Exactly one month from now, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially implemented the “Circuit Breaker” to fight COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the intensified distancing measures, all primary, secondary, Pre-University and IHL students, including Special Education schools have shifted to full Home-Based Learning starting 8th of April, 2020.
As education is very critical to all the students, all schools are still continuing to provide instructions and support through different online portals such as ZOOM meetings, WebEx and more. Throughout this HBL, the teachers together with all the school personnel continue to work from home to support the students.
Every school has been making extra efforts to make sure that the students still continue to learn at home and at the same time, the teachers are finding ways to aide and support the parents in teaching their children at home while simultaneously juggling with their personal jobs.
The mostly asked question is, “Home-based learning? Is it effective?”
Results will definitely vary. Some may find it effective, some may not. We have been hearing sentiments of parents and most of them are complaining how difficult it is to manage teaching their child and at the same time having online meetings for work. Imagine answering calls from your boss while you are helping your child to answer worksheets. Difficult right? If some parents are already having a tough time with their typically-developing kids, what more for kids with special needs?
This is why for Bridging the Gap, we make sure that all activities prepared for the our kids are feasible and achievable.
What exactly is Bridging the Gap doing?
- Pre-made worksheets, activities & arts and crafts
Even before the circuit breaker was implemented, we already provided each of our students with home-kits which consist of hard copies of worksheets and activities that are to be done at home. All worksheets are carefully aligned with their abilities so that the parents can guide their children efficiently. Materials for arts & crafts are also provided in case some are not available at home.
- Weekly ZOOM Meetings
The home-kit given to the parents also includes a letter which provides the date, time, meeting ID and password for the ZOOM online meetings. We made sure that each student, together with the parents, have designated schedule for one-to-one meeting with the teachers and our clinical director, Ms. Janice Tay. During the each meeting, instructions were carefully explained for each worksheet and activity. Aside from that, behaviours of the children are also discussed. This is to identify unwanted and alarming behaviours that need to be addressed.
- Videos of lessons and audio books
School environment is very different from home. This is why we tried to bring our live lessons in school to our children’s home by recording a video on how the teachers conduct their classes in school. We recorded the video in a way that the children can still participate and interact even if the teacher is not around. On top of that, we provided everyone with audio books of classic children stories that they can listen to and read at home. (their favourite is “Three Little Pigs”)
- Videos of Occupational Therapy Exercises & Online OT Session
Let’s admit it. Being stuck at home and not being able to go outside to play would really affect children with or without special needs. This is because they are not given enough sensory input which causes the children to feel uneasy and stressed. Some children have been demonstrating some unwanted ways to regulate themselves such at flapping, spinning or stimming. At times, these children throw tantrums which can add stress not only to themselves but also to the people around them. This is why we also provided parents some videos of exercises that they can do to give more sensory input needed by the children. Some of the exercises are Brain Gym, proprioceptive activities, deep-pressure exercises and fine motor activities.
If you want to see the OT videos and exercises, you can find it on our YouTube channel. Just click the provided links below:
- Episode 1 Ball and Bat Activity: https://youtu.be/hiuLjMwnJe4
- Episode 2 Kinaesthetic Learning: https://youtu.be/3qmKjEcaTbQ
- Episode 3 Beanbag Throw: https://youtu.be/vgT0gWl239s
- Episode 4 Tug of War: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDkIdM1s8cg
- Episode 5 Sausage Roll: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPO-Q-9pcSE&feature=youtu.be
- Episode 6 Lazy 8 Exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-3ir1ctOtw
These are just some ways we offer our children. Furthermore, we also offer free online Occupational Therapy sessions with our therapist and one-to-one consultation with our clinical director through ZOOM online meetings. We ensure to provide our students and the parents with all the needed support for the customised curriculum and maintain regular contact.