Kangaroo Kids Education Limited was started 27 years ago with the goal of making learning meaningful through theme-based, experiential, neuroscience led learning tailored to different learning styles of children. It is one of the 1st preschools in the country to put the ‘learner’ in focus and to design a balanced curriculum aligned to enhancing the learning outcomes of the child by ensuring holistic mind and body development. As a group we always had our foresight on technology, as being an enabler that will play an important role in enhancing the learning process & personalizing learning in the years to come. Our leadership teams have always been focused on strengthening ‘technological resources’ much before virtual learning became a necessity – we started developing Skippytech – app for preschoolers and Billabox – learning management system for Billabongers two years back with the goal to facilitate learning through technology. The app and learning system is a digital extension of the curriculum and have proved immensely useful to children & parents during this time of national lockdown – ensuring learning is not locked down. When schools & preschools were forced to shut down due to the pandemic, the leadership teams and IT teams kick-started work on putting together a holistic Virtual Schooling Program within two weeks to continue the learning adventure! In fact we were one of the few preschools to introduce virtual interactive classes
The Virtual Schooling Program by Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd. covers not just schools but also preschools where a dedicated Virtual Preschooling Program has been rolled out across the preschool network in India & overseas. Why virtual preschooling you may ask. Is it relevant to young toddlers? What about screen time? Early childhood education is an essential part in building the foundation for the future learning and development of a child. The pandemic situation we are in today is not well understood by adults, let alone little children who don’t understand why they are suddenly being asked to stay indoors 24/7 and not able to meet their loved ones, friends and teachers. Social distancing for adults vs social distancing for children are 2 different things, where adults understand the gravity of the epidemic our children don’t and hence its imperative to not change their environment completely. We wanted our children to feel safe and ‘normal’ despite not being able to do their regular/favourite things. This strengthened the group’s resolve to build a strong Virtual Schooling Program that positively engages and motivates children to stay happy, active, and to ensure their learning continues, while at home. There were doubts and questions from parents which gradually transformed to smiling faces and overwhelming positive feedback on a daily basis from the entire network of partners and parents!
Key measures undertaken by the group, to ensure a great start to the academic year post lockdown have been:
- Thorough teacher training: All teachers are regularly undergoing trainings, webinars on skill up-gradation and demo lessons on educating virtually. It is notable to mention that teachers have been putting sincere efforts and working double time/overtime, with limited resources, to make learning meaningful from their homes
- Lesson plans & structures: The in-house team of curriculum designers brainstormed & adapted the lesson plans to suit virtual schooling. Apart from academics, the focus has been on building conscious, mindful children even through distance learning – the team has built a COVID Journal for children from preschool to grade 8. The objective of the journal is to create awareness amongst children about the situation we are in and all the precautions that need to be taken. This has helped children in accepting the current status & developing a positive, growth mindset around it.
- Worksheets, revision classes: There has been a conscious effort towards digital adaptation of worksheets and a slow and steady increase in ‘revision of concepts’ to ensure subjects taught virtually are being understood by children.
- Inclusion of yoga, physical education & music: The objective is to go beyond academics and offer children holistic education where their engage their minds, bodies and spend time on creative initiatives such as art, craft, music etc
- Inclusion of ‘special days’ and celebrations: The virtual schooling program also includes the celebration of special days – e.g. days around cultures and languages of the world; around literature and science – these days invite children to be creative (through costumes, creation of artifacts & some even encourage the co-participation of parents) making it fun and engaging for children and parents. All while at home!
- Counselling assistance for children, teachers & parents: With a close eye on mental wellbeing and mental health, the school teams have ensured counsellors are available on call to children and parents whenever required. We were also aware that parents out there were worried at large so we decided to address their concerns by organising webinars and live sessions by our experts.
The virtual schooling program has been received with huge success across the network. An internal parent survey conducted showed an encouraging 73% parents sharing that they are satisfied with the program (sample base 1000+). Some of the key reasons for the parent support being that learning for the children has not come to a stop and that program does not just cover academics but sports, arts, language and so much more! Our young toddlers at Kangaroo Kids Almeida take sessions on Spanish and coding. While children from other Kangaroo Kids preschools are learning music, dance yoga, and more. Children from high school have been introduced to yoga, meditation, PE, Arts, and more.
43% of the parents shared their full support towards the partial continuation of virtual preschooling even after regular school starts. KKEL has leveraged technology to aid in continuing learning for our children. Technology has also helped several parents who are seeking admissions; connect with the school teams across the country. There is increasing positive word around the group’s virtual schooling program with an increased interest from parents to enroll toddlers and older children for the new academic year. Admission counselling for Kangaroo Kids International Preschool & Billabong High International School is also being actively done virtually through zoom sessions with interested parents. Additional virtual interactions between parents and school principals or centre heads are being set up, for parents who wish to understand the school teaching methodology better. Due to the encouraging response received, the entire admissions process has been taken online. The objective is to ensure no parent is distressed about their child missing out on schooling or preschooling due to the lockdown. Timely assistance and counselling is being offered as many enquiring parents possible, to make the transition to schooling for their child, a lot smoother.
KKEL has always been known for its pioneering ways. From pioneering education back in 1993, to pioneering virtual schooling now in 2020. Despite an uncertain future that awaits us, the group believes that learning will never be locked down for children and continues its endeavour to deliver high quality, engaging learning experiences for children even during the lockdown.