At Wells, we understand the realities of our current world and we are committed to supporting our students’ development and equipping them with the appropriate skills needed for an uncertain future. By supporting them in their academic, personal and social development, we are confident that they can adapt and become resilient and successful learners in the face of adversity and impermanence.
We aim to provide effective delivery and instruction of our academic programs, regardless of whether the mode of instruction is face-to-face or online. However, given the current reality of the Covid-19 pandemic, we strongly believe that we must embrace the “new normal” of distance learning and adapt accordingly, innovating our educational programs as needed to keep up with the changing global landscape and in order to meet the diverse needs of our students. Thus, we are focused on developing the ICT capabilities of our administrators, educators and students. Our hope is that as a community, we can adapt and become resilient global citizens, ready to take on whatever challenges and changes the future brings.
Although we recognize the associated challenges and adaptability needed to adjust to distance learning, there is research that demonstrates that learning online is as effective as traditional learning, and more effective in terms of retention of material (25-60% higher) and learning speed (40-60% less time to learn). If provided with proper structure and a range of instructional and collaboration methods, students are given more flexibility in terms of their learning pace, and the learning experience becomes more personalized and differentiated. Technology can be used as a tool to increase student engagement and motivation to learn from an early age (World Economic Forum, 2020). With the vast amount of resources available, we are confident in our abilities as a community to make distance learning a meaningful and effective learning experience for all of our students.
Wells International School has designed a new and innovative learning program for toddlers and early years students. Our teachers have been listening to the concerns of parents. Early years education is changing globally and schools are being challenged to adapt, likewise. Some families do not find virtual learning feasible as they are working from home. The Wells Wellness Program gives parents and students the flexibility to enjoy fun lessons at their familys’ convenience. In designing this program, teachers experimented with a new format for exposing early years students to some of the words and content they would have observed in a classroom.
Each video has been designed with a specific learning goal in mind. Some videos incorporated basic math skills and vocabulary. Early literacy and motor skills are a part of each lesson. Some videos focused on social emotional learning, identifying and expressing feelings. Movement and story time are included, as well. Each video lesson is supported by a box or “treasure chest” of hands-on learning materials. Families have clear, step by step guides and demonstrations to use as they assist their child at home.
Our teachers have come to understand the unique challenges parents are facing during extended periods of school closure. Alternative approaches to early years education may provide a new experience for students who are unable to attend school. The team who is working on this project have considered all the obstacles for families and hope to provide a new way for them to stay active at home. We all look forward to schools reopening once again, but until then, our teachers are committed to finding new strategies to help our kids learn from home.
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