On Monday I wrote about E's year in Grade 4 and this year I am writing about Q's first year of school in Junior Kindergarten. As I noted on Monday, we had 101 days in the classroom and 86 days online. The experience for a JK student online is much different from a Grade 4 student. These kids are 4 and 5 years old and they are not built for sitting still in front of a screen for the better part of their day. They also don't have the skills to operate a computer/tablet in the same way as an older kid (although you'd be surprised at how proficient they have become). For Q to have any chance of participating in his class, he needed a parent to sit with him, directing him to the task, helping to get on the Zoom calls, using the mute button, getting supplies for the activities, and walking him through the directions. And even when we are sitting with him, it's not 100% successful.
E had an interesting year in terms of teachers. His classroom teacher was with him for the first part of the year, and did do the few weeks of online teaching in January, but when they went back to online learning after Easter she was unable to continue and the class was assigned a long term substitute who is finishing up the year with us. The substitute was phenomenal and all parents commented on her amazing efforts and engagement with the children; to say the least, it was a change from the original teacher.
Q's personality is quite different from E's and is definitely more feisty when it comes to being told what to do, he gets frustrated more easily when things are hard, and he likes to do his own thing. Knowing this is helpful to understand how to help him with school but it has its own challenges. For the most part though he was happy to see his friends and teacher online each day and got a lot out of the fun activities his teacher put together, even though he would of course much preferred to be in the classroom. A few times his teacher has been at the park for the afternoon (coincidentally the students were also at the park at the same time, imagine that!) and I can see a difference in Q's mood and attitude even after playing with his friends for an hour.
He will start French Immersion in the fall for Senior Kindergarten and as I said in Monday's post, I hope there will more opportunities for events and extra-curriculars when school starts, but again we'll just be happy to have them back in the building!