“The kids were having a hard time in this new normal not seeing their friends and not attending their usual activities. Then Spirit of Math comes right back on schedule and on time. You could see the joy in all the classes, they were happy to see their friends and teachers. They were also happy to go back to their Spirit of Math routine, to do their drills, complete their problems and discuss their ideas with their friends. A lot of the parents noticed that as well and they were very appreciative.” This comment came from one of our campus owners, Kaynan Anshur, when providing feedback on his first week of online learning. Kaynan is a passionate educator who cares deeply that his students receive good education. At that time, the biggest impact that he noticed was the psychological benefits. As parents, when we are so focused on ensuring our kids aren’t getting behind, we can forget, or not notice the impact that changes in routine can have on them psychologically.
Kaynan and the parents at his campus aren’t the only ones noticing this. Last night I had a conversation with Marilyn Chalk, who works with the Peterborough Youth Orchestra. She told me a story of how they are using Zoom to do rehearsals. Marilyn also, on her own, noted how the youth have changed from the first week, seeing fear and uncertainty in their eyes, to the second, seeing confidence, excitement and hope. She believes that this is because of the routine and going back to what they knew as the “norm”, being able to conduct life with others in a predictable routine.
Although kids will adapt as needed, I think kids are more scared than we realize. There is a sense of uncomfortableness when their “normal” disappears a little longer than expected. During this time of uncertainty, having something that is part of their “normal” routine must help to bring some comfort. It is not just about babysitting and keeping your kids busy: it is just as important to instil and keep a sense of routine and a sense of moving forward.