In this season of WFH and trying to homeschool children during a pandemic, parents are increasingly getting stressed and overwhelmed while trying to strike a balance between parenting and providing the right education for their children. With updates on school closures extending to the rest of the school year, children are unable to attend classes in person– leaving parents with no choice but to seek viable online resources to help educate their children.
A child’s brain develops rapidly during the first 5 years of life. During these years, it is important to understand that teaching a child is more than just teaching letters and numbers. It is about teaching life skills that will help them thrive as older children and even as adults. With that said, there are 5 things that you should consider if you’re a parent thinking about enrolling your child into a virtual preschool.
1.) Screen Time
We now live in a world where technology is nearly impossible to avoid, even for our children. Many parents are looking towards educational apps, games, and other online resources to help keep their children’s minds engaged at home. Educational apps and games are definitely great tools for busy parents, but one important thing to consider when enrolling your child in a virtual learning program is the amount of screen time that is necessary for learning.
Preschoolers ages 3-5 shouldn’t spend more than 60 minutes of screen time per day when learning, and one of the first important questions you should be asking as a parent to the program you are interested in is, “how much time will my child need to spend on the screen for all learning activities?”
As busy, working mothers of 2 who found that there are limited online education solutions available that took into careful consideration of the amount of screen time, our co-founders Chriselle Lim and Joan Nguyen felt the need to create bumo Virtual School (aka BVS). As an experienced educator and founder of an INC5000 education company and the Head of School, Nguyen has curated a robust online curriculum alongside global educators with over 350 years of education experience. The daily lessons and interactive videos in the BVS curriculum require no more than 60 minutes of screen time for your child so that your child will be encouraged to do more off-screen activities.
2.) Engaging in Unplugged Activities
In addition to considering how much screen time your child will be using in any virtual learning program, it is important to ask what type of activities your child will be engaging in throughout the day.
At BVS, students are encouraged to interact with unplugged activities that promote sensory learning, creativity and exploration, STEM, and fine motor skills. Off-screen activities assigned by real teachers will allow your child to actively participate in kinesthetic opportunities that develop important life skills.
Both learning tracks at BVS (Jumpstart and Success) come with a bumoBrain Box filled with over $100 worth of educational products that encourage lots of creativity and are utilized with the daily curated lessons that promote off-screen learning.
3.) Live Interaction with Teachers
Another important aspect to virtual learning is the human interaction that is needed for children to thrive. Beyond the play-based learning and assigned activities, ask what type of interaction your child will have with their teacher(s). At BVS, students are assigned a specific teacher who will provide live commenting and feedback to their daily assignments in their portal. In most virtual learning environments, the human interaction is often missing which is key to your child thriving within online parameters.
It is important to develop these relationships with their teachers so that your child is not only learning phonics, number sense and literacy skills, but also social and emotional skills that they will need for real life.
4.) Intimate Learning Environments
It’s difficult to gauge the level of engagement and whether your child is retaining information online without an intimate learning environment. During this time of lockdown, many preschools and kindergartens are shifting to utilize online meeting platforms like Zoom, packed with over 20 children in each class. However, with so many children in one classroom, it’s hard to see how much individualized attention your child is getting, which they absolutely need. Some children have even developed anxiety and associated fear with technology and this sudden shift in their classrooms.
In order to ensure your child is receiving focused attention, ask what the student-to-teacher ratio is in the virtual classroom. Within the Success Program at BVS, students not only have access to live commenting from their teachers, but also 2 live classes weekly with an assigned teacher and an age-specific cohort.
5.) Parent Involvement
Lastly, if you’re considering enrolling your child in a virtual classroom, be sure to ask the level of parent involvement with each program. BVS believes in experiential learning and makes it clear to parents that in addition to creativity, exploration, and collaboration — parent involvement is also key to a child’s learning success. Between both the Jumpstart and Success tracks, parents will need no more than 2-3 hours of commitment per day.
As busy parents, not all of us are equipped to educate our children and also teach them real life skills the same way our teachers do. If you’re interested in enrolling your child in BVS, be sure to apply now as spots are limited! Learn more by scheduling a complimentary orientation with an Education Coordinator.