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Switch

Yesterday, I read a story about an experiment with an evening online kindergarten class at a New Jersey elementary school.

Educators noticed a high number of absences in the daytime online classroom. They surmised that the challenges faced by working parents, coping with job and other changes brought about by the pandemic, made it difficult for some children to attend online learning during the day. When they did attend, they were frequently distracted.

So, the educators offered an option: a 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. class. Eleven students signed up.

The results have been excellent, according to the educators and the parents. Attendance improved, as did student engagement in the lessons. In some cases, the parents have been able to shadow their children, supporting them during the lessons and reinforcing the information. That would not have been possible in a daytime class.

This switch to nighttime education is not a solution that will work for everybody. But it has been successful in this case. Perhaps it could be a positive option elsewhere.

There will come a day when the pandemic won’t be a part of our lives anymore. We’ll go back to living without having to take the extra steps that keep us safe right now. When that day comes, it will be worth celebrating – a return to “normal.”

At the same time, it’s unlikely that we’ll think of things in exactly the same way as we did before. There will have been a shift in how we perceive the world around us, our options and expectations. A shift in how we define “normal.”

It will be interesting to see which of the experiments, which of the ideas and innovations created during these challenging days, will leave a lasting influence.

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