Tuesday, March 28

Lockdown logbook for kids

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Stuck at home all day under the constant supervision of parents can leave children edgy.

The Telegraph draws up a list of activities that will keep them occupied and make the lockdown more bearable.

Go online: Online courses can keep the young occupied and their parents content that the children are not whiling away their time aimlessly on the internet.

Though several city schools are taking online classes, the students are still left with a lot of free time that can be used to brush up their skills in a particular subject or learn a new language or even a new discipline.

“There are many websites where one can listen to lectures or work on assignments. All this is free, one has to pay a fee only if s/he wants a certificate,” education counsellor Nirmal Agarwal said.

“Such courses offer deeper understanding of a particular subject or an opportunity to explore a subject outside the school curriculum,” Agarwal said.

Online courses allow one to learn at his or her own pace and at a convenient time. All online courses need not be “utilitarian” but can help “engage the mind”.

Teachers, however, warn that students must be guided by parents and teachers.

Research for overseas applications: Many students will be applying to foreign universities in September-October and this time can be utilised to shortlist universities and prepare a statement of purpose.

Many students are also getting in touch with career counsellors/teachers over email and WhatsApp for guidance in which college to choose for which discipline and the scholarships available.

Modern High School for Girls pushes students to write a 2,000-word research essay that is not confined to the syllabus.

“The statement of purpose is not only about academic excellence or the marks they have scored but can also be about community service. Research essays can be included in the statement and it shows how students are pushing boundaries,” Modern High School principal Damayanti Mukherjee said.

Read and read out to the elderly: Every home has books and the teachers’ advice is to pick up one from the shelf and start reading.

“Students are so busy with studies that they often don’t get time to read anything beyond the syllabus. Now, they can choose books that are not meant for exams. Maybe in history, they can pick up books on the freedom movement, renaissance or biographies of philosophers or thinkers or people who have overcome odds. If they read about people who have conquered odds, it will lift their spirits,” said Devi Kar, the director of Modern High.

Some teachers suggest introducing reading schemes to encourage the habit. “They can be asked to read a book and respond to it by writing a review, making a scrap book, or an art installation,” said Sujata Sen, CEO of Future Hope.

Some schools are also sending reading materials to students.

“For middle school students, we have prepared PDF files of short stories that parents can download from the website and read aloud with the children,” said Anjana Saha, the principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy. “We have also sent messages to parents to use audio books,” Saha said.

Another teacher suggested reading aloud to elderly members of the family. “Young children should read out to grandparents who have weak eyesight and cannot

read. They should read out slowly to them, patiently and repeat when they cannot follow or ask them to do,” said Anuradha Das, the director of Garden High International School.

Learn patience: This is the time to learn to be at peace with oneself and the surroundings instead of just looking for “instant gratification”, said Das. Parents should talk to their children and spend time with them.

“Confinement is something they don’t like and they get restless. Their mental state becomes more important than the coronavirus, so this is the time when they can learn to be at peace with themselves and their immediate surroundings. We didn’t anticipate this and it is important to learn to cope with it,” Das said.

Write journals: Students can maintain a daily or weekly record of their activities. Writing it all down will also improve writing skills and create memories.

One could also take photos of some special moments with family members and attach them with notes.

Counsellor’s tips: Psychiatrists say the present situation is a completely “unchartered territory” and is bound to create a “degree of uncertainty and stress”.

Psychiatrist Jai Ranjan Ram said there are ways to spend time with family and do things that people do not get time to do.

“Parents can learn computer games from their children, take out a family album and try and locate people in those albums,” said Ram.

Video calls to relatives could also be a way to socialise.


Source: The Telegraph

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