While workplaces and schools continue to be closed in the extended circuit breaker period, education still lives on — this is because, without a doubt, the children’s need for learning has to be fulfilled and the development of these bright young minds has to be continued.
Nonetheless, these lessons should not come at the expense of safety. As we all got creative in dealing with the situations presented by the coronavirus, and as we now eagerly await for the Covid-19 vaccine to be rolled out, virtual classrooms for kids have been a great solution. This transition to online classes actually provided specialised opportunities for virtual learning — just because there’s no physical interaction doesn’t mean they’re less engaging.
For parents who are looking for virtual classes for their children, there are various virtual classroom platforms available for you to choose from. Here are some online classes for kids and virtual classrooms you should consider:
Virtual Learning through eBooks: the National Library Board Mobile App
With over 725,000 eBooks and audiobooks available at your fingertips for free, there are simply no limits to virtual learning with the National Library Board’s mobile app. Launched in 2016, the app was already making strides in making reading accessible to all before the pandemic, but now more than ever, we can’t help but appreciate how easy it is for NLB cardholders to download an ebook and read this at home.
Let your young learner take their pick among numerous picture books and educational titles. Each week, there are 15-minute storytelling sessions in English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil that are hosted by librarians, volunteers, and local authors through Facebook.
Online Classes for Kids: Geniebook
With free live-streamed lessons based on the latest syllabus from the Ministry of Education (MOE), Geniebook provides seamless homeschooling experience for your primary and secondary students.
And because the topics are aligned with those taught in schools island-wide, this virtual learning platform is perfect for kids who need a refresher in subjects like English, math and science. Furthermore, there are lots of opportunities to practice what they’ve learned through the virtual classroom platform, as Geniebook is loaded with worksheets on the lessons. Through these online classes and tools, your kids will certainly be more than ready to jump back in the lessons when schools reopen.
Virtual Learning and Achievement: Young Scientist Online Badge Scheme
Through the Young Scientist Online Badge Scheme, kids can now continue learning and collecting their badges within the comfort and safety of your home. Whether they want to be a physicist, engineer, marine biologist or astronomer, the world of science is theirs to explore!
Kids can participate in more than 10 series of curated activities and collect Young Scientist Badges — the latest one being the I am a Young Sustainability Champion badge, teaching kids bout renewable energy and responsible food consumption.
Language Classes for Kids: The English Curve
For kids who prefer languages over the sciences, they can learn English or even hone their skills, through lessons from The English Curve. Students from all ages and levels are welcome in their virtual classrooms. Aside from lessons and private tutoring sessions conducted over Skype, The English Curve also holds regular online writing workshops for aspiring writers. To help students hone their reading skills and keep them immersed in the language, The English Curve publishes weekly blog posts and book reviews.
With a flexible and personalised teaching approach, the tutors at The English Curve ensure that they structure their lessons to cater to different learning curves and styles. This allows students to learn at a comfortable but still effective pace, especially in a virtual learning setting.
Virtual Classrooms for Kids of the Theatre: Centre Stage School of the Arts
Meanwhile, kids who are interested in the performing arts can also find ways to hone their skills through online classes. The Centre Stage School of the Arts, which has been around since 1999, offers students a chance to explore their creative programmes. These include a wide range of interests, from drama to performance acting and musical theatre. The school offers an online class via Centre Stage Interactive (CSi), wherein kids from 18 months to 18 years can participate in Zoom-based live classes and on-demand pre-recorded classes.
Virtual Classroom Platforms: Augmented Reality Apps on Apple
Nowadays, our mobile phone can be a virtual classroom. Not only can we use it for video conferencing during online classes, but it is also a treasure trove of resources for virtual learning. In particular, learning through augmented reality.
AR makes it possible to turn an ordinary setting into a virtual classroom, and with thousands of AR apps on Apple, there’s an endless possibility of topics for an online class. For example, the Complete Anatomy app lets learners visualise the human body in intricate detail to learn more about its every part. Meanwhile, JigSpac allows you to discover the inner workings of various objects — from a jet engine to a vast coral reef —in a spatial, interactive way. These AR apps are useful virtual learning tools that might just be here to stay, maybe even long after the pandemic has ended.
Virtual Learning and Entertainment: Netflix
For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms, helping support virtual learning even back then. However, this isn’t possible anymore, with schools closed. So at their request, a selection of documentaries will be available on the Netflix YouTube Channel for free!
Furthermore, the Netflix Virtual Classroom also provides a curation of documentaries by subjects that both you and your children can enjoy to level up knowledge in those areas. Be it History, Science, Sports, or even Famous People, there is something for everyone.
There will also be a standalone limited series titled: Coronavirus, explained which was launched on 26 April. This topical series examines the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to combat it and ways to manage its mental health toll.
Here are all of the available documentaries on YouTube and selected documentaries per subject:
Make your selection: find the best virtual classrooms for kids
This multitude of options for online classes for kids and virtual classroom platforms should inspire you to find the best option for your young learners. As we strive to keep our kids physically safe and healthy, we must also endeavour to enrich their minds, even during this time of the pandemic. These virtual classrooms offer them a fun and interactive way to learn for the meantime. Who knows, we might be back to the regular classroom sooner than we might think? But for now, education goes on through these virtual classrooms for kids.