According to a UNESCO study, over 800 million students have been impacted by the virus due to lockdowns, distance learning, and reduced schooling schedules. Many students are experiencing learning and social setbacks without having their typical school routine to follow as well as one-on-one support from their teachers. Researchers, and parents, fear that this disruption will worsen pre-existing disparities in cognitive development and literacy — especially with school-aged children.
This fluctuating school schedule has also taken a huge toll on parents who have to balance household duties and work-from-home tasks alongside managing their children's distance learning schedules. Across Canada, families are struggling with a lack of childcare supports, having access to technology and wifi, as well as stress and burnout. But, this has also helped some families reconnect with one another and strengthen their work-life balance since they aren't inhibited by a strict 9 to 5 schedule any more.
Fortunately, a few of our staff members at FESA are parents who have dealt with this situation throughout the pandemic and have offered their insights on what learning looks like for Canadians right now.
"In many ways distance learning is good, but unexpected things can happen suddenly. Most of the challenges I face are related with technology and platform issues that are hard to understand. My son had faced some difficulties in communicating with teachers while going online. However, I believe It is the learning process and take time to get acquainted." — Shradha, Education Manager
"One of the most unexpected challenge we face is trying focus on Google Meets and not being distracted by little brother, toys, food, and other comforts of home. We have had to find fidget toys for busy hands and head outside to burn off some energy in between classes. It can be a challenge as a mom to find independent, engaging, age appropriate activities for my youngest to keep him occupied while his sister has class and I work, so he is not on his iPad all day — which happens." — Teal, GD/Senior Project Manager
3 Free Resources to Help with Distance Learning:
CPL's "Library at Home" offers families with resources to help keep their children engaged and busy with age appropriate literacy activities, like online stories, activities, and programming. There are also supports for small businesses, mental health, and job skills.
Reading Rockets offers reading guides and supports for parents who helping their kids overcome literacy hurdles. You can find anything from recommended booklists and vlogs to guides on how to pinpoint reading difficulties and how to approach your child's school about their learning challenges.
This free resource provides parents and teachers with worksheets, activities, and games to help school-aged children strengthen their comprehension and writing skills. EReading Worksheets can help students write essays, learn proper sentence structure, as well as grammar and punctuation.
3 Ways to Take a Break
It's important to take breaks and get outside (and away from your computer) as much as possible. Whether it's 10 minutes or an hour, you will feel immeasurably better after moving your body.
Crosswords, sudoku, and other brain teasers/puzzles will enable you to take a fun break while utilizing your logic, problem solving, literacy, and numerical skills. Websites —like puzzles.ca — offer free printable and online brain teasers that you can do during your breaks to keep your mind active and engaged.
Now that we have such beautiful weather, it's easier to go outside for a quick walk around the block or visit one of Calgary's local parks. Calgary has over 1,000 km of walking and biking pathways as well as 96 km of hiking pathways. Whether you want to go for a short stroll or an hour-long bike ride, the City of Calgary has numerous online resources to help you plan your route.
YouTube has loads of workout videos that you can access for free. They range from HIIT and cycling workouts to "Just Dance" choreography and family-friendly exercise routines. You can easily find videos like this that the whole family can participate in.