PUTRAJAYA: The early planning by the GENIUS Negara Children’s Centre (GENIUS Negara) and the GENIUS Centre for Early Childhood Education (Integrasi GENIUS) during the Covid-19 outbreak early this year, especially in implementing online learning, paid off as it provided opportunities for children to progress with their parents and teachers.

Through the topic “New Norms — Alternative Early Childhood Education”, teachers at Integrasi GENIUS in Precinct 11 here share the challenges and benefits obtained by children between the ages of two and four through online learning that has been widely implemented since the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) to break the chain of the Covid-19 infection.

A teacher for the four-year-old group, Nora Azua Zaini, said online learning should be continued even after the conditional movement control order (CMCO) is lifted as the involvement of parents in their children’s learning makes them more sensitive and aware of their children’s development.

“Online learning shows the collaboration between parents and teachers in the children’s development. Continuous learning between the centre and at home also provides an opportunity for teachers to be more creative in exploring the latest skills and technologies in producing the learning materials, such as video,” she told Bernama.

Asked about the continuity of the children’s learning at GENIUS Negara in the country during CMCO, Nora Azua said it continues as usual with several other measures taken, besides online learning.

They include production of videos and appropriate learning materials which are given to parents every week for use as guidance, she added.

She said all activities that were carried out took into account the six areas of child development in line with the GENIUS Negara curriculum, namely language development, communication and early literacy; personality, socio-emotional and spiritual development; sensory development and understanding of the environmental world; physical development, creativity and aesthetic development; and early development of mathematics and logical thinking.

Nora Azua said the positive response from parents to online activities and learning during the early stage of implementation indirectly strengthened the relationship and communication between parents and their children.

She said the activities provided by teachers gave parents the ideas as they involved items that could be easily found at home such as flour, newspapers and boxes. Such a learning approach is practiced in GENIUS Negara nationwide.

All the learning materials provided by teachers, she said, will be uploaded on the social media, including Facebook and YouTube, so that parents can use them as reference to carry out activities that are suitable with their children’s age.

This not only benefits parents of GENIUS children, but other parents as well, she added.

On the method of assessing the children’s development, Nora Azua said it is recorded in the National Children’s Data Centre (NCDC) system, which is linked to the Activity Implementation Plan (RPA) prepared by the teachers.

She said the involvement and cooperation from parents in sharing the assessments on the development of their children helped teachers to make a better assessment of the students.

Apart from that, Nora Azua said although the 3E concept of exploring, experimenting and experiencing is emphasised in activities at GENIUS, but under the new normal environment, the aspect on hygiene before, during and after activities, as well as rotation schedules, have to be given priority to maintain physical distancing.

She said various approaches had been taken to ensure the safety of GENIUS Negara operations, including reducing capacity, in line with the standard operating procedure (SOP) on social distancing, and rotation of sending children.

Parents, she said, are now more aware and responsible by not sending their children, who are ill, to the centre, hence, helping to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Teacher Arlina Anuar, who takes charge of the three-year-old group, said the learning process under the new norms, especially online learning, allows parents and teachers to together observe the children’s development.

“Teachers also get the opportunity to produce creative videos on early childhood education, especially Malay-language video,” she added.

“During the early stage of CMO, online learning at that time focused a lot on video shows on Covid-19 and the proper way to wash hands. We give early exposure and explanation to children about the dangers of the virus.

“Now they are able to understand and it is now a habit for them to cover their mouth when they sneeze, wash and wipe their hands. There are also children who ask their parents to provide them with attractive face masks,” she added. – Bernama