning. In fact, through the pandemic, schools that provide yoga lessons have helped students focus on well-being. Over 80000 active online sessions were recorded by students from Oakridge Mohali over the last 8 months alone on their internal online learning portal, showing wellbeing activities are the most sought-after among the students.
The online data shows that this year, there is a looming danger of socio-emotional isolation increasing drastically in children across age groups. Therefore, well-being needs to be central to learning, and building connections with peers and adults other than family members is the need of the hour. “I loved the field trips, the group activities and the guest lectures which makes the ongoing unit much more enjoyable, and fun-filled. I am very thankful to all the teachers who have comforted me and motivated me to explore new horizons every year”, said Suveer, a student of grade 4 at Oakridge Mohali. His parent Himanshu Sheokhand further added, “Oakridge Mohali has left no stone unturned to make this academic journey into an exciting one. We are so grateful that the school keeps a balance of social, emotional and mental health of a child.”
Ms. Ramanjit Ghuman, Principal of Oakridge Mohali said, “Our virtual school puts the wellbeing of the children at heart – the mornings start with energizing assembles. Students connect, share and celebrate their learning journey. Our teachers reach out to the child as well as the family- parent, and the school is working together keeping the child at the centre.”
Clubbing the sections of classes and sending children video links and worksheets for self-study as the mode for learning is generally not preferable. This, in a way, putting pressure on kids. Therefore, schools through virtual classes must ensure that each child gets the much-needed personalised approach.
For this to happen, regular enhancement of skills for every teacher is required. “Being a part of Nord Anglia Education, our teachers have access to the certified courses at Online Nord Anglia University for skills and professional development. Our teachers are ‘Ed- heroes’ – they are leveraging technology to make their lessons engaging and meaningful -balancing academic rigour with fun and wellbeing”, says Ramanjit.