The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects on children. Perhaps most concerning of these effects is a learning and social regression. It’s this gap that Woodland Pre-Schools is tackling with its new Academic Acceleration Programme. (Read on for details of an upcoming information session, too!)
Making up for lost learning opportunities
Because of COVID, many children have had to start their schooling life in recent times from behind a screen; yet what they really need is face-to-face interaction and engagement for their development.
“There are lots of three- and four-year-olds who didn’t participate in preschool this year,” says the Woodland team. “Returning for the 2022/23 year will involve a new environment for them, and they’ll probably have to relearn certain skills. With this in mind, we needed to think about how we could quickly make up for lost opportunities, by extending our support and learning.”
That’s why Woodland has introduced an Academic Acceleration Programme (AAP) for preschool-aged children at its Mid-Level and Kennedy Town campuses; parents can sign children up for the programme for the start of the school year this August. The AAP is designed for those in K1 and K2 (ages from 2 years 8 months to 5 years).
The aims? To accelerate children’s progress in an extended day schedule. The programme will increase progress beyond the normal rate, with learning outcomes carefully monitored in line with the EYFS guidelines and strengthened with an added emphasis on literacy and numeracy.
Mornings in the AAP will have more of an academic focus; so, reading, writing, maths and phonics. Afternoons will emphasise both Woodland’s Programme of Inquiry and its extracurricular offerings.
A word from the Director of Teaching and Learning
Rae Lang has over 15 years of education leadership experience as a Principal in her native country New Zealand; she has also taught overseas, including in England and also in Vietnam as a Deputy Head of School – and where, most recently, she led an international school to successful accreditation to the Council of International Schools and New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
“We’ve been in the pandemic for almost three years, and the global research that’s coming out now shows that there is a learning gap – a gap in children’s readiness to primary school. This is starting with the early years, and it’s being seen on a global level,” says Rae.
Indeed, the University of Chicago’s Hong Kong campus recently presented a webinar called “COVID’s Impact on Early Childhood Development” where they presented findings around exactly this phenomenon.
“Woodland’s Academic Acceleration Programme is designed for families and children who want more focus on academics in order to help reduce this learning gap that’s being created by the pandemic,” says Rae.
The importance of wellbeing
However, it’s not just academics. Along with making up any cognitive gaps resulting from the COVID crisis, the school is well aware that the social and emotional aspect of children’s wellbeing remains pivotal. So, as Woodland introduces the AAP, it will at the same time retain a strong focus on wellbeing. Rae points to Woodland’s Protective Behaviour Programme, its Digital Citizenship Programme, and initiatives like Casual for a Cause, which supports Impact HK, Wooden Wisdoms, supporting nutrition and sleep, and also the school’s focus on emotional literacy.
“Children’s emotional wellbeing is also needing further support at this time because of the stress levels caused by the pandemic,” says Rae. “Young children are having to relearn how to socialise; socialise with their peers, their friends, with adults, and also adjust to unusual and different environments. They need more opportunities to help themselves self-regulate.”
Woodland is hosting an AAP information session on 16 June, at 5.30pm at the Mid-Levels campus. Visit woodlandschools.com/about-us/our-news/academic-acceleration-programme to register or call 2526 9478 for more details.
Book a tour!
Visit woodlandschools.com/admissions to register for a private school tour of one of the Woodland Pre-school campuses.
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