#parent | #kids | Little Kids Explain Why They Love Zoom

They’re doing better than we are

Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images

As grown-ups everywhere scramble to shift their lives online, kids are logging on and going to school.

Millions of Americans have been asked to stay home to curb the accelerating spread of the coronavirus, and children are no exception. In an attempt to maintain some semblance of a curriculum, high schools, middle schools, elementary, and even preschools have started hosting classes on video conferencing platforms like Zoom.

Offscreen, teachers and parents are hard at work trying to ease the transition to remote learning. “It’s important for the kids to stay connected,” says Monica Shire, a preschool teacher at the University of Delaware Lab School. “I hear a lot of kids are really sad right now.”

As children struggle to understand what’s happening around them, remote learning “provides a little bit of consistency in their world,” says one parent from Maryland, whose four-year-old attends Zoom class. Parents who spoke to OneZero requested anonymity. Another parent from Delaware, whose four-year-old also meets with his class online, says that “it’s not a replacement for school.”

Eman Haggag, a Bay Area instructional innovation coach who helps teachers adopt online classroom technology, says that as some educators struggle to use Zoom, kids are discovering how to mute each other and even kick their teachers off the call. “Dang, they’re savage!” Haggag says. “Kids respond in the most hilarious ways because they’re kids.”

But what’s it really like for the youngest Zoomers out there? OneZero reached out to eight preschool and elementary school students to find out how they felt about their classes moving online. They mostly told us they were happy to see their friends.

Eni, 6, Maine

Eni meets with her Zoom classes three times a day — the longest is about an hour — with assignments to complete in between. Each day, the class tunes into live sketching with celebrated childrens’ book author Mo Willems.

OneZero: What do you like best about Zoom classes?
Eni:
I like to see my friends on Zoomy.

What do you miss most about regular school?
I miss science and art class — you get to learn about the colonial stuff in science class.

What happens when dad tries to join your class?
I say, ‘Go away!’

Jaya, 4, California

Zoom classes for Jaya include Circle Time, a period involving group sing-a-longs. FaceTime playdates help ease her isolation, but she says meddling siblings sometimes dangle objects in front of the camera to interfere.

OneZero: What do you like best about Zoom classes?
Jaya:
I just like my friends.

What is it like seeing your friends on the screen?
One of them just stopped talking to me!

What does mommy do while you’re in class?
I don’t know. Cleaning.

Kora, 5, Maryland

Kora and her family have been quarantined at home since mid-March. Part of Kora’s Zoom class involves step-by-step drawing classes, where animals are popular subjects.

OneZero: What do you like best about your Zoom classes?
Kora:
I like to meet the big giraffey.

What do you miss most about regular school?
Learning about science. I also love to draw a picture of everything I like, like a picture of the rainbow with the colors.

Ryan, 9, and Clara, 6, Pennsylvania

Ryan has yet to start his Zoom classes, but his sister Clara is already on Zoom.

OneZero: How do you feel about starting Zoom classes?
Ryan: I feel okay. Kinda excited, and kinda not.

What part are you not excited about?
Ryan:
I just think it might be a little boring because people just start talking. My cousin has Zoom meetings, and my sister, and they kept talking and talking.

What was your favorite thing about your Zoom class?
Clara:
Talking.

What do you miss most about regular school?
Clara:
I think it’s math. Because it’s fun.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get back to school?Clara: Unpack.

Salome, 5, Delaware

Salome’s mother, Okasana, and her Zoom class teacher joined this Saturday-morning call. Her class has many opportunities to communicate during a call, but they must click the thumbs-up emoji in lieu of raising their hands.

OneZero: What do you miss about regular school?
Salome:
Everything.

Okasana: Her teacher usually lets one child give a tour of their house or their favorite toys or their favorite room.

Salome: I never showed my playroom!

Teacher: Do you want to go Monday?

Salome: Is Monday tomorrow?

Isabella, 6, California

Isabella asked her mother for some privacy as she gave this interview over FaceTime.

OneZero: What do you like about Zoom class?
Isabella:
My favorite thing about it is since there’s the virus going around I get to see all my friends’ faces.

What do you miss?
Seeing my friends.

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get back to regular school?Probably be super happy that I’m gonna see my friends.

Ansel, 5, Delaware

Kids in Ansel’s classes move from Zoom meetings with the whole class to “breakout rooms,” where smaller groups can pick up the conversation. Most recently, Ansel and his breakout group discussed Pokémon.

OneZero: What do you miss about regular school?
Ansel:
Hearing my friends better, and sitting on the seats.

What do you like about Zoom class?
I like learning about drawing pictures, that’s mostly what they do. Not that much of a fan of doing the dances.

What are your parents doing while you’re in class?
Usually eating breakfast and doing real work.


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