Baby Steps: Creating Cambridge’s Virtual Classroom

Posted on Jul 6 20

A parent begins a lifelong journey from the moment one’s child is born. This journey is filled with many firsts, much of which come in the first few years of a child’s life. However, some of these milestones are met with both excitement and worry. Parents are excited with the idea of a child learning to walk on his own, but at the same time they are worried that their child may fall and hurt himself. Growing is a part of life and whatever hesitation we may have, it is on us to overcome these to enable our child’s growth. Much like a parent bravely letting go of his child’s hand to learn how to walk, Cambridge Philippines chose to push past these reservations and embrace growth.

During challenging times like this, those who are brave enough to pursue growth continue to work hard and do more than just staying afloat. Cambridge Philippines boldly embarked on a new journey with our passion for learning. We knew that despite the global pandemic, education must still remain as an integral part of our children’s daily lives. The onus was on us to plan a proactive strategy that will continue to provide our children the education that they deserve.

Our first few steps into the world of alternative learning were carefully calculated as our decisions were based on the recommendations of DepEd and other government agencies. Last April, we started with an E-Learning Program by sending worksheets to the students that served as a follow up and review of the skills that were already introduced in school the previous months. It was then when we realized that any sort of alternative learning requires team effort between teachers and parents. Our constant communication became even stronger as the teachers tried to reach out to see their students through the eyes of their parents. Trust and good relationship were the keys in building a good foundation to our evolving plan.

By May, Cambridge was walking confidently towards a program that encouraged more interaction between the teacher and the students. We took time to strategize and reinforce the plan for the new program which we called Distance Learning Program (DLP). The school stood up to its philosophy and decided to modify its innovative curriculum and holistic approach to fit the new method of teaching. Rules and guidelines were also established to ensure a conducive learning environment for the students. This modification came with a lot of preparation which include equipping the teachers to help them adjust and adapt. They went through an online-based training to ensure proper facilitation and explored different platforms that they will use for DLP. In maintaining the standards of Cambridge, we also introduced new term topics such as Simple Machines and Chemistry and Daily Life. Though challenging at first, the teachers rose to the occasion by being innovative and resourceful.

The last 2 weeks of May were allotted for the adjustment stage of all parties involved and also served as a trial run to ensure the success of our plans. Distance Learning program consisted of 3 parts that blended well to create a daily routine for the children. It consists of offline learning, online learning and home learning. Offline learning was designed to supplement teaching essential life skills that were consistently practiced in school. This time, we were able to cover more of these skills that came useful when helping with household chores. Cambridge believes that mastering life skills is essential in one’s daily life and can serve as a springboard to more skills that the child can develop physically, socially and cognitively. Daily story-telling videos were also provided to help develop vocabulary, comprehension and listening skills. Online learning on the other hand focused on the interactive part of the class. All the fun and sound of laughter that we missed the most from our classrooms can now be heard again through circle time. Friends were reconnected and the children felt so much joy to see familiar faces again. Hands on learning continued to be the best part of our daily class as we introduced new ISTEAM activities that aimed to master the key concepts of the new term topics through exploration and discovery. Cognitive and fine motor skills were also honed through Home Learning. With guidance and assistance from parents/guardians, the students accomplished daily worksheets from the Learning Packets which were delivered to their homes.

The trial run did well but Cambridge strived harder for excellence and made June-August a more robust version. Getting feedback from the parents gave us the opportunity to take an introspective approach as we continued to develop the program. To encourage more interaction and participation from the students, we limited the class size for each level and prolonged online class time. Additionally, the teachers ensured that skills and concepts were understood and mastered by all students before moving on to the next topic. A new batch of Learning Packets with more worksheets and materials to be used for the online classes were delivered to our students’ homes. Finally, to emulate face-to-face learning, we relaunched our Individualized Instruction approach by initiating a one-on-one virtual meeting with each child. This allows the teacher to closely monitor the skills of each student and adjust their daily tasks accordingly.

Just like a kid, when faced with the challenge of creating an alternative learning program, Cambridge took its first few steps cautiously. Unsure of what lies ahead but determined not step back, we courageously stepped forward until we walked in a faster pace. The journey is not a smooth road but we will keep going to uphold our goal which is to provide quality education for your children. Together with our parent-partners, our baby steps will soon take flight and we will be able to run full speed ahead.

 

 
 

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