DAS ON SG CIRCUIT BREAKER
DAY 7 – THE TABLES HAVE TURNED IN PRESCHOOL!
By Kelly Bijay
Preschool Programme Manager
Early Intervention is Vital
The tables have turned now and the students we used to see in the physical classroom are coming to us in the virtual classroom. Three weeks ago, this virtual classroom did not exist in my universe, a Mission impossible for all of us at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. What I am going to say next is the biggest shocker, the children being supported online by my team are Preschoolers! Yes, they are all in kindergarten, now let that sink in!
When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher!
The DAS Preschool team is full of very passionate Educational Therapists who knew very well what was at stake if remediation services for their students were suspended. Early literacy intervention is crucial for those children who struggle with early literacy and they need continuous support for retention and mastery. Our Preschool Team went beyond their call of duty, to create resources from scratch. We collaborated and put on a brave face to confront the challenges ahead of us. This was a steep learning curve for us as some were not so tech-savvy, so they must be applauded for their courage. The mental shift to deliver lessons online to pre-schoolers is a phenomenal concept to address on its own!
We have delivered lessons as best as we can over the past three weeks of teaching online. We are learning every day and working on improving as each week passes. The support can never be perfect, Nor the same as in-class multisensory lessons! During the online classes with the children, I wish that I can just stick my sanitized hands into the screen and do some hand-holding and at other times I want to stick my head through the screen with my mask on and play our usual classroom games. These things were no longer possible of course, so instead of sulking behind our masks, we started thinking creatively.
The platform most of us used was Google Hangouts and some of us also experimented with ZOOM. Teachers decorated their home background to make it look like a classroom. We had to get earphones with microphones and have a good home internet connection. We made PowerPoint Slides as interactive as possible for familiar classroom components. We utilised appropriate YouTube videos and created our own videos for teaching. We used Kamiapp as a whiteboard to demonstrate how worksheets needed to be completed and we used doc-hub to break PDF worksheets.
Online and Offline Lessons
The new learning student workspace was online editable worksheets, mini whiteboards, e-books with online quizzes, online games and doable mini-home projects. Students with printers also received worksheets, and for some without, the Teachers mass snail-mailed a few weeks’ worth of worksheets before the circuit breaker, yes all this within the weekend. During lessons, we made many attempts to make learning interactive and hands-on. We got children cutting, pasting, colouring, painting, drawing, collaging, singing, making hand gestures, tracing, tracking, playing games and running around looking for items. That almost sounds like an ordinary day in a preschool classroom!
The work that we do is more exhausting, and our workload has in fact increased! Nevertheless, this journey that we are all on is a test for all humanity and we must rise above the odds for the greater good to prevail. We sleep peacefully at night, knowing that we did not forsake the little ones who trust in our ability to teach them.
More Stories Coming Up!!!
This is only the beginning; we have a number of pupil stories to share!
Look out for our sequels on how the tables have turned!
READ this BLOG in the attachment
Find out more about our Preschool Programme