Virtual Preschool Converts the Tech FEARful into Believers

Image of Rossana Milli
Rossana Milli
Abby is a respected teacher at English for Fun. She calms children, parents and teachers alike. She gives great advise about adapting to our new reality of homeschooling and virtual classrooms.

"Kids are proving to be the best leaders to follow right now!" 



Homeschooling for Fun - SURPRISE!

Ever since the breaking news of COVID-19 and the required shut down of our schools in Spain, many of us are plunged into a world of uncertainty. We are not sure how to continue with our daily lives amidst all the chaos. Households have been forced to lock up kids at home. Teachers are faced with empty classes and educational pathways seem to be blocked.

The good news is that human beings are experts in adapting to new circumstances. The teachers at English for Fun have spent countless hours developing content and building the best program for the times that we all are facing. The early morning online class links and the homeschooling guide, sent to all the parents was from the heart of English for Fun. Lessons are designed so that children can still have classes and our support without disruption. There are activities such as games, dancing, experiments and singing. Everything is done to provide stability, comfort and stimulation for children. There are learning experiences similar to what the children will do in a physical classroom.

English for Fun teacher, Abigail Williams, or as we like to call her, Ms. Rogers Neighborhood, Abby can calm anyone with her presence

Teacher Abby's T.I.P.S. for Parents!

  1. Coronavirus is here to teach us to slow down and do what matters (PARENT)
  2. Homeschooling for Fun habits take training. That means giving up yourself and your career for JUST a minute. But once your kids are OK, the rest will fall into place
  3. Don't forget KIDS are in this crisis too


Why Virtual Preschool?

We have no choice right now. Kids need school and they need their parents to rise to this challenge while juggling so many things. But I believe that after getting through the FEAR, parents will be empowered. You can do this! You will be amazing homeschool teachers and kids will be even happier after Coronavirus is through.

The fundamentals of early learning ARE present in Virtual Preschool!Our morning Zoom meeting gathers the community and children get to see their favorite faces.

  • We use literature and games to deal with uncomfortable feelings and to help children give them a name (emotional control)
  • Parents have guidance from people that they trust, seeing our "safe" faces helps mom and dad start the day off with inspiration (care)
  • A happy wakeup call, from a teacher can give EVERYONE stability and inspiration to keep going in times of uncertainty 
  • The children have to practice turn-taking with the Zoom "magical" microphone switches (Executive Function)
  • Celebrations, such as birthdays and milestones, are like a big virtual house party (self-esteem)
  • Our best FRIENDS are in the virtual classes and children get excited to see familiar faces (building relationships)
  • Teachers need comfort and that comes from the children who they love (perspective taking)
  • Our TEAM is part of an online community so children don't feel loss or abandonment. We are all there to provide kids with dialogue, comfort, stability and guidance (trust and support)
  • Our community continues to grow closer as we are overcoming obstacles for children. Surviving a tragic event brings people closer (brick-by-brick)
  • Routines are established and present, daily, Monday-Friday (even during that LONG Spring BREAK):
    • 9:00-9:30 Community Meeting (just like our regular school day)  
    • 10:00-11:00 Classroom Time, children grouped by age
    • 12:00-12:30 Yoga for Fun (Family Class)
      • Lunch, Nap and Rest time at home
    • 15:00-16:00 S.T.E.A.M.M. Class (Science Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Music)
  • Children are made of 100. Now, more than ever, they need the opportunity to express these languages and feelings with trusted experts who will give families guidance

I Did It, YOU Can Too!

The transition from one way of teaching to another, although digital work wasn't new for our multi-generational staff, it took a few days for us all to get used to a Virtual Preschool. We had to slowly build confidence in our online abilities-especially from those skeptical people who avoid computers! But the transition has been easier than we ALL thought it would be. Getting the parents on board was the hardest because adult's FEAR learning new things, and especially in the middle of a crisis. Now, it's accepted by everyone that children get to eat breakfast while they sing with us in class. And whether we learn in our pjs, or dressed up like a princess, we are still learning together and it is FUN! Our current reality is still making magical memories for children and families in English. The FUN mornings are what kids will remember from all of this more than anything else.

