Early Childhood Teachers in Khorog support parents in home-based learning during lockdown
The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to school closures across Tajikistan, but Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers at AKES in Khorog are not giving up.
Instead, they are working tirelessly to connect with their students while they are at home, and to support parents to continue children’s learning.
Parents of ECD students emphasized that teachers are trying to maintain their children's former routines, which is especially important for toddlers who cannot fully understand the new circumstances.
“I am just thinking about what teachers are going through right now – it is intense, and to have to make that switch so quickly is quite something,” shared Asparmo, mother of six-year-old student Davlatmoh. “I am doing my best to keep the same way of learning for my child, [although] I am sure it [does not] compare to what teachers at ECD are contributing to our children’s education.”
For ECD teachers, the first step was to take their lessons online while supporting and coaching the parents, who must oversee activities and lessons at home. Secondly, they had to decide which methods of learning and technology would allow them to best connect with their students. Finally, they developed ways to successfully deliver the material through child-friendly activities so the students could learn while having fun.
“It is important to be in contact [with parents], and to have a closed loop, because we are all in this together. And it is great that parents are now sharing their feedback and concerns, and that teachers are finding solutions for these concerns.” said Farangis Mardonova, AKES ECD Coordinator
Parents share common concerns - not all families have equal means, and the preferences, habits, interests, and abilities of their children vary. As a result, some parents have found it difficult to provide all necessary resources and keep their children engaged in online learning.
“The [main] disadvantage of online learning is the lack of the warmth and comfort of a face-to-face interaction,” explained Zarina, the mother of a six-year-old ECD student. “Learning in a physical classroom is [more] interesting, and the interaction of our kids with their peers and teachers is what we are missing a lot during this [time of] online learning.”
Thankfully, many parents said that the parent-teacher conferences held just before lockdown have made it easier for them to understand the approaches and methodology ECD teachers use to educate the children. Parents are now applying these techniques during their home-based learning.
Latifa, an ECD teacher for students aged four and five, commented that while children may not receive the same instruction or progress in the same way during this time of remote learning, “we are all doing our best.”
By Zarangez Pironova and Gazalla Hirji