With the COVID-19 coronavirus still a threat, and many people preferring to keep their children home from preschool, there’s a real need for remote early education programs. That means teachers (in today’s remote world, that means parents and caregivers) need to adapt their own methods and set up spaces that will still engage children, even when they’re seeing it through a webcam.
Virtual learning is tricky, but it’s absolutely possible. You just need to think about the space you’re creating, and how to use it!
4 Tips For Successful Virtual Early Education Lessons
1 – Know your equipment
Fortunately, videoconferencing is easy these days – all you really need is a smartphone, a tripod, and software such as Facetime or Zoom. Definitely use a tripod; if you try to go handheld you’ll end up focused on the phone rather than the lesson. Phones are also better than computers, as children tend to press all the keys when sitting in front of a computer or laptop.
2 – Have a dedicated space
You should devote one room of your house – even a small one – to set up your virtual early education classroom. This room should be as isolated as possible. Try to keep noise and distractions to a minimum, such as telling your family to stay away while you’re teaching.
It should be decorated like a typical classroom, to help reinforce the “learning environment” atmosphere. Remember, since your camera will probably be locked on a tripod, you don’t have to decorate the entire room – just what will be in the picture.
3 – Keep your lessons varied
One of the most difficult aspects of virtual early education is holding your students’ attention. A small child will struggle to stay focused on a laptop. You’ll want your lessons to be even more varied than usual, to help keep that attention. Look for every opportunity to encourage interaction!
4 – Prepare materials ahead of time
You never want “dead air” during your lessons. If you wander off-camera, some children may wander off as well. Plan every lesson ahead of time, and make sure everything you need is within reach with a minimum of disruption.
The only exception is if you’re planning on recording your lessons, rather than doing them live. However, in this case, be sure you properly edit the footage to remove any dead air.
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