Tips from MCPS School Counselor Nicole Scarola
The pressure to be successful during virtual learning can be overwhelming and defeating for students and families. Parental involvement and stress directly correlate to student achievement. Intuitively, children are sponges, and feed off of their parents’ energy, anxiety, and pressures.
Currently, parents are facing challenges with fulfilling multiple roles at the same time. Families are trying to find the best way to support their children through this revolutionized way of learning. It is important for parents to be mindful of how they are affecting their child and put in the best practices to help their online learning.
So how can parents do this?
Designate an Online Learning Space
Boost your child’s learning at home experience by creating a comfortable, well-lit, environment that they can be productive in. You can work together as a family to involve your student in creating their own space. You want to make sure the space sparks your child’s interest, while encouraging them to dive into learning.
Three Quick Tips:
- Keep a basket nearby, with all of the materials in it.
- A desk is not necessary for success! Some kids may learn better on the floor or a bean bag. A designated spot is what is needed.
- Don’t forget, less is more… keep the space clear of clutter. The place should be one that is distraction-free, in order for you child to fully concentrate on their work. For a child without high self-discipline, even a book or one toy can create a sense of distraction.
A child’s learning space is the best way to give them a sense of consistency during these unprecedented times and show your child the value of learning in your home.
Create a Schedule
Within the online learning space, having a schedule or calendar for your child to follow will enhance the sense of consistency, even without being in the school building. Not to mention, a schedule will take some stress off of you to remember what they need to be doing at what time.
- Add things your child enjoys to their schedule. For instance, you may set aside time for riding their bike or building with legos. Having something to look forward to will encourage them to make it through the day.
Check In with Your Child
Virtual learning is not easy for you or your child. Check in to make sure they are hanging in there. Have open and honest conversations about how your student is doing inside and outside of school. These conversations will show them you care and also motivate them to ask for help or even reach out to their teacher. Praise your child’s successes to encourage them to keep going. A helpful tip may be to hang examples of positive things they are accomplishing around the house- just as a teacher would do in the classroom!
Communicate with School Staff
Emphasis to your student the importance of remaining in contact with their teachers and counselor, not just when they are falling behind but all the time. Staff members are there to support you and make sure your transition to online learning is as smooth as possible. By encouraging your child to proactively communicate with their teachers, you are setting them up for success in the future.
Take care of yourself
Make time for yourself each day. Learning from home causes more pressure onto being a parent. Look for times to take small breaks throughout the day and do something to care for yourself for a few minutes. You may sneak away while your child is mid Zoom and have a cup of tea. By making time for yourself, you will be better able to make time to support your child and your family.
Nicole Scarola, NCC, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Social Welfare from UMBC in Baltimore, MD.
She then received her Masters of Education from Loyola University of Maryland.
Nicole has dedicated the past ten years serving children in the community through teaching, coaching, and educating.
Nicole Scarola is a now Professional Elementary School Counselor in Montgomery County Public Schools.