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The Impact of Virtual School on Preschoolers’ Flexibility

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual learning has become the new normal. Schools across the world have shifted from traditional in-person learning to virtual classrooms, and preschoolers have not been left out. This shift has come with its own set of challenges, including the impact on preschoolers’ flexibility. In this article, we will delve into the impact of virtual school on preschoolers, focusing on flexibility.

Understanding Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing situations and environments. Preschoolers are at a stage where they are developing their flexibility, and virtual school has had a significant impact on this development. The sudden shift to virtual school has disrupted the routines and structures that preschoolers are used to, making it challenging for them to adapt to the new learning environment.

Impact 1: Disrupted Routines

Preschoolers who study traditionally in person follow a regular schedule and are aware of what to expect from the day. However, virtual school has disrupted this routine, and preschoolers have had to adapt to a new schedule. Virtual school requires preschoolers to manage their time independently, which can be a significant challenge for them.

Virtual schools force preschoolers to sit in front of screens for long stretches of time, which can be detrimental to their development. Prolonged screen time has been linked to various developmental issues, including attention problems, language delays, and poor sleep.

Impact 2: Adjusting to Different Schedules

Virtual school has also disrupted the schedules of preschoolers, which can affect their flexibility. Preschoolers are used to a set routine, and any changes to this routine can be challenging for them. Virtual school requires preschoolers to adjust to a new schedule that may differ significantly from their previous routine.

Impact 3: Adapting to Different Learning Styles

Virtual school also requires preschoolers to adapt to different learning styles, which can be challenging for them. Preschoolers are accustomed to engaging in hands-on activities and social interactions during traditional classroom instruction, which can aid in their learning and memory. However, virtual learning requires preschoolers to engage with content in a different way.

Strategies to Support Preschoolers’ Flexibility

One way to support preschoolers’ flexibility during virtual school is to provide a structured routine that incorporates both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.

Another way to support preschoolers’ flexibility during virtual school is to use a multi-sensory approach to teaching.

Structured Routine

A structured routine can help preschoolers understand what to expect during the day and create a sense of predictability. The routine should also include regular breaks, which can help preschoolers manage their time and reduce the negative effects of prolonged screen time.

Multi-sensory Approach

Music, movement, and visual aids can be incorporated into virtual learning sessions to keep preschoolers engaged and focused. For example, songs, rhymes, and dance breaks can help preschoolers remember information, while visual aids such as images and diagrams can aid in understanding.

Encouraging Independence and Creativity

Parents and educators can also support preschoolers’ flexibility by providing opportunities for independent learning and creative expression.

Independent Learning

Preschoolers can be provided with learning activities that they can complete independently, such as scavenger hunts or puzzles, to develop their self-regulation skills.

Creative Expression

Preschoolers should be encouraged to engage in activities that promote creativity and imagination, such as art projects and storytelling, during virtual learning sessions.

Outdoor Learning and Physical Activity

Incorporating outdoor learning opportunities and physical activity into virtual learning sessions can also support preschoolers’ flexibility.

Outdoor Learning

Outdoor learning can provide preschoolers with a break from screen time and allow them to engage with the natural world.

Physical Activity

Preschoolers should be encouraged to engage in physical activities that stimulate movement and support their overall health and development.

Promoting Social-Emotional Development

Supporting preschoolers’ social-emotional development is crucial during virtual learning.

Emotional Regulation

Parents and educators can encourage preschoolers to identify and express their emotions, as well as teach them strategies for managing their emotions.

Social Interaction

Preschoolers should be encouraged to participate in group activities and virtual conversations with their peers to promote social interaction.

Supporting Mental Health and Well-being

Virtual learning can be stressful for preschoolers, so it’s important to prioritize their mental health and well-being.

Creating a Supportive Environment

Parents and educators can create a supportive and nurturing environment at home, encourage expression of emotions, and provide resources for mental health support.

The Importance of Play

Play is essential for preschoolers’ development and should be incorporated into virtual learning sessions.

Play-based Learning

Interactive games, imaginative play, and unstructured playtime should be encouraged to support preschoolers’ development.