I don't think anyone is going to forget March 2020 in a long time. Especially parents of small children. Especially children who love the outdoors. And to my knowledge a child develops a love for the outdoors from two sources primarily - parents and the school. My toddler has been lucky to have discovered the joy of outdoors, from both these sets. While we as parents have done it through encouraging free play, lots of running around outside the home, visits to forests, parks, reserves and so on, her school has enhanced that by giving her opportunities to play and learn in their lovely, green and open space. She came home with paint and mud on her hands and feet, and it was the best thing to listen her chatter about her day.
The COVID19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown almost overnight restricted families to their homes, to keep them safe hit us all like an invisible tornado. Adults struggled to find ways to deal with it. But I realized in these past few months that in all such seemingly difficult situations our children have emerged as far more adaptable and resilient than us. Due to the sudden lockdown my worry was two fold - one about explaining the situation to my children who are both too small to understand what was happening and two, find ways to keep them engaged as well as mentally stimulated. Of course like all parents I looked around for online resources and websites, which would age-appropriate. I also tried to figure out things that I wanted them to do every day to give some routine but also things that would change each day. Not an easy job with children who belong to different age groups. Again there were two( yes, that seems to be the recurring thing in my entire experience!) things that helped me do this reasonably well - having some kind of structure at my end and receiving inputs as well as support on how to keep the children engaged, from my toddler's playschool - TGP.
So while the structure I had gave the children some form of consistency and focus, the activities and especially the videos that the teachers shared each week made the children explore their creative side as well as find new ways to express their ideas. The weekly schedule with ideas and videos of the teachers on how we could carry out activities for the little children each day of the week, was a big source of joy because my little girl was thrilled to see her teachers even via videos on the phone and the sense of familiarity helped her cope better with this sudden change of not being able to go out or spend time with her friends.
This time will pass. But what the children and I as a parent will remember this as a time of great transition, but with a lot of gratitude. And one that was supported by those who cared for for the children who might be impacted by this huge change - the teachers and the school staff.
Written by Simran Oberoi Multani