For kid lovers, teaching kindergarten is pure joy! Yet, it can be quite challenging. Throw online teaching into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a whole new ballgame.
Besides grappling with all of the tech stuff (which can be a bit too much for some non-techie teachers), getting 5-year olds to pay attention in a virtual class can take some getting used to.
But it’s not as scary as it sounds, though. You will soon learn and adapt to this new teaching technique as long as you are willing to give it a shot.
Thankfully, kids tend to be naturally fascinated by technology. For educators involved in teaching kindergarten online, helping young minds to learn better would mean leveraging their natural excitement. This article shares some helpful tips and tricks to do this effectively when getting into distance learning as a kindergarten teacher.
Getting mentally and physically prepared is essential to helping kids learn better. Here are a few preparations that can get you ready for your online kindergarten class.
Create a Dedicated Space for Teaching
Switching from home to teaching mode is a lot easier in a traditional class setting than it is when in a distance learning setting. The mere act of entering the classroom and organizing the day’s lesson can help you switch modes as a kindergarten teacher.
That’s not always the case with teaching kindergarten online. It takes a different kind of discipline and routine to get into teaching mode when you are at home.
You have to be deliberate about setting up a dedicated space for virtual teaching. First, choose a space in your home where it is most convenient to teach. It could be a corner of your bedroom, living room, or study.
Next, bring all your favorite and frequently-used teaching tools and objects to your chosen space. Regardless of how big or small your space is, make sure that it puts you in the teaching mood when you step in there.
Join an Online Kinder Teachers’ Forum
Learning from shared experience is one of the many benefits of online communities. Fortunately, there are many groups and forums for educators teaching kindergarten online.
You may be facing your kindergarten class alone, but you are not the only teacher navigating virtual learning. There’s no point trying to find the path alone. It is usually helpful to search for a Facebook group or some other type of online group where you can find all the community support you can get.
Set Up Your Virtual Classroom
Preparing a physical space and getting into the teaching mood is a good first step. Next, you need to set up your online classroom for effective teaching and learning process. Here’s how:
Organize Your Online Classroom
In some cases, schools choose online teaching platforms for all their teachers. If that’s the case, it is best to use the school-specific platform to ensure uniformity. You really don’t want to keep kids and parents switching between messages from the school and your class.
But if you have the chance to choose your preferred online teaching platforms, make sure it has all the key elements as traditional classrooms.
Some of these elements include:
- Student communication tools
- Resource library
- A place to post assignments
- Assignment inbox
Organizing your online classroom makes it easy for kids to access learning tools and the curriculum and also increases your efficiency.
Choose a Video Conferencing App
Kids learn better by visuals, making video conferencing an indispensable teaching tool, especially for kindergarten classes. Besides helping young minds connect better with the teacher and study materials, they feel they belong to a community of peers, similar to a traditional classroom.
If your school allows teachers to choose individual video conferencing apps for online students, consider Zoom or Google Meet. While there are many other great online teaching tools, these two apps are among the top choices for teaching kindergarten online.
On the other hand, if your school chooses a video conferencing app, it is best to stick to it. Some schools may not allow video conferencing with kids. In that case, it is always advisable to stick to your school’s guidelines for delivering classes using an online format.
Manage Your Online Kindergarten Classroom
It is important to effectively manage the online classroom if students must get the best from it. Here are some tips to help you do that:
Maintain Consistent Routines
Kindergartens have expectations, too. As a kindergarten teacher, create routines and stick to them if you want them to learn better. Switching things around ever so often can discourage online learning.
Keep document links, weekly checklists, and other frequently used tools intact. If you must changes, perhaps to make improvements, take it slow and give the kids a heads up.
Engage the Kid’s Based on their Level of Cognitive Development
Always remember that most kids in kindergarten are only 5 years old. They will take the world around them very literally.
For this reason, it is best to tailor instructions to suit their level of cognitive development. Consider the following tips:
- Never assume that kids know how to do anything. Teach them how to do even the most basic things.
- Give short, precise instructions and make sure they understand what is expected of them.
- Give assignments in small chunks, as this will be more manageable for kids learning in an online environment.
- Use positive reinforcements to encourage learning, and remember to be specific when you praise them.
- Take short breaks to allow movement. This will prevent boredom.
- Encourage kids to socialize by allowing interactions during short online breaks.
Manage Virtually Classroom Behaviors
Lastly, it is normal for kids to get distracted during online classes. To expect otherwise is unreasonable.
Having said that, you can minimize distractions or inappropriate behavior during virtual classes by letting kids know how they are expected to behave.
Teaching kindergarten online is not only about following lesson plans and handing out assignments. Take out time to coach kids on how to become responsible online learners in addition to teaching them new skills and behaviors.