Schools across the world have closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Since then, teachers have been working vigorously around the clock by touching base, through the internet, with their preschoolers. In our school, we have children as young as two and a half enjoying online lessons with their teachers.
How incredible is that? Children, that young, having Zoom video sessions?
We started off not knowing much about online education, and now, we have become the best! The process has not been easy. When we started, we were like fish out of water. Right now, we have accomplished what might have sounded impossible at the beginning of the pandemic journey. Digital learning has been internalized by our schools and teachers, and we are diligently working towards perfecting this new style of schooling.
We know for a fact that young children feel comfortable when routines are enforced ritually. Preschool children feel secure and happy when they do activities on a daily bases. Every day, teachers sing their routine songs such as “Hello,” “How is the weather today?” etc. They ritualize circle time and also talk about chosen topics individually and in small groups. This might sound boring to us adults, but for the little ones, it is a feeling of security. During their Zoom sessions, teachers make sure to call on each and every child by their names and ask them questions about the subject they are learning. Students feel happy and proud when their teachers pay close attention to what they say and at the end of each lesson they leave with a sense of pride, belong, and happiness.
What if children were not given opportunities to attend these classes? How would they feel? The answer is; they will feel alone and isolated. These lessons help enable them to get together and socialize with human beings other than their immediate families. They get to sing and make rhythmic sounds with their music teacher, dance, and sway with their movement teacher and even continue to enhance their French with their French teacher. From day one, all of our teachers have been working doubly hard. They have reached out to their student’s inner hearts and conquered their tiny soles by making them happy and excited about learning. Obviously, online education cannot take the place of the actual classroom, but we are doing our best to simulate it.
This pandemic did not stop us from commemorating National Children’s Sovereignty Day where our whole school met on Zoom as we proudly waved our flags and sang our national anthem. On Mother’s Day, each class prepared surprise parties for their mothers and gave them handmade gifts and sentimental cards. Our age 5 children sang “You Are My Sunshine” with their teachers.
In the first week of May, we conducted our first online parent-teacher meetings, via Zoom. We were able to get feedback regarding our on-line program and more. To our delight, the feedbacks were very positive. We appreciate and respect our parents, thoughts, and suggestions. These meetings enabled us to see the other side of the ‘screen’. Afterward, we gathered together with all of our teachers, made our evaluations, and planned accordingly.
As long as this pandemic continues, we at Kilittaşı schools vow to continue and better ourselves in all types of scenarios. Our mission is our vision, and that is to nurture happy and healthy-minded generations to come.
Ayşe Y. Ismailoğlu