Expert: Younger children face unique challenges during online learning

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As parents work through the challenges of online learning and keeping their kids on track during the pandemic, experts say one specific age group is having a harder time: preschoolers.

Sherrie Buchzeiger is not only the superintendent of the online school Lighthouse Connections Academy, but she’s also a mom.

“I myself am a parent worried about what education looks like for my children who are enrolled in Lighthouse this year,” said Buchzeiger.

Like Buchzeiger, many other parents are wondering the same thing. That’s why she says it’s important to have a plan in place, especially for younger children.

“If they’re at home and they’re not following the scope and sequence of what a typical kindergarten student or a first grade student would learn, then when we return to the classroom, they’re going to be behind,” said Buchzeiger. “Start off with making sure there is a dedicated learning space, it can be a desk, the living room, kitchen table. Even though they’re young learners, finding out what is their way of learning, what is the best way that they can take in the information and when they study and they learn their best.”

Buchzeiger says these early years of learning are critical.

“In the first three years of child education, that’s where all of the information sticks with them,” said Buchzeiger.

If you’re a parent and do have the chance, she says to try and help your kids learn outside of the virtual classroom, too.

“There’s never a bad time to learn about math or reading, English, and as parents regardless of your education level, you always have an opportunity to engage your young student in learning. If you work in conjunction with the school district, the teacher and the parent, every parent will have success,” said Buchzeiger.

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