The Silver-Lining in the ECE Online Learning Experience

Written by: Veronica Martin and Michelle Wang,ECE Coordinators

As Early Childhood Educators we all understand that face to face learning in a classroom that is purposely set for our youngest learners with hands on intentional teaching practices is best for students. Who could have foreseen the dramatic changes to learning that has taken place in 2020? However, these changes have allowed us to redefine our classroom from the physical to a virtual online space and while not the ideal environment for young children, this has allowed our youngest students to demonstrate, diversify and explore different learning traits and dispositions. These have included areas such as flexibility, problem solver, creativity, ICT savvy and even the ability to see the silver-lining in life.

All ECE Children have adapted to the online learning process, being flexible in how they seek their friends out over Zoom or Seesaw. They learnt about Zoom, Camera, White Boards, screen shots and other ICT tools. Using these new-found skills children have been able to share aspects of their home life and this has made this online learning platform a more meaningful experience, as pieces of their home life are communicated with each other and class teachers. Some of the K4s have been using ‘break-out’ rooms to allow small number of students to converse with each other. Talking about what is important and meaningful to children such as their toys and the people in their homes are valuable ways that we make connections with each other.

How does a tadpole become a frog? In K3C a co-teacher found some tadpoles in her compound and shared them with the children. They had a discussion around metamorphosis asking the 3-year-olds to understand what it means. Using our online platform, Seesaw as a way to support this learning at home cements children’s understanding of the natural world.

Children have been sharing all their creative endeavors as they have used the craft packages sent from school. Each co-teacher also had the same package so together over Zoom, the  children and teachers have been making items and using them in the learning process. With Spring is in the air in K2C & K4C classes, where the students created flowers using pipe cleaners and play dough, while having a discussion on how flowers grow.

These abilities and experiences would not have been possible without solid foundations; this structure has relied on the relationships built at school, with class teachers and the connections developed over time with our families. YCIS has always believed in supporting strong relationships with families and never have these been so important as they are now. Our youngest learners watch our families and see how they deal with this situation and they model their behavior from those closest. Each day teachers are greeted with the smiling happy faces of children who are happy to learn and eager to participate. This experience has allowed all, children, families & teachers to build resilience which is needed to keep our foundations strong and unified; our silver lining.