I am proud of our flexibility as a community. We are always willing try new things! Embracing our new normal has also lead us to learning experiences that have been exciting. I look forward to Monday mornings and seeing all of those happy faces on one screen and I love our Friday mornings and DJ surprises at 9:00am. Watching everyone in action solidifies our deep love for our community, no matter where we are physically. This proves that English for Fun is about our values and our respect for children.The world of technology is still not highly embraced in early childhood education, and there may be doubts as to whether this kind of method will work in the long-term. But we are proving that in a worldwide crisis, we can make the unideal situation a reality, and that kids will still learn with love and care.

Know that this has been a challenge for me as a teacher too. All of a sudden I find myself recorded on Zoom and there are a lot of adults watching me teach. I am jumping up and down in front of a camera with little ones staring, but their eyes are still filled with wonder and amazement. I am NOW convinced that Virtual Preschool, online works when you learn with us. 

An English for Fun mom and her daughter proudly wear their uniforms to virtual preschool to see their friends.

S.T.E.A.M.M. Classes and even Virtual Camp is, without a doubt, the best way to keep children "normal" right now. They are learning and having FUN while dealing with something that is beyond our control.

KEY: Life Lessons Come From KIDS

In this CRISIS, you have permission to be VULNERABLE leaders at home because its time to learn from our children. If we watch them carefully during this time, they will beat COVID-19 and teach us about:

  • Resilience
  • Wonder
  • Curiosity
  • Strength
  • Creativity
  • Hope
  • How to have FUN

GRATITUDE is Needed in ALL Communities

As an educator, my biggest concern is the way some parents, all over the world, have reacted towards this forced approach to learning (YES, I read the rants on social media and in blogs and the memes-my favorite ones are those that talk about how much parents appreciate teachers now). I think this is a moment of reflection for adults everywhere. We are raising Generation Z and Generation Alpha. They have to solve real world problems with a world in need of reconstruction. They need to be agile, flexible, community-spirited and they need to have Emotional Intelligence. It breaks my heart when I see more teachers than children in our early morning meeting. It is hard for me to wake up in the morning too! But seeing our children, and their lovely parents, gets me through the day. I'm not from Spain originally so English for Fun has become my family. I need to see kids daily because they give me HOPE.

We are the first preschool, worldwide, that has given families an immediate solution with Homeschooling for Fun. Olivia, our English for Fun super FAN, gives you a link to download our English for Fun, Homeschool for Fun GuideIt is such a valuable resource that is taken for granted. When our children miss out on the wonderful early morning FUN or on family yoga, it is disappointing for us all (kids and adults). The recommendations that we give, as experts in our field, are quite effective and rewarding when followed. We are raising children here and it's a marathon and not a sprint. The prize at the end of the race is a well-adjusted and highly-functioning adult. That future adult has to have a brain that is build right. Brains are built during difficult times, EVEN MORE than during the easy and happy moments.

Remember, routines are important for everyone. Predictable routines make us feel safe. Waking up every morning and getting kids prepared for the early morning class, even if it means coming to the screen with a bowl of cereal in their hands, encourages teachers to move forward with plans. This is especially important in a delicate period of life (the first 6 years are crucial for the growing human). The early learning stage is the most vulnerable stage in human life.

We don't know how long these turbulent and insecure times will last. But the online program at English for Fun is the BEST solution. Homeschooling for Fun is already in full swing and it has found a place in many hearts.

REMEMBER, Kids give us motivation and strength so the power of showing up for them is important. We know that it's HARD. But when you show up every morning, it's your way of holding our hands, along with your child's. Together we are ready and willing to face anything, and that goes even beyond COVID-19.

Stay safe, Stay present, and Stay positive!