Children are a precious segment of a country’s population as they hold the promise of the future. Schools contribute in building knowledge, skills and attitude making them future-ready. Understandably, educational institutions were the first ones to be shut down as COVID-19 started spreading globally.
In line with the Indian Government’s directive, Prometheus school building closed but learning continued in a virtual environment. The school leadership put together a virtual learning plan that accommodates the nuances that every child faces depending on the age group of the learners, differences in setup at home around infrastructure, network, space, learning needs etc.
Prometheus has the advantage of its association with leading technology players in the industry such as QA InfoTech and Perseverance IT solutions that made the transition from physical to virtual classroom relatively easier and faster. This ensured that there was no loss of even a single day of teaching and learning. Teachers collaborated online and worked tirelessly to put together a learning plan that balanced synchronous, asynchronous and non-screen time sessions with an objective to create opportunities to arouse curiosity, develop thinking, research skills and inquiry-based learning. The elements of creativity, fun, interpersonal connect in class were given importance to ensure sessions were interactive, engaging and effective. This was especially important for little learners with attention spans that are short, characteristic of their age. While this plan was a good start, we continued taking in feedback from parents, students and IT staff for ongoing improvements.
Once learning momentum was established through virtual sessions, we directed our focus on core research elements across schools. This included an online survey sent to educators across the globe through IB educator networks, to understand ideal online class sizes and optimal screen time. The results from this study have been encouraging and will soon be published as an online article summarizing our findings. We also continue to connect with parents through regular communication channels – these include mailers, ongoing updates on our social handles and more importantly, the parent’s sessions that are much needed at this time of crisis. To name a few:- we hosted session by theatre artist Garima on productively engaging children during the lockdown, a workshop by Ms. Aneesha Sahni, our PYP Vice Principal on the same topic, and an insightful and animated webinar by Mr. Akshay Aggarwal, our security expert on cyber phishing and what children need to be wary of, so as to stay safe in the digital world. A session on digital accessibility is also planned for the near future.
Additionally, the lockdown did not bring any change in our events calendar, only moved it to the online space. We virtually celebrated events and milestones such as completion of first 100 days of operation; we did a virtual joining of pre-term students as well as of new teachers, commemorated teacher’s appreciation week – all of these online events and the unconditional support from parents and love from students, continue to give us rejuvenated focus and energy that “learning can truly be re-imagined”, regardless of the constraints and limitations that may be beyond our control.
We plan to complete the rest of the school year online and come next academic year, the school premises will open, keeping in mind the government directives. We, at Prometheus, are fortunate to have a sprawling campus and this being our first year of operation, our students will have ample space and scope to exercise social distancing which will be the need in the coming months too. Hope, perseverance and self-discipline will help us tide through any tough terrain – Let us all count our blessings and wish for a safe exit from the hands of COVID-19, not forgetting some invaluable lessons it has taught us along the way.
The contributor of the article Mr. Mukesh Sharma is Chairman and School Director of The Prometheus School, a new upcoming IB school in Noida that aims to provide PYP, MYP and DP education to all its students, as a way of realising their true potential.