Toronto schools, parents and teachers are embracing new and creative ways for children to learn at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With Phase 2 of learning at home, we’re laying out a new set of expectations that parents and students can count on, ” Ontario premier Doug Ford said during a press conference on Tuesday.
While the governments’ education plan seems clear, the plan for parents at home with their children and the plan for finding alternative childcare is unclear.
“I’m more concerned that we get outside and they help to contribute to the household by cleaning,” teacher Erica Nitsis says, describing her daily routine with her children. “I’m not as concerned making sure they are doing scheduled school work for hours a day.”
Nitsis believes parents should spend more time with their kids while home and learn through creative activities such as arts and crafts. She also believes children learn better in short sessions with fun activities.
Nitsis uses the school closures as a time to spend with her family that she would not normally have due to her work. Her two children both elementary school age are taught life skills while at home as well.
Skills such as cooking and doing basic chores are taught to both of Nitsis’s children, but in a fun and engaging way. This is also balanced out with movies and video games once the work is done.
While the approach is a creative way for parents to spend time at home with their children, this is not always possible for some families. This due to various factors, such as parents working from home or working as an essential service.
Sectors of the Ontario workforce deemed an essential service includes healthcare workers and city services. Parents who work in these sectors are often away from home.
Playgrounds and recreation centres in Toronto have also closed, which severely limits outdoor activities for children. However, parents can still take children on outdoor walks around the local area of Toronto.
With schools being closed, teachers have also moved to use online programs such as Google Classroom. Teachers can directly communicate with pzarents and post course and educational material for students and parents.