Challenges in Early Childhood Education During Pandemic

Monday, 15/06/2020SurveyMETERHendy Puspitha Primasari, SE


The Ministry of Education and Culture requests that during the Covid-19 pandemic, Early Childhood Education (PAUD) teachers do not give students assignments of any kind. During this pandemic, children are given the freedom to play to their heart's content at home. This was conveyed by Plt. The Director of Teacher Development and Education Personnel (GTK) for Early Childhood Education, Abdoellah, in a video conference on Tuesday 31/3/2020.

Responding to the appeal, not a few PAUD teachers who then apply learning with different methods. One of them a PAUD teacher in Kulonprogo said that since the appeal from the Kulonprogo District Education Office did not provide learning material according to the Learning Implementation Plan a kind of reference for managing play activities in an effort to achieve basic competencies, he had given more assignments with learning material to nurture student’s good habit or habituation.

Nurturing student’s habit during learning at home is actually not much different from what has been applied at school. There are three themes in the material provided, namely PHBS, character education and religion. PHBS materials such as hand washing, bathing, brushing teeth, cleaning your own eating utensils. Character education materials such as helping parents, speaking politely, saying thank you, asking for help. While religious material, for example ablution, prayer, reading iqro, memorizing short letters, praying before doing activities, and so on. The material is in accordance with the curriculum currently in use, the 2013 curriculum.

The customization tasks are given every day through WA groups in the form of instructional texts, audio instructions and also sample videos. Furthermore, parents will accompany and document these activities in the form of videos or photos and then sent to the teacher as material for monitoring and assessment.


Not as easy as imagined

In practice, learning at home with habituation is not as easy as imagined. Lack of enthusiasm from children and lack of ability from parents to accompany children become challenges in the application of habituation method. A school principal in Bantul conveyed to the author, apparently not all parents can be like teachers at school. Many parents are not painstaking, children are usually even yelled at, which also has a less good effect. Maybe because of the situation and conditions, children become less enthusiastic at home so that they are bored, there are no friends, and no one motivating. Because usually in schools teachers convey learning interspersed with art, there is pat, singing, and various other creative interludes, while at home tends to be monotonous.

It is undeniable, one of the characteristics of children is that they are very easy to change their mind and change their mood (moody). That is because early childhood can not control themselves properly. Most of them have not been able to communicate smoothly and convey what is felt. This is still added to the child's learning atmosphere which suddenly changes, from what is usually done with friends with full color and creativity, now must be done alone and less attractive.

Children's moods and emotions that often change suddenly make parents feel confused and overwhelmed. Not all parents understand how to deal with children who behave not as expected. In this situation, it is not uncommon for parents to fail to form communication with children. Instead of understanding children's behavior, parents are more often angry and shouting. This certainly will be contradictory to the learning process that is being carried out.

Another challenge in applying habituation learning at home is the mindset and motivation of parents. One example of parents of students interviewed by the author states that the motivation to send children to PAUD so far has been more than just sending their children to leave work. So, when children do not go to school and only play at home, parents feel that this is the way it should be for children. Motivation and mindset like this can be one reason parents are lazy to assist children in doing the tasks given by the teacher.

Other problems experienced by teachers are related to observation and assessment. During the Covid-19 pandemic, observations can only be made by viewing videos and photos sent by students' parents. This causes the observation activities carried out by the teacher to be very limited. A kindergarten head in Bantul told the author that up to now he could not fully monitor the process of implementing learning at home. In contrast to the time at school, from morning to noon can monitor children, especially their habits such as memorization. Now with this situation the teacher cannot repeat the rote again, so that it is difficult. From the video sent, the class teacher also cannot directly see the child participating in memorizing or not.

Meanwhile, the assessment of the habituation method is an anecdotal note evaluation technique, which is to make a full observation then record all the facts, tell the situation that happened, write down what the child is doing and what the child is saying. These anecdotal notes serve as daily activity journals that make it possible to know the child's development. As a result, due to limited observations, we can be sure that anecdotal recording will not run optimally. This certainly will affect the validity of the assessment made by the teacher.


Sinergy and support

From some of the problems raised by the teacher and the conditions of the parents of the students above, it can be concluded that the implementation of learning with the habituation method does not run easily. The vital role of parents in the application of habituation methods at home has not been accompanied by sufficient understanding of how to assist and guide children according to the rules of PAUD. Parental confusion can result in children experiencing things that should not be experienced at their age. Parents' readiness to create a learning environment becomes critical. While limited observation that causes the validity of the assessment is reduced to a crucial problem experienced by the teacher.

The condition of a pandemic is indeed hard for everyone, especially for parents because the burden of thought and responsibility increases with the intensity of accompanying children in learning at home. However, it is important for parents to open up, open up insights and enthusiasm to learn how to accompany children in the learning process. It is time for parents to realize that children's learning is now fully the responsibility of parents, returning to their nature that parents are the first and foremost teacher for children.

On the other hand teachers are expected to be able to maintain two-way communication with parents and students on a regular basis. Beginning with ensuring the basic needs of children are met, then proceed with sharing tips on educating children according to the method of habituation in PAUD. The teacher must open the door wide as a consultant for parents and foster parental confidence.

The Education Office must play an active role in providing support to teachers and parents of students. Take innovative steps, provide solutions to problems that occur and consider better ways to provide education during this pandemic period.

Past the pandemic is not an easy thing for teachers, parents and children. But all depends on the will. When everything is ready, it is not impossible that PAUD From Home will be fully realized. ***


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