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Our online programme is keeping even our youngest learners connected

ACG Remuera Early Learning School (ELS) is currently offering an online learning programme for their preschoolers. Operating during Level 3 and 4, the online sessions have been created to keep little ones engaged while also increasing their knowledge and encouraging social interaction at what could otherwise be quite an isolating time.

We’ve spoken to Centre Manager Kelly Quah about the benefits of online learning, and she has outlined the programme below, providing some helpful tips for parents with active youngsters.

Which age ranges does your online learning programme cover?
We are able to cater for all ages. However, it can be a challenge for children under two years of age. So, we are currently offering the sessions to our children aged from two to five years old.

What sort of programme are you offering?
We hold two Zoom sessions per day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. We cover a range of activities, from storytelling, music and hands-on craft, to show-and-tell for older children and anything the teacher feels appropriate for that age group and according to their emergent curriculum. It is very interactive, and children are able to contribute their voices. We are also continuing our yoga, Mandarin sessions and dance class virtually.

How long do the daily sessions last?
Each session lasts approximately 30 minutes.

How much (if any) parental supervision is required?
If it is a mat time Zoom session with storytelling and music, children can do this independently and without supervision so that parents can enjoy a quiet break. However, with crafts and baking activities, parental help and support are required. We will usually inform the parents in advance of the preparation needed before the session.

Participation in these activities is absolutely voluntary, and there is no obligation (or stress) for parents if they can’t make it to a session.

Why is it so important for preschoolers to attend online learning?
The connection from home to preschool is still very important for children. Even during a lockdown, children can still get involved and connect with their friends and teachers. This provides them with the normalcy and the predictable routine they need during the day.

What are the benefits of online learning for such young children?
It encourages engagement, self-paced learning, trying out different things and makes the transition back to the centre much easier if families and children stay connected.

What advice do you have for parents trying to entertain preschoolers during lockdown?
Parents need to take care of their own well-being first; very often, we forget this. Let children lead their own learning, do not force them to do things and activities that they are reluctant to do. Get children involved in chores like helping to prepare meals and have a predictable routine as much as practicable for young children. Most importantly, try to take some nature walks outside when weather permits.

What are you most looking forward to when the ELS can re-open?
I really enjoy the connection with families and colleagues, and especially the hugs from our children.

Our children are loving the interactive and engaging range of activities our online learning programme offers

Our parents are also enjoying the online learning programme:

“My heartfelt gratitude to all the teachers and Kelly for this virtual learning platform. I highly recommend these virtual learning classes. The teachers have taken such great care, creativity and effort to bring wonderful and fun learning opportunities. It also helps Siya to connect with her friends and teachers. While I can’t make it every day for two mat sessions due to my work schedule and meetings, just showing Siya what her friends and teachers have been up to - and doing the missed mat time activities (and other activities that the teachers have put outside of mat time) - brings such wonderful and fun learning experiences together. Thank you!” - Bhavana.

“Anthea created a picture of her dog, Emma, out of shapes this morning. Anthea decided that Emma was having a bubble bath, so is sitting in the bathtub surrounded by bubbles, bath toys and a bottle of bubbles! Thank you for the great activity!” Kim P