COVID Sees Parents Bet On Beyond Curriculum Learning For Their Kids

Parents are actively looking for platforms that can promote peer learning and are focused on developing essential skillsets like collaboration, creativity and leadership.

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A survey by HP New Asian Learning Experience highlight that Indian parents especially millennial parents in India find the mix of digital and experiential learning best for making their kids future-ready. The survey showed that close to 60% of parents believed digital learning was more effective in fuelling creative thinking and also exposes children to new ideas. The survey is a reflection of the evolving mindsets of Indian parents around learning and their willingness to invest in programs that nurture their kids’ creative genius. The Pandemic and the lockdown, in particular, has had a major effect on kids. With limited / no interaction with the outside world, their personality has taken a toll. Parents are actively looking for platforms that can promote peer learning and are focused on developing essential skillsets like collaboration, creativity and leadership. They want their kids to be more engaged, less stressed and most importantly have fun while learning with peers.

Take the case of Mrs Anitha, the mother of the 13-year-old Dhanush Iyer. Anitha believes communication, curiosity, or building emotional skills cannot be learnt straight out of a book. So Anitha chose to register her son, Dhanush on a live online skill development platform, where kids are exposed to innovative role-based programs online like Detective, Entrepreneurship, You-Tuber, Game-Designer etc. Dhanush signed up for the detective program and developed life-skills such as observation, inquiry, and critical thinking skills. Anitha was also astonished to see Dhanush take up unique roles like cryptologist as part of the detective program. According to Anitha, her son, who wasn’t engaged enough in his online school classes all these months, showed more enthusiasm to learn during these play-based sessions. He has made new friends in the class and finds it exciting to learn together in a fun-filled way.

Role-play is one of the children’s natural ways of learning. It allows them to make meaning of the world around them through their imagination and stories. Unfortunately, playful learning has been replaced with instructions, guided practice, and drills inside the classrooms. Toys have been traded for workbooks, and play-based activities have been sidelined as expendable diversions. With COVID, the opportunity for kids to play, explore, and interact with peers has become even more limited and there hasn’t been real learning from conventional online school education for many. In fact, for several kids across India, online schooling has become a drudgery.

Dhanush’s mom Anitha realised via role-based learning, her son was exposed to far more interesting concepts than what is being taught in school. Anitha found beyond curriculum programs more effective for the overall development of a child as they are not bound by exams and marks but evaluated on basis of the skills acquired. These programs help children develop important higher-order skills such as problem-solving, self-expression, critical thinking, communication, and creativity. Kids develop empathy by putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and gain a new perspective and appreciation for the role they are playing.

Like Anitha, many new-age parents in India, believe that students must be encouraged to pursue their inherent interests by doing various projects with friends. They should have an opportunity to dabble in different domains and understand how the real world demands the integration of knowledge from various fields. Now more than ever, children need room and freedom to play freely to help build their intellect and future-ready skills. In the 21st century, Play is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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COVID parents Learning Beyond Curriculum

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