WRITTEN BY RACHAEL SYMES, HEAD OF EARLY YEARS, AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
In the Early Years at AIS, we have used Storypark as our Home Based Learning (HBL) platform to share learning engagements during Singapore’s Circuit Breaker and to keep us connected with families. With feedback from our parent community, we ensure that our HBL program is continuously reviewed and refined. Our focus areas have been to develop and embed routines and structure for our children and parents. We have prioritised maintaining connections, relationships and motivation through authentic and meaningful digital learning engagements.
Active and passive screen time
Within this new learning environment, balancing active and passive screen time for our young learners has been crucial.
- Active screen time (creating) is where students are producing content, researching, collaborating or interacting with what they see on the screen together or with an adult.
- Inactive screen time is passive interaction (consuming) with a device such as watching television or a tablet or smartphone.
The role of parents
In Early Years, we honour parents as their child’s first teachers as they support them through daily learning engagements and group meetings with the class teacher. This provides meaningful learning experiences within the home environment. We understand that a classroom environment at home is unable to be replicated, but we endeavour to build trusting relationships and remain connected.
Delivery of learning
A weekly overview of learning engagements is shared by the class teacher to help parents organise their child’s days. Two learning engagements are shared daily, consisting of pre-recorded teacher instructions and photos that focus on core foundational skills which are age appropriate. Learning engagements have been designed for parents to interact with on a daily basis or at a time that suits their schedule. We encourage every child to participate in daily morning sessions with their teacher in small groups or to schedule one-on-one sessions if more individual attention is required. Our amazing specialist team of teachers also offer a range of whole class or ‘pod’ sessions for children to engage in weekly, including music, physical education, Mandarin, yoga and mindfulness sessions
Tips from our Parent Community
- Individualise your schedule:
‘I’m juggling two toddlers and we have made our own schedule combining both sets of lesson times to provide general structure to our days. I really enjoy the videos that are provided and we replay these often during the week, which helps me to easily fill time and which both of my kids enjoy greatly! My 2-year-old knows when his ‘in person’ class is and now asks for his teacher in anticipation of his class. He’s surprsingly well engaged during class and really enjoys his learning’
- Strike a balance:
‘AIS Early Years teachers provide ‘live’ digital experiences as well as ‘offline’ tasks we can engage with when it suits our family. This combination helps us to manage our new schedules during COVID-19.’
- Do what suits your family:
‘We are only managing to do the activities given by the class teacher and a few of the library posts. We haven’t done many of the specialist lessons and we’re not attending the online specialist lessons. I am prioritising revision of previous activities given by the class teacher. So, with that (and along with caring for a younger child!) we have more than enough to do.’