Wilkshire Early Childhood Center adapts to virtual learning

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(Wilkshire Early Childhood Center in Haslett. Photo by Emilie Appleyard

Like most schools over the last year, Wilkshire Early Childhood Center has had periods where all students had to learn remotely. This has proven a difficult task for Amy Frias, principal of Wilkshire Early Education Childhood Center who said that her school has been doing everything possible to adapt to this new way of teaching their young students.

Frias said: “We are trying to think about ways that we can provide corrective feedback to kids because that’s probably one of the most difficult things with early childhood is being able to hear them. Especially because a lot of kids are in different types of environments and kids are a lot of times in daycare centers, which is a lot louder.”

Principal Frias also spoke about some of the different teaching methods her school has adopted, such as having the students write out their answers to show to the camera on their laptops, and also giving “thumbs up or thumbs down” to show understanding. 

Along with this, “movement breaks” are scheduled regularly throughout the school day. 

“We are actually a little bit different than a lot of schools, we provide almost four hours of online instruction. So we have to provide breaks for them, and get them moving around a bit (jumping jacks, standing up, and counting) so they can focus better,” said Frias.

Without the typical in-class human interaction and recess time, teachers try to use these movement breaks as an alternative. The movement breaks allow students to release some of the energy that they have been holding in while focusing on their schoolwork. As a result, this allows them to better concentrate on the material.

With teachers not being able to physically assist students, the school has had to rely on the help of parents to navigate their child through online learning.

“We had to incorporate a lot of visuals, provide a lot of directions for the parents on how to solve problems, and we send home instructions the day before so that they can be prepared ahead of time,” said Frias.

Early childhood education is critical to a student’s growth and development, and the last year of online learning has left many educators and parents concerned that these young students will not reach the typical learning benchmarks. Online learning has proven to be more successful for children with better home environments. Due to this, not every child is able to get the same level of help with their education at home.

Unfortunately, many children do not have desirable environments to take their online classes and are struggling to learn. While all schools are handling this problem slightly different, Wilkshire Early Education Center is regularly having their students take “Acadiance” tests.

These Acadiance tests monitor every student’s progress in reading, allowing the educators to see and work with students who are not yet reaching the desired reading level for their age. To listen to Principal Frias speak on how students have been performing on the Acadiance tests, click this link.