Online Learning for Your Toddler: Where to Begin? | OneMega.com
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Online Learning for Your Toddler: Where to Begin?

Online Learning for Your Toddler: Where to Begin?

Parenting | August 27, 2021
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Despite the pandemic, learning shouldn’t stop. Casa Tykes offers an early learning program for toddlers⁠—right in the comfort of your home.

I’ve always believed that good education is the best gift you can give your children. So, like many other moms, I did all the research. I listened to all the recommendations on possible schools I could send her to⁠—especially since toddlers like my daughter are at an age when they develop a love for learning.

But when the pandemic threw a curveball⁠—knocking down the traditional school setting⁠—I started to panic.

I was worried about how the lockdowns and quarantines meant that my daughter wouldn’t be able to enjoy a more “normal” setting for learning. In fact, I was also concerned about what it meant for me as her mom. I didn’t know the first thing about supporting kids who were taking online classes. Plus, I wasn’t confident about my abilities as a teacher, and I had no idea how I could even fit homeschooling into my schedule.

But most of all, I was scared that because of the pandemic, my daughter’s development would be held back. And that I would be responsible for that.

Online Schooling with Casa Tykes

Thankfully, Hills Learning Zone in Manila quickly pivoted. They developed an online schooling program called Casa Tykes, which we enrolled Iris in.

Admittedly, it wasn’t the easiest of transitions for my daughter. But in the last few months (including a fun summer program), it’s been such a relief to finally see her engaging with her teachers and classmates so well. And seeing as online learning might be around for a while, I’m doing my best to accept the situation, trust the process, and embrace the many unique opportunities that online learning provides.

Lea Disini-Aquino⁠—one of the educators and partners behind Casa Tykes⁠—thinks parents won’t have much to worry about, as long as they learn how to enjoy what “schooling” is in 2021. 

Relax, because these are unprecedented times,” she says. “Inasmuch as we would want to be teachers for our kids 24/7, we can’t. You really have to trust in yourself as a parent, and to trust the institution that you are asking your child to be a part of.”

The Importance of Holistic Learning

You have to be in the proper frame of mind also, as a mom,” Lea adds. “If the child feels that you are having fun learning, they’ll also have fun learning. They’ll also be engaged, and they’ll also like it because they feel that you like it.”

With that being said, Lea is a firm believer in holistic learning, which uses a variety of approaches to fulfill every child’s unique learning needs. This includes doing things outside of classroom settings and finding ways to include learning in everyday situations.

“You’ll be surprised that even if you aren’t really directly teaching your child numeracy or literacy per se, they are getting it. How do they get it? It’s really by reading, talking to them, [and] explaining day-to-day materials,” Lea points out. “When you draw, [and] when the child uses their hands and fingers to grip the pen, you’re already enhancing fine motor skills. The child doesn’t have to learn strictly in a classroom setting.

Shifting From Face-to-face to Online Learning

When the pandemic hit, Lea and her team knew immediately that it would impact Casa Tykes’ holistic approach. A two-hour school session wouldn’t work with younger kids if they spent all that time in front of a screen. Plus, they also understood that being physically together was a crucial part of making sure that every child got to really engage with their teachers.

Thus, what followed was a series of trial classes followed by constant meetings. They adjusted their class lengths based on how kids responded to the classes. They even lessened the number of kids per session, so that every student got the attention they needed.

In order to help children keep learning during the pandemic, the Casa Tykes team had some learning of their own to do. And one of the bigger adjustments was to develop more diverse ways to involve the parents.

“Essentially, online learning has taught educators and parents alike that we’re really partners. If we were partners before, now, we’re like literally holding our hands together,” Lea shares. “Before, you could just tell the teacher, ‘Okay Teacher, you can teach my child this. At home, we’re just going to enhance it.’ But now we’re all at home, so we’re both teacher and parent.”

Learning at Home

In order to help parents out, Casa Tykes gives kids home learning activities through special home learning packs in partnership with Ogalala World. These are things they can do with the family over the weekend, or on offline days where the children don’t have any classes to attend. Plus, each kit comes with worksheets and ideas on how parents can use flashcards, blocks, crayons, paints, and other items to enhance their lessons

More importantly, Lea reminds parents that they shouldn’t let all this pressure get to them. If they do, it eventually gets to the kids, too.

“I want the kids to be kids. Of course, they should attain a certain degree of knowledge⁠—of the concept of numeracy and literacy any day⁠—but not too much so as to really suffocate them to the point that they don’t want to learn anymore.  So allow them to learn and play, allow them to be kids⁠—that’s where I’m coming from,” she says.

“I wanted also to promote the importance of inculcating kindness⁠—the different values that you have. That for me is very important, aside from learning the normal literacy and numeracy concepts. It’s how we foster holistic learning and development for the child,” she adds.

Benefits of Online Classes

Lea also feels that parents could relax a little about what online learning might entail for their kids’ development. While she agrees that remote classes aren’t exactly a strong substitute for socializing in a traditional school setting, she’s seen her students engage with each other in healthy ways online. What’s more, online learning also opens up other opportunities for development that wouldn’t have been available in physical classes.

“Imagine a subject or a course that can only be achieved abroad. [It] can now be achieved in the comforts of your home! [There’s] also character development⁠—it’s skills that you can enhance through online learning,” she says. “That’s always been beneficial for students⁠—to have different facets of learning, in different cultures, [and] in a different manner of learning.”

Seeing Iris bloom through her online classes and in our everyday learning moments has made me a little less worried about her future. As Lea said, it’s all about how parents work together with teachers they trust. Teachers like her make Herculean efforts⁠—not only to guarantee that their kids keep learning, but to also make it easier for us parents to really be partners in our children’s development. And for that, I’m truly grateful.

Of Patience and Kindness

On our end, we need to remember that we’ve always been teachers to our kids, even if we aren’t the ones giving lessons in a classroom. The pandemic hasn’t changed that. In fact, it’s just given us more chances to slow down and be more present in our children’s educational development⁠—which is truly a gift, if you think about it.

It takes a lot of patience, especially with the world being the way it is today, but it’s worth it every time our kids amaze us with what they’ve learned.

Check out my interview with Lea Disini-Aquino, right here:

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With Celine’s trusted eye for the chic, unique and stylish, it was only natural for her to dabble in modeling, TV hosting, being a newspaper columnist and PR director. She transformed her very diverse background into several growing enterprises, namely Mullenlowe Marc (formerly known as ARC Public Relations), a healthy snack brand called Honest Junk and anti-mosquito cologne cult classic, Kiele Naturals. But nothing gives her more fulffillment than her greatest accomplishment — being a mom to her daughter, Iris. This mompreneur is excited to share tips, advice and all around good vibes on all things parenting.
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