What is Common Sense Remote Learning?

Everyone was caught off guard by the sudden, and now extended shelter-in-place order. Schools rushed to get interactive teaching online and homework assignments out to students by day one but have since scaled back because it’s not working. It has proven too much of a burden on parents and not effective for children. Simply transferring what happens in an individual classroom to an online platform has amplified the disjointed lessons and activities found within a typical school day. Due to challenges with this online process, some districts have since reduced distance learning to four days and some to just one day per week.

Children did not cause this disruption in their school life. To them, it must seem like we’ve taken away the best parts of school such as being with friends and recess, while expecting them to keep up with all the hard parts, like math lessons!

Adults didn’t cause it either, however it is up to us to figure out how we respond. It has been trendy in business to identify as a disruptor, someone who is disrupting the status quo and thinking outside the box. When everything about our world right now is disrupted, what we do next matters. By example, we are teaching our children about handling crisis and disruption. We can be upset by the ways we are imposed upon; we can be afraid or unnerved. At the same time, we can recognize that these are truly uncommon times that require us to reflect, re-think and re-design.

Even though Caulbridge School has been low-tech, it was time to take our “Common Sense Education in Uncommon Times” and include a Common Sense Remote Education. Struck by the far-reaching consequences of this pandemic, we drew upon our child development perspective and educational approach in developing our school response.

First, we reassured our families that while children are learning at home, parents are not expected to homeschool. Parents have a full time job supporting the well-being of their children right now while simultaneously re-organizing everything else in their daily lives. As a school, we are still responsible for student learning, and have found a way to provide remote learning in a developmentally appropriate and family friendly way that keeps parents in the role of parent rather than teacher.

Children must feel safe and trust their environment in order to develop their sensory-motor, social-emotional or academic skills. Both, parents and teachers have a role to play here, and children will be supported by our resilience. No one can process trauma and take on new cognitive learning in the same moment. Especially under these circumstances, we want to be careful not to expect learning that is beyond their emotional capacity. Even colleges are relaxing the SAT/ACT requirements; high schools are adjusting grading and graduation requirements.

Mr. Rogers reminds us that, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” We love hearing about the creative and fun activities our students are enjoying as we all make the best of this difficult time. Projects like sewing animals while still in jammies, cooking, converting the dining room into a crafting/maker space, discovering the engineering skills needed for building a tent with a swinging door, or building lego museum exhibits for each species of bug found in the yard. This is learning in real time!

Children will come through this time and quickly find their new normal, re-connecting with friends and getting back on track with their studies. Caulbridge educators work from a child-development perspective and understand that meeting the child’s needs relevant to their phase of development is foundational to learning and school success. We have seen children progress almost two grade levels in one semester so we know they will learn.

Find out what you can do now to support your child’s learning, email dlambrecht@caulbridgeschool.org for a complimentary consultation.


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Phone: (415) 481-1243
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