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Free online learning classes for toddlers and kids


The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has indeed brought challenges to many institutions, especially the schools. Directress Mia Villavicencio and finance officer Selina Eleazar of Little Sandbox Preschool believe in the importance of continuously connecting with children. The lockdown poses a possibility of having the children think that their world is just in the confines of their homes, which is why the school wants to reassure these little kids that there is still so much out there. “Make them feel that they are still part of a bigger community. We want to keep building relationships with them,” says Mia.

Time to be resourceful
Their  very first online class, Story Lab, starts tomorrow, May 1, 10:30 a.m. and it’s for free. Catering to kids ages four to six years old, this session will be conducted by Teacher Page Claustro. It aims to encourage love for reading, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. “We want them to develop their ingenuity as they try to help characters solve problems by designing possible solutions. They will then use their resourcefulness as they later bring their ideas to life using materials found at home. The program will cultivate skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM),” explains Selina.

To get everyone and everything ready, prepare paper and coloring materials beforehand. Include glue, scissors, tape, and whatever they want to use such as paper clips, empty boxes, plastic bottles, toilet paper tubes, scrap cloth, buttons, leaves, flowers, playdough, chopsticks, toothpick, and more. Resourcefulness will come into play. Mia’s advice to parents is to be on standby so that they can help the children cut their materials or tape things together.

Post-session pro tips 
Both Mia and Selina believe that parents can help keep their children learning to boost their inquisitive skill as they explore the world around them. “At the end of each session, we share activity extensions they can do at home. We also give parents and caregivers the opportunity to talk and share their thoughts and ideas with the community,” says Selina. Mia shares some tips you can do at home.

1. Observe your child
List down the things he likes to do, and build on those interests to come up with activities. If he likes cars, you can use different materials at home to make roads and ramps. They can create different kinds of cities or communities.

This activity can also teach the children about force and gravity: If you give the car a small push, how far will it go? How about if we give it more force? If we make a ramp that’s not too steep, how fast will a small car go down? How about a big car? What will happen if we make the ramp more steep?

2. Involve your child in kitchen activities.
 toddler loves to prepare his own snack of crackers and nut butter, and freshly squeezed orange juice. “He also likes to help with pouring and mixing baking ingredients when we make cookies and muffins. He also likes to wash his plate, cup, and utensils,” she says.
3. Read books.
Reading a book out loud to them develops a love for reading. It also improves their comprehension skills and language development as they learn new words. They can extend this activity by acting out the story afterward. They can create their own costumes and props as they dramatize the story. They can even create their own ending. Children can write their own book, which will enhance creativity, drawing, and writing skills.
4. Time to explore.
If you have a garden, you can go on a nature walk. This is an excellent way to encourage the child to appreciate the natural world. Ask them to tell you what they see, hear, smell, or feel. They can bring paper and coloring materials with them, even draw or paint their favorite flower or tree. When they look at something with the intent of drawing it, they tend to look more carefully than usual. They can see the shapes, the patterns, and the colors, and how all of these details come together.
5. Play games with them.
Selina remembers how much she loved playing board games when she was young. “This teaches children strategy and how to play games with rules. Skills in math and literacy are also developed. The most important aspect is the socialization and time spent with family. Active games also help. Even if they are stuck indoors, they can have music and movement, and other games that require gross motor skills,” she says.

Little Sandbox Preschool will be holding a few more complimentary classes in the next few days, including a Facebook Live on May 4, 10:30 a.m. on “Community Time” for three to four years old, and Zoom classes on May 5 10 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 to 11:30 a.m. on “Toddler Community Time” for two to three years old. From May 15 onward, they will be holding online summer classes with a fee of P2,000 for non Little Sandbox kids and P1,500 for Sandbox kids. Choose from sessions “Let’s Tell Stories!” for four to six years old, “Writer’s Workshop” for four to six years old, “Usapang Bulilit” for three to six years old, “Story Lab” for four to six years old, “Community Time” for three to four years old, and “Toddler Community Time” for two to three years old. All tuition fees will go to those who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis.

*Follow them on Instagram @little_sandbox and like them on Facebook page: Little Sandbox Preschool for announcements on how to sign up.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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