You have finally settled that your preschooler is going to learn through the virtual world. While this decision is one you have probably thought about a lot, it is one that will require a lot more of a commitment on your part. Virtual preschool is a little different than dropping your child off for a day of fun and learning. Instead, you are the one planning that day of fun and learning. You are also the one who is going to be intensely supervising your preschooler on the computer.
The first thing to realize with virtual preschool is that it is a lot more work on your part. You have to make certain that your preschooler is doing the work required of them. The best way to tackle this is to set up a schedule for your time. While your schedule can have some flexibility, it is important to ensure that the attendance requirements are met.
Another crucial tip is to provide an actual learning environment in a space where your preschooler is comfortable. This means that the television is off, the radio isn’t playing and the toys are put away for learning time. It is important that your preschooler know that when it is time to sit down at the computer, it is time to learn.
Socialization is a big part of preschool. So, take the time to connect with other parents and plan those play dates or sign them up for a sport. You need the interaction with others just as much as they do. Many virtual preschools offer a support system to help parents with this aspect of development.
Recess is also an important part of preschool. It is still vital that they have some time to burn off their energy before they sit down. You also want to incorporate small breaks during their learning time to break up some of their computer time. It will help with their focus and concentration.
Above all, ignore the temptation to do the work for them. This is one of the hardest things for parents to do at any age. Your Preschooler needs to learn this material. While you can help with the log ins and ensuring they aren’t going somewhere they shouldn’t be, your Preschooler still has to do the work themselves, otherwise they will never learn the material. So, it is going to take a lot of self-control from you not to give them an answer but to give them the time to think about the answer.
Virtual preschool has its advantages and disadvantages. Only you can decide if it is right for you and your child. While you can control their environment, it is still a huge time investment on your part to ensure they are spending that time learning. Follow these tips to get the most out of a virtual preschool program.
(Photo: Marja Flick-Buijs)