Online teaching for pre-primary rather than imagining ways and strategies, many of us picture as to how the class would be. I think it was the same with school parents too. They were even more worried, as they had to take time off from their normal routines and be with their wards throughout the sessions. Imagining these little ones to be independent in a new online setup of teaching-learning was indeed difficult.
At Ekya JP Nagar, our first thought as teachers was how do we work with the Montessori methodology on the screen? How would children absorb concepts without materials? Or how should we facilitate experiential activities with them?
Further on, our minds wandered as to how will these children sit in front of the screen and that too in one place? How will they receive instructions from teachers when they have their parents around them? Can they be ready for school by 8:00 in the morning or be taking their sessions on the bed? Will they have their moms feeding them throughout the sessions? So many questions kept hovering around us.
We were certain about one aspect and that was – we would not hear any cries in the beginning days of this academic year as was normal in the physical school set-up and we were also sure that we would miss children in school. But, we wondered how long each online session should be? We were worried about working with a large number of students on the screen.
At Ekya, with the Montessori set-up, we have the sub-juniors as young as one and a half to two years old. The students are grouped with smaller numbers and allotted different slots. They have a number of co-curricular sessions alongside their core learning area sessions that help them strengthen their interests and personality.
Let me share with you how students took online experiences and started becoming independent. The teachers set class norms for them initially and students adhered to them religiously. They started sitting in front of the screen with very little movements. They started showing that they no more want their parents around. They sat on a chair with a table in front of them, on which they had their computer system. They could take instructions well. They could even solve worksheets and write in their four-lined books beautifully!
They managed using different aspects of a Zoom call, such as mute – unmute, leave meeting, etc. They did not require their parents’ help with these issues anymore. They started liking this online set-up. They comfortably spoke and interacted with their pals and appreciated this set up with their friends’ group. They wanted to have more of these kinds of classes. They woke up early and reminded their parents from the classes. They never wanted to miss even a single class.
It was a great feeling of satisfaction and comfort for our teachers. We were very happy as we accepted this change of online learning along with our students. This seems unbelievable but is so true.