OUR ONLINE PROGRAMME KEEPS EVEN OUR YOUNGEST LEARNERS CONNECTED
Penguins is currently offering an online learning programme for our preschoolers. Operating during Level 3 and 4, the online sessions – titled 'Penguins Learn Through Play' – have been created to keep little ones entertained while increasing their knowledge and encouraging social interaction at what could otherwise be quite an isolating time.
We've spoken to Centre Manager Jill Oliver about the benefits of online learning, and she has outlined the programme below, providing some helpful tips for parents with active youngsters.
Which age ranges does your online learning programme cover?
Although we can cater for all ages (from babies through to five-year-olds), currently we have children from the ages of one to five participating in the Penguins Learn Through Play programme.
What sort of programme are you offering?
We hold twice daily Zoom sessions where our teachers duplicate our centre-based mat time. These mat time sessions include dance, music, physical activities, daily challenges, science experiments, stories, songs, and anything the teacher feels appropriate for that age group which ties in with our curriculum.
How long do the daily sessions last?
For children over two years, each session lasts 30 minutes. But we have to be flexible depending on the age of the children. Each morning, we also post an activity on EDUCA (our online platform), which the children can do if it appeals to them – and it usually does. Then they tune in to the afternoon mat time session and share how they got on with our teachers.
How much (if any) parental supervision is required?
If it is a mat time session with storytelling, dancing and songs, children can do this independently and need little parent involvement. However, our other activities may require more supervision, depending on what they are.
Why is it so important for preschoolers to attend online learning?
Not only is our programme lots of fun, but it is also an opportunity to keep in contact with teachers and friends. That way, when children return to Penguins, their acclimatisation back into preschool will be so much easier. And their relationships have been sustained and nurtured during this time.
What are the benefits of online learning for such young children?
The benefit of children joining Penguins Learn Through Play is that they have the opportunity to see their teachers twice a day every day. The social interaction with teachers and children is what the children most miss out on when they are in lockdown.
What advice do you have for parents trying to entertain preschoolers during lockdown?
It's not easy when parents are expected to undertake everything they do at work and look after their children at the same time, so my advice is to keep it simple, keep a routine, keep it FUN. Get outside as much as they can. Involve the children in what the parents are doing if at all possible. Think of the things that they did as youngsters and try to capture that for their children. And to cherish this time with their children.
What are you most looking forward to when the centre can re-open?
Seeing and being with the children – they are the reason why ECE (Early Childhood Education) teachers choose this career.