After participating in an open forum on Understood.org, an educational website from the United States, and getting feedback from parents and students from SIS, I have found that many families are experiencing the same difficulties with living in the current climate due to the worldwide pandemic. Both parents and students have expressed feelings of being disconnected. Students have expressed feelings of imprisonment and isolation. Parents have expressed frustration on unstructured routines with their children, while having to stay with a structured routine for themselves.
Structure at home – In a school building, there is an all-day structured setting with transition periods. Children have daily routines of waking up at a certain time, getting ready for school, eating breakfast, and having a transition time of travelling to school. These daily routines allow children to prepare the mindset of being in an educational setting.
To improve a positive Growth Mindset for Online Learning, have your children adhere to a daily schedule that follows their traditional routines. The transition travel time will be excluded, but this can be replaced with other activities, such as reviewing their daily school schedule, meditation, exercise and/or family time. Setting up timers to mimic a bell schedule will also help children to determine their break time and their learning time.
Academic Supports – When students are in a physical classroom, they have close proximity to an adult and also have peer support. If the need arises, reach out to teachers and ask for meeting times over Zoom. Teachers can offer support in times outside of the scheduled classes. Also, there is the opportunity for tutoring and support through NJHS’s Kids Teaching Kids (KTK), which takes place after school Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 2:30pm – 3:00pm.
Emotional Toll – In a school building, there are events and activities to look forward to and plan. Students interact and have a social outlet. To address the emotions that students are feeling, have open conversations on how they are feeling and create activities to help reduce loneliness and isolation. Mourn the loss of events they were looking forward to and empathize with their struggle of not being able to do things they did last year. Reassure them that they are safe and events can be planned for the future. Plan family activities to leave the house; go outside into the garden, make an effort to get a haircut or go to the grocery store. If nothing else, go for a drive to see life outside of the house.