Lots of early childhood programs are moving online for fall of 2020. When parents hear that toddler classes or preschools are meeting online, they may have questions about whether it could be an effective method for learning. It is definitely not the same as in-person learning, and we would rather be in-person, hands-on, with lots of happy children interacting in the same room. However, there are lots of great benefits still to be gained in an online preschool or toddler program.
- Routines: having a predictable activity in your weekly schedule helps to keep them (and you) oriented to external schedules even in coronavirus haze. It provides an event to look forward to and reflect on.
- Other Faces and Voices: seeing other children and a teacher can be delightful, your child will learn by observing their peers, class can also expose them to diversity and broaden their world, plus we know that children learn language better when they hear a wide variety of adult speakers.
- A Listening Ear: for classes where they offer sharing time, children will have someone else to share their exciting ideas with, and will have a chance to practice their expressive language skills
- A Chance to Practice Manners and Classroom Skills: one of the important aspects of an early childhood experience, whether that’s story time at the library, Sunday school at church, or preschool is that children get to practice sitting still, listening to someone else, participating in a group activity, and taking turns – they can practice all these things in an interactive call on Zoom.
- Learning New Things: whatever the content of the class – music, stories, dance, art, or science, your child can easily learn new ideas from an online teacher, and if you’re listening in, you can reinforce the learning much more effectively than you could have reinforced what they were taught at a drop-off preschool.
- New Inspiration: your child will get new ideas and you will get new ideas for things to try out at home and explore and learn from – you don’t have to feel responsible for coming up with all the learning ideas on your own.
Here is a handout where I offer lots of tips on help child succeed on Zoom and get the most benefit from an online program.