The weeks before the start of school are usually filled with days of shopping for clothes and school supplies. With school starting remotely, uniforms are not needed and school supplies are slightly different. So how can families prepare their child to learn remotely? Over the next few weeks, we will share our tips for helping students thrive during remote learning. Our first tip: Create a Space.
Find a Place Where School Can Happen Every Day
The ideal space is quiet and free of distractions. There is a place to sit and a surface to work upon. Look for a nearby outlet to plug in their laptop. Also, test how well the internet works in the space so that your child can easily connect to their online classroom.
Keep in mind, school is where children learn. Some caregivers may choose to dedicate a room in their home for school, others may use the kitchen table. Both locations are great! Just be sure to find a dedicated place for school items. If you have a “school room” this could be a book shelf. In spaces that are a bit more flexible, this could be a laundry basket or a book bag that is taken out and set aside at the beginning and end of the day.
Create Routines for Setting Up and Closing Down the School Day
There is a predictable rhythm to the school day. One of the things that make students successful at school are the rituals and routines of coming into the classroom. They put their coats and book bags away, take out their work bin, or go shopping for books. In that predictability is the space where students develop the confidence, habits and skills for beginning their day.
It’s important to have those same things at home; no matter when or where school is happening. Part of the routine could be to take the materials out of their space and set them up on the table. Once school is done, close the day by putting the items back in their space. Creating these opening and closing routines will help give the day boundaries or edges. Having a specific way to start and close school time will help students and families managed the uncertainty of work outside of school.
Secure a Kitchen Timer
Timers are a tool teachers use in the beginning of the year to give students an idea of how much time they have. For younger students, we recommend building up to no more than 20 minutes at a time on one assignment. For older students, we recommend building up to 30-45 minutes of distraction-free time on one assignment. A timer will help keep track of these times and progression.
Timers also help to motivated students. For example, if your child is having trouble getting started on their work, set the timer for five minutes. You only have to get started for five minutes. Just try five minutes. Usually after the five minutes the child is engaged and you can say let’s just try five more minutes.
Practice Using the Space
Help your child become comfortable in the space by spending some time using the space. Say to them “this is the space we are going to learn for the next six weeks.” Then practice setting the space up and completing work. Again, keep the work simple. The most important school tools are paper, crayons and pencils. They can draw, read a book, or practice writing in that space. All of those activities will help them prepare for the school year.
We look forward to seeing your child in their school space on September 8th!
Learn more about the 2020 – 2021 Boundless Learning School Reopening Plan at igschools.org/reopening