Parents and families around the world are challenged with staying put, keeping children occupied and keeping age-appropriate social interaction in a healthy and safe manner.
As information about the Coronovirus started coming out, the administration of Cheder Chabad of Baltimore held emergency meetings to create contingency plans in the event that schools in Maryland need to close down. At the beginning of last week, teachers were guided on how to start preparing for the eventuality that schools will be closed.
The parshiyos of the past few weeks deal with the construction of the mishkan and creating the bigdei kehuna. Cha”zal tell us that לא היה העולם ראוי להשתמש בזהב, ולמה נברא בשביל המשכן ובשביל בית המקדש – The world was not fit to have the precious commodity of gold. The only reason they were created was in order to add beauty to the mishkan and beis hamikdash.
The unprecedented advances in technology are today’s gold. Hashem placed them in the world to advance Torah and Mitzvos. At Cheder Chabad, technology is always used to enhance learning and teaching. As decisions were being made on how to continue learning during school closures, an emphasis was placed on using all technology available to facilitate remote classrooms in every home.
All teachers, including preschool, have been creating daily video lessons, assignments and worksheets and loading them on a designated Google Drive for all parents to access. Mrs. Hinda Weissbrot. comments “Thank you for providing consistency for our children during these challenging times.” The advantage of children learning remotely with their regular teachers is having the desired effect. As Mrs. Chanie Tennenbaum comments “Thank you for giving the kids some sense of familiarity in the middle of all the craziness.” The familiarity and consistency is promoting children to look forward to the daily classes.
This type of teaching is very different from what teachers are accustomed to. The faculty spent lots of time and effort teaching themselves on the best ways to remotely create consistency and structure for the children. At the end of last week, educational packets were sent home with some of the seforim and books needed. Mrs. Chaia Kessler shares: So impressed by how quickly Cheder was prepared! My kids loved learning from home!.” An important goal for the faculty at this time is to keep things as routine as possible and to assure that the children are enjoying the learning process. Mrs. Feigy Cohen, e veteran online teacher at the Shluchim Online School was thrilled with how her children reacted. “Unreal !!! My children LOVED the learning and asked for more !!! We are so grateful! Thank you !!!
As Pesach is quickly approaching, teachers placed concentration on preparing Pesach centered activities. S. R. was extremely impressed with how well things were prepared. “We are in awe of the quick and amazing classes that we were given on a silver platter!” Some preschool teachers even sent home complete Hagaddah packets, replete with instructions and materials needed for the children to create their own Hagaddah.
Additionally, davening and learning charts were sent home, chavrusa davening and learning partners were set up and extra fun work was shared. Links to additional classes and resources are being shared. Students are creating a full Cheder in their homes. Further enhancing their own מקדש מעט. M.K. is amazed by the efficiency in setting all this up. “Thank you to everyone who made class happen today! It was amazing!! Thank you to everyone who set this up and made it run so smoothly.”
As time progresses, the teachers will continue. Parents that don’t have printers at home will be able to visit the office at designated hours to pick up new material needed. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that our talmidim feel safe, have structure, and continue learning Torah through this troublesome time.