We talk to our Early Years 1 Team Leader, Leanne Dix, about our online learning provision for our youngest students
The current climate has seen the necessary switch to online learning become commonplace in schools around the world and Shrewsbury International School Bangkok, Riverside is no different. Teachers here have drawn on their experience, knowledge and years of professional development to bring high-quality learning into the homes of students while the classrooms stay closed. For many teachers, such as those in Early Years, the shift has been dramatic as close contact and observation are hallmarks of their day-to-day vocation.
How does an Early Years teacher bring thoughtful and engaging learning into the homes of students without face to face content? The truth is, at Shrewsbury, teachers are continually upskilling in areas attributed to online learning. The shift to this provision has happened with minimal disruption by using methods that families and children are already familiar with.
EY1 Year team leader, Ms Leanne Dix, says the use of our Interactive Learning Diary (ILD) has increased dramatically.
"Our families are really familiar with the ILD platform as we use it to share their fantastic learning at school every half term with them. In the distance learning environment we now find ourselves in, we use ILD daily to communicate with parents and students and provide the tasks we would like them to complete."
The preparedness of Shrewsbury's Early Years team is highlighted by the troubleshooting sessions with parents held earlier in the academic year. This has ensured that all families can access and use their ILD, and this familiarity with the platform has meant home learning has been seamless in EY.
All teachers across Early Years expressed the desire to keep things as routine and regular as possible when it came to structuring their children's day. The disruption of their learning environment does not need to extend to a disturbance in the schedule. To this end, a daily good morning and welcome video is sent by each teacher in the team, with an explanation of the day's activities. Some examples of this include watering flowers and plants, den building, using loose parts to get creative and many more.
"In addition to this, we also add a daily story video read by one of our EY1 class teachers. We encourage our children to document their daily activities by uploading their own photos and videos detailing what they have been doing each day."
The response from families has been heartwarming for the EY team, and it validates the hard work they have put in, preparing each day. Many of the reactions show students really enjoying the activities and, in the process, learning so much too. The communication continues as all EY1 teachers respond to the children's uploads daily with comments, questions and suggestions.
Ms Dix says it is vital to reinforce the community spirit that exists in Early Years despite not being physically present. To do this, teachers continue to celebrate milestones such as birthdays and introduce new events such as 'The Weekly Review.'
"This will be posted every Friday. We want to share all of the wonderful distance learning the children have been involved with using the videos and photos they have uploaded. The EY1 class teacher talks through the slideshow of their learning using Screencastify. We know that the children will be missing each other and they will love seeing their friends engaged in the same activities that they have been experiencing."
"Many parents have shared comments telling us how fun the daily activities are and that they are really enjoying learning with their children at home. The children and families are doing an amazing job! This is fantastic to see!"
Looking to the future, Shrewsbury's EY1 team are working hard to develop new ideas and ways of making home learning even more fun, and parents can be sure that teachers will continue to improve the online learning experience even further.