It is the talk of the town – home-based learning has been rolled out in Singapore for primary & secondary schools, junior colleges and Millenia Institutes as part of the heightened measures. It was noted that this measure is meant to bring down the level of activity outside home as much as possible as there is an increase in the number of community cases recently.
Being said that, there were different parents’ views which were brought up as are there many factors to consider for home-based learning. Questions like, “What if I have 2 children?” or “what if my child isn’t independent?” while some parents don’t really allow screen time for their kids. However, these are just some of it. How about the parents with special needs? How are they going to help with their sensory issues, their mode of learning and usual routine? It’s a lot more than that!
At the time being, preschools and early intervention centres like Bridging the Gap, are still allowed to operate its classes and give intervention to our children with special needs. However, we make sure that we also diligently follow the heightened measures of the government. The ratio of teacher to student in a classroom is 1:1 or at most 2:1. We have assigned timings for all our students so there won’t be any close interaction with others. Most of all, we sanitise our centre every after session.
More than all these cleaning, we also prepare our children in this very crucial situation. Everything is in its fluid state which means anything can change in a snap. Therefore, both our students and teacher are preparing themselves in case there is sudden announcement on having circuit breaker (which we hope not).
Considering that our children are special needs, the parents would be needing more support from our end once they support their children at home. Below are the things we do as preparation:
- Use of interactive online educational activities
We have prepared helpful online activities that the parents can easily access at home. This will let the children be engaged while learning the lesson. These activities also stimulates our children’s senses as these are visually appealing and these come with sounds that make it more interesting.
- Videos of occupational activities for our children’s sensory issues
One of the most important thing to consider is our children’s sensory issues. We also prepared videos of occupational exercises that will help them regulate their bodies at home.
- Zoom meeting lesson practice
We have been doing practicing our zoom meeting circle time just to make sure that our children would know what to expect once we start home-based learning. This is to make this as part of the routine as changes will be difficult on their part.
- Printed handouts and worksheets
Our teacher also prepared worksheets and handouts that they can do at home. But of course, this is with the teachers’ step-by-step guidance through one-to-one zoom meeting with the parents. This is to teach the parents some ways on how to engage them at home.
- Take home art & crafts materials
Arts & crafts will always be part of their daily routine on-site. And so, we want to make sure that they are also able to do hands-on activities such as these to make learning more fun and engaging,
- Visual cues and supports
If necessary, we also give some students some visual cues and supports as they needed structure at home. This is to help the parents to make a new routine at home.
On top of these, our centre, the administration and the teachers are open for calls and zoom meetings anytime to support the parents and the children at home. It is better to be prepared for anything. Most of all, we are after giving what’s best for our children with special needs.