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Prajodh Rajan, Co-Founder & Group CEO – EuroKids International: Peer learning the most effective way

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Prajodh Rajan

Education sector is badly affected due to the Corona crisis, how are pre-schools affected?

As COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, most countries announced a temporary closure of schools. This impacted more than 91 per cent of students worldwide – around 1.6 billion children and young people, according to UNICEF. While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt across sectors, one of the most vital areas that was impacted was early childhood education. Early learning helps children to socialize and develop critical life skills that impact their future growth. Given the background, pre-schools, particularly, have explored multiple innovative ways to stay engaged with their students virtually and continue with their learning. At EuroKids, we have ensured that we go beyond the curriculum to keep our students engaged through multiple activities. It is important to note that content for a pre-schooler has to be carefully designed keeping in mind the needs and the attention span of a young child. EuroKids has the distinct advantage of being a pioneer in the category and over 18 years of experience in engaging with children is one of our biggest strengths and as such this deep understanding of young children is reflected in all our new initiatives.

The Education sector has taken up digital platforms for students, have preschools adopted the ed-tech platforms?

Ed-tech has disrupted the whole education sector for quite some time now. But, in the wake of Coronavirus, the disruption is greater than before. This pandemic has taught everybody that if they have to survive, they have to adapt to the new normal. Preschools, too, are following the league. For example, at EuroKids, our curriculum team is sharing structured activities that parents can use to have a daily dose of engagement with the child at home. Each activity is designed to help parents drive the learning of new skills and ensure retention in the child. One of the main advantages of these modules is that it also assists parents in Prajodh Rajan CoFounder & CEO, EuroKids preschool Perspective Connect with us on digitallearningonline @dl_magazine digitalLEARNING digital_learning_elets eletsvideos may 2020 39 out new modules for content delivery, designed to bridge barriers in technology and comply with the new social distancing norms.

Peer-to-peer learning is necessary for toddlers; will online education can provide effective learning?

In a traditional classroom setting, peer learning is a lot more forthright considering there is face-toface interaction. Children mimic other children and adults. However, when it comes to online classes, the same cannot be said. So, it becomes more than important to foster peer learning in online classes, and we are working toward creating such modules so the children do not miss out on this important aspect of classroom learning. Peer learning is an effective way to make learning interesting and teach students to develop an array of useful skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, delegation and the ability to share. Here, educators need to take additional effort to make the kids feel part of a community, while keeping them motivated and engaged.

As parents are worried about the safety of their children, how EuroKids is gearing up for it?

Parents are aware of the importance of social distancing even in a post-Covid-19 era. At EuroKids, we are already in the process of laying out plans that will include tailoring our pre-school operations, logistics of transportation, extracurricular activities, etc. and should be able to develop a process framework that will be beneficial to all our stakeholders – students, teachers, and administrative staff at every school. We are closely following advisories on post COVID school opening scenarios in India and internationally to look at possibilities on how we can improve our safety benchmarks once we are ready to reopen our preschools going forward.

When do you think schools will reopen and will it affect the admission this year?

While scientific research on the psychological impact of a lockdown on children is still underway, the need to reopen our schools to lessen the disruption in learning for young children is widely established. Pre-schools offer a great opportunity for children to achieve milestones in their overall development, build social skills and learn valuable life lessons such as how to share, take turns, and inculcating values.

It is therefore critical that children go back to school, however, only when they’re completely safe. Slowly opening schools in a controlled way will be of low risk to children’s health and less risk to teachers. Schools can follow the guidelines issued by the health authorities and increase adoption of measures such as a strict hand hygiene routine for students, no entry of parents into school buildings, outdoor classes and a physical distance of at least one meter between two desks. We expect the government to make the decision as to the right time to re-open schools. We are also cognizant of any concerns that parents may have about sending their children back to school. We will only be able to comment few months later on the business impact of Covid-19. We’re closely monitoring the situation and expect to see the results of our combined efforts towards continued learning soon.

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