With the current Covid-19 pandemic putting a hold on the daily routine for schoolchildren — which includes the closure of schools, distancing requirements and travel restrictions — parents and teachers turned to the internet for help.

Current, practical and applicable

#SmarterStrongerTogether Facebook Group.

The movement control order (MCO) made parents rely on the internet more to entertain and educate their children in between juggling working from home, doing chores and the likes.

With that in mind, Garden International School (GIS), Kuala Lumpur principal Robert Stitch and his team initiated #SmarterStrongerTogether. Initially, parents only exchanged ideas in a Facebook community group of the same name created by the school. Soon, the community grew as parents started to extend the group to their families and friends. It was then, Robert invested in a microsite — www.smarterstrongertogether.my — to house amazing ideas that the parents contributed.

Robert revealed that the name ‘Smarter Stronger Together’ was used for the initiative because “there is a long-standing belief that we can achieve much greater progress when we come together than we ever will as individuals. We are stronger together than we are on our own.” He also added that the platform bridges people together during these trying times to learn from and support one another.

Facilitated by GIS, the

#SmarterStrongerTogether is an online community for parents by parents to connect, share, and support each other. With a growing community of parents, the microsite dedicates itself to offer a holistic range of contents and resources to keep parents inspired and children of all ages, occupied and engaged.

Comprising different topics from music, games to arts and crafts, Robert said there is always something new and different for everyone. “ The nature of the ideas and topics curated on the platform are very current, practical and applicable to the times we are in, where we are confined to our homes.”

Vital to stay together

During the MCO, Robert believes that while social distancing is to be adhered, staying together virtually as a community is important just as well, as input from different sources and perspectives from a diverse community can enrich our learning environment and thought process.

Robert Stitch, Principal of Garden International School.

“Through this initiative, parents will be better equipped with more knowledge and constructive ideas to manage this challenging period better. Ultimately, this influences the well-being of the children as well as having a positive impact on the dynamic of the family.”

Furthermore, having a platform to share experiences, be inspired and support each other can help parents to cope with frustrations of staying at home. “As such, it always helps to band together to offer each other support and positive words. Empathy goes a long way,” said Robert.

One of the best things that came out from this community was the positive effect parents show to each other. “It was encouraging to see people showing solidarity by connecting and finding creative ways to manage this uncertain time,” Robert shared.

Beyond the classroom

Despite facing difficulties during the MCO, Robert was pleased to see how this opportunity was taken to evolve the classroom beyond its four walls. “The pandemic has upended conventional learning as we know it. The nature of MCO led to the need for more online learning than before. Teachers and students around the world are relying on digital tools for their lessons.”

#SmarterStrongerTogether website.

With the adaptivity to deliver distance learning, students all around can continue their education despite the absence of formal classrooms and teaching staffs. Robert disclosed that the pandemic brought a renewed momentum for educational institutions to rethink and re-evaluate how we educate in this highly interconnected world.

The principal of GIS believes that this adjustment will lead to new approaches and a much wider field of options for innovation and creativity in education. From under the imposed of MCO/lockdown, it has fast-forwarded efforts to define new, innovative and engaging ways to provide quality teaching and learning experiences.