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Why is Learning Important for Children during the Pandemic

A learning curve is essential to growth. Especially for children during the times of COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes crucial to understand the importance of human values like compassion, empathy, patience, optimism, among others. Young minds brimming with energy and enthusiasm can find these times particularly harsh while confining themselves to their homes without playing, socialising and interacting with the outside world. And because young minds are still developing and continue to do so till 18 years of age, it becomes vital for us to ensure children’s vigour is appropriately channelised in learning things that are exciting and meaningful for them.

Learning never exhausts the mind. eLearning Applications like Microsoft Teams – the tools of remote learning are effective tools that could help young children emerge from this crisis and focus on their holistic growth to be better equipped to manage the idiosyncrasies of the real world. Because learning is a continuous process that aids in the integrated development of children, it has now become imperative for educators to re-conceptualise digital technologies to blend into the contemporary child’s technology driven world. While there are still numerous debates on the efficacy of online education, concepts of critical thinking, adaptability, and academics have been re-modelled as simplified videos to contribute to the learning ecologies of children by educational institutions.

The new norm of online learning has proved to have its own set of advantages for children. Apart from the freedom of continuing with their academics at the convenience of their home, this time offers an unabridged development opportunity by interacting with parents and understanding how to adapt to the crisis situations. eLearning apps are advantageous for on-demand access which can help a child learn at their time availability. The student-teacher interactions happen seamlessly with the assignments and daily tasks, periodical evaluation and private classes that are shared virtually. Also, virtual team building activities have been made mandatory in the form of clubs, quizzes and competitions to keep the team spirit high amongst children.

Though it is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has utterly disrupted education systems across the globe, there is evidence suggesting that learning online can be more effective in numerous ways for students who have the right tools. A research showed that students retain 25-60% more material when learning online as compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. The focus and engagement in virtual classes have also rose 2x as compared to conventional class rooms. Also, children’s learning abilities have been noticed to have improved. This may be due to the fact that virtual classes facilitate students to learn at their convenient time and at their own pace, by re-reading and navigating through concepts as they please.

Brain development is particularly said to be rapid between the ages of 0-5 as this is the time that children learn at a faster pace than the rest of their lives. Postponing the process of learning during this period can lead to lifelong consequences in terms of learning abilities. Certain skills such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, communication skills, language acquisition, colour and pattern identification are to be imparted without fail at this age. At the end of the day education is not about learning the facts, it is the training and stimulating the mind to think and explore.

Online learning is essential for pre-primary school children to maintain a daily routine for learning, taking part in team activities and discovering the world around them. Also, the enhanced caregiving and guidance form parents and elder siblings renders learning gains that can actually be quicker at home than in class. Absence of learning induces laziness among children apart from hindering their social development as compared to their peers. Also, being confined to home 24/7 without activity pushes them to get addicted to games and smart phones. On the contrary, continuous learning results in more wisdom and knowledge in children.