I have a 3.5-year-old grandson who was to join Kindergarten in June. We went into lockdown in early March, and the schools are yet to open. We are uncertain when they will reopen.
He is at home and cannot go out to play; no contact with children of the same age group. Obviously it is the best thing to do, given the rampant spread of COVID.
I wonder about the impact on the minds and the emotional wellbeing of these children.
We can educate them at home, provided the parents and grandparents do spend quality time with the young ones. They have their teachers coming online and getting them to do some activities. They get to see their friends online. All that is fine.
They are watching and observing how we talk and behave. I am pleasantly surprised by the choice of words, and the way they construct sentences. Obviously he mimics how we speak. Some of the sentences you would not expect from children of that age. Are they maturing relatively earlier than normal?
I can see that they are not learning to lose and share, as the elders at home pamper them. There is so much energy in these kids, they need to expend it by running around, doing activities and playing games, as otherwise they’d become bored, restless and may throw tantrums. They could watch cartoons on TV, but they can get addicted to TV, and hence we have had to minimise screen exposure.
The development of social skills by way of interacting with the kids of the same age and the teachers, playing team games etc., is lost for this entire year.
In the new normal, when schools reopen, getting them to go back to school is not easy, particularly when they have been through a long break. With this long break, getting children back to school will not be easy: achieving a perfect blend of the use of classroom education and online education must be implemented.
The requirement for pairing up of rural/semi-urban schools as partner schools will also be challenging.
The process of thinking this through to accomplish the hybrid model, while keeping in mind that inclusivity has to be provided in the true spirit of ‘Education for All’ and ‘No Child Left Behind’ programs .This should help elevate the academic standards, awareness, and teaching abilities of the beneficiary school: the ‘inclusiveness’.
Children miss being with friends, developing social skills, personality development, and strong and courageous characters. Talent discovery, nurturing it, etc., are all the important facets of education — particularly, in NEP 2020.
Hope the Government will provide more detailed guidelines for implementation. But the fact is, all the school teachers, parents, and students are getting restless.