As we are all aware by now, Covid-19 has taken its toll on a lot of countries. It remains an ongoing health crisis with no end in sight as of yet. In this article, we will be discussing the major disruption caused in education across South Africa as well as on how to mitigate the negative impact on education caused by the nationwide lockdown.
Many schools across the globe have closed their doors to curb the spread of Corona and teachers urged parents to take over their roles and continue teaching their children.
Children are like sponges and they constantly look for cues on how to relate to the world. If you are highly stressed it is likely that your child too will be stressed. Adjusting to homeschooling can feel overwhelming for both children and the parents alike. Parents are concerned about the loss of education as well as whether or not it will be safe to send their kids back to school when the time comes. Whereas adults are mostly concerned about finances, the educational system and the way forward, children are facing loneliness of not being able to see their friends and if they are used to playing outside and no longer can, they do not understand the reasons behind it which lead to frustration and confusion.
What we do know is that Children require a lot more social interaction than adults do, what we don’t know is how lockdown will impact children but what has become apparent it that schools will certainly have to look at the overall well-being both mentally and physically of children when they are allowed to return to school.
Online teaching is the most obvious way to continue your child’s education, however ‘online’ still presents major obstacles for those who don’t have access to the internet, nor do they have the necessary equipment that’s needed for online education. These factors considered, poses a lot of problems and gaps in the education system in South Africa.
During the release of the latest General Household Survey conducted by Stats SA, the survey indicated that a mere 9.5% of all South Africans have access to the internet at home. Provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape has the highest rates of internet access, whereas in Limpopo 1.6% of people have access to the internet at home. It’s become evident that there’s a huge gap when it comes to internet access and ultimately, online teaching.
If households can’t access online education, what options are available to them? Read on further to explore the various options available to you and what can be expected from the department of education in the months to come.
To understand the full impact, it has on schools and learners alike, we need to understand the core purpose of education itself. Yes, children go to school for a couple of reasons such as to learn social skills and to raise social awareness, however that is not the main purpose of education. The main purpose of education is to equip your child with all the necessary skills and knowledge to prepare them for the world when they have finished their schooling career. It must be noted that estimating the effect of the COVID-19 interruption on education cannot be precisely measured and the magnitude will vary greatly from school to school and province to province.
Parents across South Africa have now taken over the educator’s role to minimize the loss of education. Some learners will have access to online educational platforms but the majority of learners won’t. Not only is this putting extra pressure on the parents to keep the educational ball rolling, so to speak, they now have to balance out teaching duties and attend to work which can prove to be more difficult than one might think. The other reality is that it can be fairly difficult to teach, what you do not understand yourself. Consequently, causing major gaps in education across the country.
The other key factor to consider is that adolescents need time to adjust to new surroundings, routines and situational circumstances because of the vast amount of information they now need to take in. Consider the grade ones for a moment who have just started adapting to the new routine of going to school and then suddenly they are taken out of a controlled environment which they’ve adjusted to, only to find out that they will once again have to acclimate to ‘homeschooling’ routines.
We have searched far and wide at the best activities for children that are entertaining and stimulating as well. These activities aren’t meant to bridge the education gap, but they will most assuredly keep the kiddies busy with solving problems and being creative, giving you some free time to attend to your priorities.
See some of the useful activities below.
1. Build a fort
Whether you are using cardboard or old linen lying around the house, this is a simple yet entertaining activity that will entertain your kids for hours on end.
2. Take the whole family for a walk around the block
Taking the whole family for a morning walk gives everyone some fresh air and much-needed family time before the day starts. Use this time to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
3. Create a treasure hunt
Give your kids the same excitement you had as a child when it was time to find the treasure. Once again, a simple activity for kids aged 3-8 that will keep them occupied during the lockdown. Use simple things such as Easter eggs that can now be bought for cheap at any local shopping store.
4. Play hide and seek
A game we are all too familiar with. It has provided endless amounts of entertainment throughout the years. The art of hiding and seeking has been passed down from generation to generation and has kept kids entertained for ages. Not only does it spark creativity, but it also provides ample amounts of laughter and fun.
5. Baking together
Baking is a great activity that’s filled with educational information such as measuring quantities and ingredients. It also teaches simple things such as time and heat as well as kitchen safety. More importantly, your kiddies get to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour.
6. Take a picnic together
The excitement that comes with a picnic is boundless. Get the kiddies to help you make some snacks for your picnic, grab an old sheet or blanket and enjoy a living room or backyard picnic. Play the memory game of ‘I am having a picnic and I brought…’ Each member gets a turn to add something to the list and tries to remember what each individual brought along with them to the picnic.
7. Train your pets
Whilst everyone is at home, now would be a great time to get the kiddies to take care of the pets to teach them some responsibility. If you’ve got pets, encourage your kids at home to teach the pet a new trick or just better manners. Pets will teach children kindness, compassion and responsibility and they prove to be the best companions.
8. Create a learning space
This won’t keep the kids entertained for long, but is necessary none the less. Get the kids to help you set up their designated school area, which will make learning from home easier and get your kids to focus better when school is in session.
9. Spark their creativity
When it comes to creativity and keeping the kiddies stimulated and entertained for hours on end, nothing beats a good old fashion drawing session. If your kids prefer playing with Legos or other toys that involve building and problem solving, then allow them to build you something which would in turn spark and stimulate their right hemisphere in the brain, which accounts for the creative and artistic side of the human brain.
10. DIY projects
From taking two baked bean tins and making a good old fashioned string telephone to making yourself play-dough. There are hundreds of small projects that they can do for entertainment that’s cheap and readily available. Your next DIY project is just a google search away.
11. Encourage FaceTime with family members
If your little one is missing grandma and grandpa, get them to connect with family members to socialize, even if it’s just over the phone for a quick chat with loved ones.
This resource is completely free and it’s local. It offers a wide range of materials such as online video lessons and practice exams according to the CAPS & IEB curriculum. It covers grade 1 to 9 educational material which is taught by highly experienced teachers in South Africa.
Visit: Worksheet Cloud
This platform is once again online based and local. It features two separate tailored learning experiences which you can choose from. It’s not free but offers subscriptions to their customers. What’s really cool about this platform is that your kids can learn in their home language.
Visit: Hello Tutor
Smart Kids is yet another outstanding online platform that simplifies the homeschooling process. It caters primarily for Grade R’s to grade 7’s. It offers a lot to choose from and it’s free.
Visit: Smart Kids
As every parent knows, a child with a good structure and routine is a pleasure to work with. Now that schools are closed and children are encouraged to continue with home-schooling, some might find it easy to adapt to the new routine and others might find it extremely difficult. Nevertheless, to continue learning, your child will need a solid homeschooling routine. You know your child best, so structure their key learning elements in such a way that your child does not get overwhelmed by the new routine and what’s expected of them. To get an in-depth look at how you can structure your child’s school day visit the keep learning academy online for some much-needed guidance and advice.
At ZwavelStream clinic we never stop caring and helping our community. If you or your child feels extremely overwhelmed by the task of online educating at home and you recognize signs of distress, feel free to contact us.
We have a specialized therapeutic program specially designed for adolescents and the youth where we offer group sessions, individual sessions as well as physical therapy.
Now is also a perfect opportunity to spend some much needed time with your children. Encourage them to keep focusing on the positives and remind them that the situation will improve. Life can become overwhelming with children keen on testing their boundaries and limits both emotionally and physically. And balancing between work, household chores and the full-time role of educator can be hard, so when your emotions become too much to bear take a few moments to compose yourself and try the mindful approach. Before you know it your kiddies will be back to school and you’ll miss the days that you had them all to yourself.