Learning in the Time of Corona

  • Child Development
  • Parenting
Nelyda Miguel, Associate Head of School
Middle School student remote learning on Chromebook

© John Rae Photography

This week has changed everything we knew for the last 100 years. 

Adaptation, cooperation and flexibility are, together with TP and hand sanitizer, national treasures. As educators, we are faced with fundamental questions:

How do we keep learning happening?
How do we maintain calm and keep our students healthy?
How do we support anxious parents?
What does the future look like for our schools?

While we ponder the larger existential questions, we do what teachers have always done: we keep calm and think of what is best for the children, and their families. As administrators, we answer questions as they arise and try to anticipate our families’ needs. As people, we promote kindness and humor. 

Below are some lessons learned in a small school that is quickly adapting and making the best of these challenging times!!

Structure Matters

Structure home, classes, schedules. Make beds, dress for school, attend on time, do school work. The Red Oaks School is following a structured schedule using Google Meet, PowerSchool, and Google Classroom to keep students feeling connected and normalize their days. As of March 30th, even our youngest students will have online time with their teachers, and will continue to receive daily emails with suggested activities for the day. Create a schedule for each of your children to follow every school day! 

Play, Activity, and Connection Matter

Use the many resources The Red Oaks School is posting in our Parent Portal to vary your leisure time. Play board games.Take virtual trips, observe animals in the wild, plan an exotic trip. Exercise. If you can, go for walks, hikes, or bike rides (but keep social distance). Garden. Play badminton or throw a ball in the yard, if you have the space. Bake. Cook. Organize. Paint your home. Fix things. Start a hobby. Create playlists. Finally digitize all your photos. Call your relatives. Connect with your neighbors, do they need your help? Write notes to friends. There are so many things we bemoan not having time to do, now we have time, make a list, be purposeful.

  • Preens and teens need their friends. Let them connect via WhatsApp, or Snapchat, or Tik Tok, but keep an eye out so interactions stay positive and appropriate. Give them some space to mourn their losses. They may not perceive the danger and argue with you about sheltering in place. Empathize and answer them with data that demonstrates that social distancing is necessary at this time. Tell them what the authorities are doing to solve the problem, but monitor their news consumption so they do not become too anxious. 

  • Primary and Elementary students may want to use Facetime to connect. As adults, you know how to set up Zoom calls. Think about virtual play dates! 

Self-care is Essential

We are all tense, cabin fever may set in, preens and teens will get antsy, young children will wear you down with their high energy. Gratefulness, mindfulness, hobbies, eating well, hydrating, sleeping enough, and laughing as often as possible are good practices always, but more so now. Keep up with medications. Everyone, wash your hands often, and then again. The Red Oaks School is sharing resources from Child Mind Institute, Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, Common Sense Media, Edutopia, and other respected organizations on how to stay well emotionally during these hard times. 

Wifi is Important

If yours is not keeping up, move closer to the router, or connect your device to a live cable. Close some computer windows while streaming, but remember that reloading tabs and windows also takes up bandwidth. Update your browser and clear your cache. Move your router away from windows because the signal can be diffused. Make sure your router is password protected so strangers are not jumping on. Don’t stuff your router into a drawer, even if it does not match your decor. If you have a hot spot on your phone, try it.  If necessary, take turns using wifi at home. 

Explore Useful Apps

Google Meet is a miracle, Google Classroom too, Zoom works really well. The Red Oaks School is taking advantage of as many learning platforms and resources as possible. We are hearing from parents that students in schools without online video learning are feeling much more despondent and isolated. Our teachers are committed to becoming excellent online professionals. 

Limit Time on the News

This is true for adults and especially for children. The Red Oaks School has shared links on talking to children and teens about Corona. More news right now is not better for any of us. Don’t forget that children are listening, try not to talk about Corona all the time (we know, it is hard, as hard as not touching your face.)

Yours, with an elbow bump,