I hope that you and your families are keeping well.
School Closed for the month of January
As you know, the government has decided to close all schools for the month of January. This has proven necessary, due to the high incidences of Covid-19 in the country. We have been asked to stay at home at all times, unless it is absolutely necessary. We did not expect, when we opened our schools last September, that we would be closing our school again, but unfortunately, Public Health requirements have made this necessary.
As a consequence, we must return to offering remote learning to our pupils. We will be following the same format that we used in the first lock-down. For parents in 3rd class, who were not with us last year, I want to give you a brief overview of what this will be:
- Sunday evening: I will send a video message from myself to the pupils each Sunday evening at 6pm ahead of their working week.
- Schedule of Work for the week: Along with the video message, I will send a pdf document which contains the daily activities for the week ahead for your child. This will be sent on Aladdin.
- Range of Activities: The activities are broken down day by day, and will consist of a mix of the core-curricular areas of English, Irish and Maths, alongside a range of other curricular areas chosen to give variety over each day.
- See-Saw Learning Platform: The main method of engaging with learning will be using your child’s See-Saw account. All children have been given access to their See-Saw account earlier in the school year, and should be able to access it straight away. (Your child should have their access code in their homework journal) If you are having problems with this access, please email email@example.com and we will provide help as needed.
- Different forms of learning: We will also seek to offer variety to the learning activities for children, by engaging in:
o Thematic learning: looking at a topic across a variety of subject areas
o Class padlet: using the class padlet to enable sharing of ideas and communication between pupils across the class
o Physical Activity: encouraging children to engage in a variety of physical activities and exercises throughout the period of school closure
o Multi-media: using a variety of media to make remote learning more stimulating and engaging
o Independent learning: seeking to develop children’s skills as independent learners, which will stand to them when they return to face-to-face learning!
- Teacher Engagement: Your child’s teacher will be engaging with their classes throughout the week using video messages, group and individual voice and written messages and feedback. All of this will be delivered on the class See-Saw platform.
- Friday evening: At the end of the week, on Friday evening, I will send a short video message to the pupils, touching base with the children and wrapping up the week.
Return of School Textbooks
As you are aware, most of the core school texbooks are still in school. Teachers will return to school on Monday and Tuesday to pack the children’s text books and other items from their individual trays into a bag and label them.
Parents will be invited to come into school on Thursday and Friday to collect these packs. This will be done according to a strict time-table, which we will send out next week.
Tips for remote Learning
We are very conscious of the demands placed on parents in managing their own work priorities in addition to supporting pupils with remote learning. As such, we want to support parents as much as we can to manage this successfully. We learned a lot from our last experience of remote learning, and would like to pass these on to you. I hope they are of help!
- Get dressed for school!: parents have told us that they found their children were more likely to engage in school-work when they were up, dressed and ready to work. So get them out of their PJs and into their ‘working clothes’!
- Establish routine: encourage your children to draw up a routine for doing their school-work: a simple time-table to help them to organize their day.
- Work-space: Try to set up a work-space for your child, where they can return to each day to do their school-work. This will help them to get into the daily routine. It may have to be the kitchen table, or the coffee table in the sitting-room, but if it is ‘their space’ they are more likely to return to it each day and get down to work.
- Storage: try to help them organize their books and pencil cases and to store them in one place, so that they are easier to access each day. (try keep them out of reach of their younger siblings who may wish to practice their own drawing/scribbling. This will cut down on a lot of stress for each child!)
- Use all available media: there are wonderful learning opportunities available to children from a variety of media. We urge you to encourage your child to use all of these:
o Cúla 4 on TG4 have a range of Irish Language programmes each morning, which we would encourage your children to access. They may not understand all of what is presented, but exposure to the Irish Language is in itself a very valuable part of learning
o The Homeschool Hub on RTE,- which features our very own múinteoir John Sharpson- offers a variety of learning experiences for primary school children
o Books, books books!: We cannot encourage children enough to pick up a book and read. It is a life-long skill, and a love of reading, once established will never leave. If your child is a reluctant reader, or struggles with reading, try to set a short time in the day or the evening where you can sit down with them and read.
o Online learning: the internet provides a vast variety of learning experiences for children. Just be careful to monitor your child’s internet activity and keep reminding them of the importance of internet safety. More information on this can be sourced at webweise.ie.
Look after your own well-being!
One really important message to our parents: please be kind to yourselves! Remote learning is not easy! We will try to break down each day, so that you and your child know what is expected of them. We will try to support you as best we can, but we fully appreciate the extra burden this places on you and your families.
Just remember that ‘about good enough’ is absolutely perfect when it comes to learning from home! When your child has done the work assigned, praise them, acknowledge their work and then put it away. Your children are resilient and when they return to school, we will pick up their learning from where they are, and we will take it from there.
So parents, be good to yourself, and remember the advice when you get on the airplane- put your own oxygen mask on first, before attending to others! This is an important reminder that we cannot look after others if we don’t look after ourselves.
A final few words….
As you know, school is where children learn best, and school offers so many opportunities for social as well as emotional and cognitive development. There is nothing that we want more that to have our children back in school, and hopefully, this will be in happen in a few short weeks.
In the meantime, we want to do our utmost to you as parents to support remote learning for your children at home. I hope that the information provided in this message will be of use to parents.
If you need to contact the school, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be in touch with your children this Sunday evening with my video message and a timetable of activities for the week.
Until then, take care, stay safe, and continue to follow public health advice.