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Leaders in Education Share Key Strategies to Encourage Young Students to Successfully Navigate Remote Learning

NHA Communications Team  |  September 29, 2020
Jessica Meldrum
(616) 929-1394
                                                            Sept. 29, 2020

As families across the country work through the challenges of online learning and keeping kids on track during the coronavirus pandemic, education leaders say younger students may have a harder time. Educators offer practical tips for students to find success during this time.
Young students, such as kindergarten and first graders, all of whom are new to the rigors of participating in a scheduled routine like schooling, are now required to do so in an environment that requires the ability to navigate online learning by utilizing technology. This, in combination with the social-emotional challenges of learning in nontraditional spaces, created a difficult landscape for educators to traverse.
“Young students have been looking forward to going to school for the past two or three years, and carrying their lunch box and their book bag,” explained Staci Bennett, director of school quality (DSQ) at National Heritage Academies (NHA). “They feel like something is being done to them personally, and they don't understand. The kids are frustrated that they don't get to come in and hug their teacher on the first day of school.”
To combat this sense of loss for students, NHA’s network of schools across the country have been offering socially distanced school walkthroughs and virtual orientation nights to give families a look at what their students’ days will entail. “They then know what they have to look forward to,” said Bennett.
Through parental partnerships with their schools, teachers and families are working hand-in-hand to ensure their kids remain on track. Families can help their students by following these key tips:
  • Creating a dedicated learning space, whether that’s a desk or the kitchen table, setting up a space that is theirs to learn in will create a mindset for learning.
  • Creating a sense of normalcy by following a set schedule, similar to a traditional school year. This includes setting a regular bedtime and wake up time, maintaining a set time for breakfast, and getting dressed for school.
  • Lastly, maintaining classroom etiquette. Speaking when it’s your turn, following classroom contracts, and treating others with respect and kindness are just a few examples.
“As educators, we can do better at giving our families grace during these challenging times,” said Shawn Leonard, DSQ at NHA. “Financial hardship is very real, social and emotional challenges that come along with that is very real. Even before COVID, many of our families faced challenges in their communities, and COVID has magnified that. We have to step back and give our families grace and understanding, and then also help them to give themselves grace.”
Though their classrooms may look different than before, from fewer students learning together in-person to kids logging in to learn from home, educators from all walks of learning have shared a similar sentiment: they are happy to be working with kids, regardless of format.
“I'm glad that we have our kids back in some fashion so that we can give them a sense of normalcy and show them that it’s going to be okay,” said Matt Carlton, DSQ at NHA. “Offering words of affirmation and encouragement to students from adults besides their parents can help our families see that their school is their partner.”