Remote Kindergarten in a Pandemic

I am working remotely, alongside my daughter who is enrolled in a school that is 100 percent remote. Now 4 weeks in, we’re getting used to a routine of live video lessons and independent work via Google Classroom. Every week, she has math, science, art, and music on rotation. And everyday students have morning meeting and story time.

Remote Kindergarten lesson

A remote Kindergarten lesson in action, October 2020.

I work next to her at the dining room table, and try to schedule my live meetings around hers.

The first week was the hardest

After a long summer at home, she felt more isolated seeing her new classmates and not being able to play with them. She started losing some of her enthusiasm for school; something she used to love as a Pre-K student.

Getting better connected

But during the second week, we accidentally logged in to the live lesson early, and by chance a handful of students were already there. They ended up laughing and playing and showing off their pets and favorite toys over video – it was like an unplanned recess.

Later that week, we met some of the families (at a safe distance) while dropping off her school work, and picking up her packet for the new week. The brief meeting helped them become better friends, and my daughter was able to remember all their names better after that.

Now we routinely log in early so the kids can chat, do dinosaur impressions, and all the other typical playground banter.

Clubs

We started extracurricular clubs at the end of September, which was another great outlet. We’re signed up for an extra story time and an outdoor hike club – a special chance to routinely see her friends in person.

The upside

The plus side is I’ve got this inside look into her day and what she’s learning. I can see how dedicated her teachers are to making this work. Their emails are time-stamped at all hours, they share feedback on much of her work, and they’ve added 1:1 weekly meetings to check on everyone’s progress. And during live lessons, they seem to have endless patience. Managing a live video chat of 5 year olds certainly doesn’t look easy.

Now that she’s used the new routine, she is objectively happier. When catching up with extended family, she talks about her friends and what she’s learning. She doesn’t talk about being bored.

She’s so small, she may not realize how unusual this all is. But a recent assignment “My Biggest Goal this Year” was a drawing of her in a classroom surrounded by friends. She’s definitely eager for better times, but at least she’s moving forward. So, thank you to all the creative, dedicated, and endlessly patient teachers helping our kiddos through this time. All of your work is really making a difference.

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