Coronavirus: Resources to help kids learn from home

It's only day two of B.C.'s extended spring break and it's a good bet a lot of parents are wondering what to do with their kids. A number of online resources have just opened up. Grace Ke reports.

As B.C. educators continue to work on alternative teaching arrangements amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, parents are also looking for resources to help their children learn from home.

Earlier this month, the province indefinitely suspended in-class education for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Kids were about to go on spring break, but that ended on Friday and they are not returning to classrooms.

Teachers and administrators are looking at a range of remote-learning options, with final plans expected to vary by instructor and school. Staff are allowed to return to work as long as they can follow social-distancing rules.

In the meantime, here is a look at some online resources for parents and students:

Keep Learning BC

Launched by the B.C. government, Keep Learning BC offers parents ideas for everyday educational activities, links to free learning resources, guides to maintaining routines, and mental health resources.

Pearson Canada K-12 Resources at Home

Publishing company Pearson Canada has unveiled digital learning resources, including online versions of more than 70 widely used elementary and secondary textbooks.

Scholastic Learn at Home

The educational company, known for its book fairs, offers daily courses for students from pre-kindergarten through to Grade 9. According to the business, the website provides about three hours of learning per day for up to four weeks of instruction, and includes writing and research projects, virtual field trips, and reading and geography challenges.

Khan Academy

A massive online educational platform from a California-based non-profit organization that offers exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard.

Google Classroom

The tech giant offers a virtual space for teachers and students.

Terrance Martin, a father of two in Sooke on Vancouver Island, says parents should think of Google Classroom as an empty school that can be filled with content.

Martin is using technology to create his own virtual classroom. Dubbed The Caveman Engineer Society, Martin hopes to create a space for getting kids interested in STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering, and math.

Shaw Helps

The cable giant offers online courses for students on topics such as financial literacy, compassion, mental health and digital wellness, through a collaboration with an online U.S. curriculum company called EVERFI.

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While parents may turn to digital tools to keep their kids busy, Jeremy Carpendale, a professor of developmental psychology at Simon Fraser University, said it’s important to not lose focus on a bigger goal: sparking children’s natural sense of curiosity.

“My message is to relax a bit, just enjoy your kids,” he said. “Try to help them follow up on their questions or interests, especially for younger kids. Give them some things of interest to do — arts and sciences.

“Look at what’s going on around you and you’ll find that they will start asking questions and then your job will be to try and help them follow up on answers, which can then be really fun because it goes all over the place and you’ll learn something.”

— With files from Simon Little and Richard Zussman

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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