As India and the world face a completely unprecedented crisis due to spread of Covid‐19 virus, our social institutions have great opportunity to bring in the right order. You, as Principals, can influence the entire education system to not just deal with the current emergency but also build foundation to face such difficult future events.Yes, you have your anxieties and fairly so. Yet there is tremendous window to rethink many things.

Covering the course. With more academic days getting lost, you may be wondering how will you catch up when the country reopens. Don’t get consumed by this incredible demand. Rather leverage certain untapped resources. What about those fringe agents who also have experimented huge deal on education? Can the homeschooling community be involved for some lateral solutions? Can outfits that have built high credibility around learning through art, music, cinema, quizzes, gardening, informal setups and so on be summoned for handy toolboxes? Let the focus forever shift to ‘learning’ from ‘schooling’.

It takes a village to raise a child. Everyone knew that it is not school’s responsibility alone to teach the child, yet no big breakthrough was coming in. Let us relook at the various symbiotic relationships – human to human, human to nature and nature to nature – that can share the burden of child’s education. Time to move beyond the customary parent­‐teacher meetings and invite parents to a much deeper and long‐term relationship. Can they really become your partners in the child’s education? The school must engage with the parents to understand source of child’s temperament, rhythm, habits, mindset and inclinations. There has to be a synergy between the home environment and school environment. Parents indeed are vital to build a learning community. Exposure to diverse kind of parents and their vocations will allow children to deeply appreciate and respect the differences.

Hand-­Heart-­Head. Head centric rote learning must give in to experiential learning. Now is the time to reintroduce ‘learn by doing’, to tilt the balance away from head heavy theoretical education. Therefore, hand is placed before heart and head. Activate the triad of children, parent and teacher to work on problems that they see in their community and geography. Textbook cannot be the only source of knowledge, but should support children to construct knowledge through all sources around them, such as people, their vocation, their environment and so on.

Kitchen can be an immense learning resource. Our homes, and especially the kitchens inside our homes, remain the most underrated and underused place for child’s development. Kitchen is perhaps the best lab one has at home. So much of experiments go on there and with real tools. Children must take part in the kitchen work and there can be no better time than this to get started. Tell the parents of your school to include their children in kitchen work. Not only will they learn one of the most important survival skills – cooking – they can learn STEM through classification, organization, quantities, proportions, thermal conductivity, chemical reactions, audits, optimization, hygiene, timing, nutrition, and even home remedies for many more. They will also learn about interdependency, collaboration and joy in community work.

Upkeep is a course in itself. Upkeep of our space was perhaps done by helpers till now. It is now time to take this task on as a lesson in space management, time management and self-management. Until we learn to manage our own space, and understand how little time it takes to do so if we all work together, we cannot possibly learn to manage our selves. Inspire the teachers and children to take responsibility to manage their class rooms, labs and libraries and help them to manage their environment better in the future. They will also be able to understand the importance of mundane work like cleaning toilets and class rooms and appreciate the effort it takes to keep spaces hygienic thereby generating respect for the service providers. Already there are instances of schools providing space and time for gardening. It is also important to know how we can easily make cleaning agents like bio enzymes and soaps! That we can grow herbs that heal! The world needs a paradigm shift! And you can facilitate this if you choose.

Build resilience for climate change. For years, we have now heard about climate change. UN talks about it. Researchers do it. More and more governments are taking actions now. Perhaps nothing affects our well being more directly than climate. It is only a matter of time that ‘climate change’ will find its coveted place in school curriculum. While that happens, prepare yourself, your teachers, your school to celebrate ‘contribution’ more than ‘consumerism’. Now, because of Covid-­19,we are forced to minimize unnecessary consumption. Imagine if this becomes the new normal. We will have a much better planet for ourselves.

It’s also the time to embrace technology – doesn’t matter it is Internet based or not. Group video calls, conference calls, simple voice calls can help in effectively communicating with each other. Make judicious use of it to work with the students and parents. At the same time, sensitize parents about possible trauma that can happen to children because of exposure to age inappropriate content.

Covid-­19 is showing us that when humanity is united in common cause, phenomenally rapid change is possible. Spread love and lead by example, as you always have.

We are witnessing an unprecedented event in our shared history that Corona Virus is unleashing on mankind. A lot of things have changed during the last few weeks. Most of our governments, communities and citizens are taking drastic measures to deal with the situation. Along with many other places, our schools and playgrounds will remain closed for some time. Getting restricted to home can become quite stressful for all, more so for the children. As there is uncertainty around, it will be good to have some awareness and tools to face the current situation.

Accept it first. The first thing to do in this situation is to accept the situation. That there is a pandemic lockdown. That it can go on for quite a while. Accept that for some time, children will treat it as vacation. Accept that children are as worried as their parents. Every time, the parent goes out for panic buying, the child picks up a cue. Every time, a Corona virus news item gets played, the child also hears it. Every time, the parents talk over phone about impending doomsday, the child gets a hint. It’s quite upto the parent to maintain calm, because only then will the child feel comforted.

It’s home and not school. ‘School from home’ is a bigger and relatively a much newer transition than ‘work from home’. Neither you nor your children were ready for this. Children would need time to ease into the home environment where the expectations have suddenly changed. Unless your child is a self‐directed learner, online programs can become quite overwhelming. Set a routine that has big blocks dedicated for one integrated activity. A schedule with every minute planned out could also back fire. What may take place from 9am to 9:30am today, could just as well happen from 10am to 10:15am tomorrow.

Don’t get too hung up on a routine either. One day, your kids may want to spend all day exploring the cobweb in balcony (life sciences), or spend the next week trying to make a brand new dish at kitchen (that’s STEM -­science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Let them discover and love learning. Let them lead. But keep them away from the android. Allow them time with computers to explore their interests.

Know your child. This is a great opportunity to know more about your children; what do they like doing, what are their fears, how do they learn and so on. Now is the time to make stuff together – even jugaad types, cook, make and playgames, do laundry, do dishes, mend things, watch documentaries, read to each other, dance, sing. Do all the things that you never really have time for. If you can, stop watching news on the TV and getting consumed by the myriads of Whatsapp messages.

There must be opportunities at your home – to organize or reorganize things. Do that together with your child and it will make you feel good. We sometimes forget how much learning takes place just by living life and playing games. With how stressful the world is right now, it’s important to remember to enjoy each other as much as possible.

Utilize the role of household chores in developing life skills of management of time, space and self. Allow the child to prepare the time table. Be liberal, treat your children as individuals with huge capabilities, help them and watch them surprise you with their achievements. Working to manage the house gives them confidence that they are dependable and able to manage things on their own. This self‐reliance will go a long way in helping them after the lock down.

Teachers are also “humans”. While many schools are prompting their teachers to stay connected with students during lockdown, they also have a life that is as much affected. Yes teachers will carry out their duties, but as parents this is the time to empathize with them. If some days, scheduled calls don’t happen or there is change in the plan, accommodate it.

Reorient to the new world order.The world may not be same in the aftermath of Covid‐19. Yes e‐governance, e‐commerce, e­‐schooling, e­‐medicine might come back with even more fervor. But we will see a major shift in responsibilities. Individuals will have to take more charge of their learning. This is a magical opportunity to reorient ourselves towards self­‐learning and learning about the self.

Do whatever it takes to bring you all through this well and you will have given them a far greater education than they can get on a mathematics or a grammar website.