As preschools rely primarily on project- and play-based activities in a curated environment, online learning can seem intimidating for educators. Nothing can replace the openness of a preschool environment. Early childhood play is crucial to preschoolers’ academic, social, and emotional development. Online learning may not provide such strong foundations, but a few strategies and efforts can help keep these principles alive.
7 Strategies To Engage Preschoolers In Online Classes
Various strategies are being used by educators worldwide to reduce extended screen time for preschoolers while enhancing play-based learning. Educators from top CBSE higher secondary schools in Chennai like Babaji Vidhyasham School, have gathered a list of strategies that can keep preschoolers engaged in online learning. Let us see how they work.
1. Keep Your Online Sessions Short
Kids can’t stay focused or still for a long time. You should therefore keep your online sessions short and productive. Focus on one activity at a time. Some quick songs or stories can keep the kids interested when they are online. Feel free to cut short preschool online sessions if kids are not paying attention or are disengaged. Let your students know that you will continue the activity during the next live session. Alternatively, you may decide to do a different activity if your students aren’t engaged with the one you are doing now.
2. Keep Your Online Sessions Short
As you design virtual activities, it is important to consider your students’ developmental milestones. Here are a few examples.
- Mindfulness activities for socio-emotional milestones: Several mindfulness activities can help preschoolers develop emotional awareness, such as meditation or yoga. You can initiate discussions like their favourite activities or food and discussions regarding emotions and feelings.
- Movement for physical milestones: Engage kids in dance or other physical movements by playing music or games like ‘freeze dance’. You can even get kids to emulate animal movements, such as leaping rabbits, galloping horses, etc.
- Storytelling for language milestones: Storytelling plays a crucial role in developing literacy and language skills in children. Students should be encouraged to participate by discussing the story they heard or asking follow-up questions. You can even challenge them to come up with alternate endings.
- Discussions for cognitive milestones: While all the above activities contribute to cognitive developments, conversations play a major role in developing them further.
3. Include Sing-Along Activities
With sing-along activities, you can make your virtual sessions interactive and engaging. You can use songs you had used during your in-person classes to energize your morning meetings. Parent involvement in class can add to the fun and make the class more engaging.
4. Include favorite activities
You can make your virtual classes more engaging by including students’ favourite activities. Build activities that are virtual adaptations of their favourite books or games. Additionally, you can ask your students to do their favourite activities during virtual classes. Children should be encouraged to bring their favourite toys and games and tell their friends about them in virtual classrooms. This will help students feel more connected in their classes.
5. Encourage parents to join the class
Preschool may remain engaged in virtual classrooms if their parents, siblings or caregivers sit along with them. This will also maintain a community sense needed to attain developmental milestones in preschoolers. Invite parents to join their wards’ classes for quick storytelling or sing-along activities.
6. Facilitate productive alternatives to virtual learning
It is unrealistic to expect preschoolers to learn entirely in virtual classrooms. Make sure they continue to learn even after they have finished their screen time. Inspire them to build cardboard cars or any other favourite items of theirs. The parents should be instructed to share the photos or videos of their creations in the class portal.
7. Get assistance from your tech-savvy colleagues
You may not be tech-savvy enough to create an engaging virtual classroom. However, one of your colleagues may be able to help. You can ask your tech-savvy family members or colleagues for help with developing engaging virtual activities. Keep in mind that transitioning to virtual activities is a new experience. However, you can make it engaging by using collective effort and ideas.
Last But Not The Least
Creating an engaging virtual environment can be a daunting task, especially when dealing with preschoolers. Here’s your chance to let them lead the way. Encourage them to share their favourite experience or activity they enjoy the most. You can use this information to create engaging activities for your next virtual meeting. You can also take advantage of the above ideas to develop engaging virtual learning experiences.