What is distance learning? The term has been used a lot as of late, and many parents may be curious as to what it means for their child and how to set them up for success.
At Stratford, we deliberately use the term distance learning rather than technology-specific labels such as “virtual learning,” “e-learning,” or “online classes. This choice reflects our conviction that quality learning can occur at a distance without solely relying on computers. Rather than being tied to an electronic device for their learning, Stratford’s goal is for your child to reach, communicate and engage in authentic learning experiences while continuing to be physically active.
With that in mind, we have compiled a few best practices and helpful tips so you can set your child up for distance learning success at home!
Create a learning space
It is important to create a space that facilitates learning for your child, eliminating distractions when possible. Set up a dedicated learning area in a community area where you can monitor your child with a table or desk, writing materials, supplemental technology, and other materials you may need for the daily activities.
Set a daily schedule
Maintaining a routine is of the utmost importance for children during times of uncertainty, and for families that are not used to conducting learning at home, it can be easy to worry whether you are “getting it all in.” Create and post a daily schedule that works for you and your family. This will help students feel focused and comfortable in a new learning environment.
Set aside plenty of time for other activities like creative play, snack time, movement, outside time, and meals. Let your child direct some of the extra activities, so that they feel like they are able to express some of their own choices within their day. The amount of time needed for each activity is dependent on the individual student’s age, personality and learning style, as well as the needs of the rest of the family.
Make sure the schedule you set has a balance of structure and flexibility. Too much structure can lead to unneeded stress for both students and families, so leave some wiggle room!
Utilize technology intentionally
Technology can be a fantastic tool for learning as well as maintaining social connection from afar. Stratford uses technology in a number of ways in our distance learning program, including communications tools, virtual instruction, and parent/child resources.
Check in with your children
Just like any change, children may need a bit more guidance as they start to transition to distance learning. Depending on your child’s age, frequent check-ins can help you “temperature check” the success of your child in his or her new at-home classroom. It will also help you recognize and address any issues they may be having early to make sure they can get the most out of their instruction and virtual education tools.
Talk to your teacher(s)
As we travel down this new road together, it is important to ask questions and give your teachers practical feedback in order to help make this experience a positive one. If you have a question, chances are that another parent may have it too. Your teachers are here to help in any way they can.
Incorporate fun into learning and don’t stress
As you delve deeper into distance learning with your child, don’t forget that learning at home should be fun! Plan for some fun activities that incorporate learning for the whole family, like cooking together, building and creating art using recycled materials, playing board games to help with critical thinking, exploring science with hands-on stem activities, and listening and learning about different types of music. Just like in the classroom, adding art, music, movement, and time outside can make a world of difference in the transition as well as the effectiveness of a distance learning program.
Lastly, try not to stress or strive for perfection. As any classroom teacher will tell you, there are good days and bad days, and learning-at-home will be no different. Transitioning to distance learning will be a journey that we are all on together.
Remember, Stratford School is here for you, and wants to help make your child’s distance learning experience as effective and meaningful as possible.*Look for future blogs to come with fun ideas and activities to help supplement your distance learning and provide support to our parents during this challenging time.