Online Learning - A Letter to Parents
Dear Parents and Carers,
I wanted to write and let you know that I think you are doing a great job in very difficult times.
Thank you for keeping in touch and working with us. We love to hear how everyone is getting on and what everyone is up to. I truly feel that, despite the distance, our school community is growing stronger together. We can do this!
I’m sure that many of you are finding that the novelty of home-schooling has worn off! We know it’s hard. Lots of the Newtown teachers are also at home trying to balance their work commitments with the pressures of home-schooling their own children. I’m sure they won’t mind me sharing that home-schooling often goes pair-shaped and ends up in tears – not always the children’s!
Every family is different and we understand that each of you is trying to find a way to make things work during the current lock down restrictions. Therefore I remind you of a Dojo message I sent out several weeks ago, where I stressed that the wellbeing of your family is more important than formal learning at home, especially if the home learning leads to stress and anxiety.
Please remember that we do not expect children to complete all of the work that is set each week, but it is there if you want or need it. If you only have the time to help your child with one or two pieces of learning a day, prioritise hearing your children read and sharing stories. You don’t have to try and produce lots of work, but spend time together, doing things together and enjoying the pleasure of this as a family. It is great if you can have meal together, use the time to talk to your children, ask questions, tell stories or share things you are grateful for - opportunities for talk help develop language and social interactions as well as support wellbeing.
Please don’t be worried that your children might be missing out on their learning. This will only add to the stress that you are all under and can often lead to you and your child being put off learning - which isn’t beneficial for anyone. If there are any gaps in learning that might need to be supported, as a result of this time away from school, we will address these when we return to a more ‘normal’ school model.
Children are resilient and bounce back quickly. Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, schools in the region were closed for many weeks – these children did not have access to online learning, however once schools reopened the results for these pupils did not suffer, in fact they went on to exceed previous results. Likewise, pupils who have been taken out of school to travel the world with their parents for several months, have returned to school to find that they perform better than their peers. Research into missed schooling has found that the ‘richness’ of the experiences and relationships during the time away from the school can have a direct and positive impact on pupils’ attainment and learning attitudes when they return to formal studies. Therefore, feel free to take a more organic approach to learning – paint, write, sing, dance, work-out, cook, make, build, create, imagine, adventure, investigate, talk and share. Create those rich experiences together and have fun!
Every child and every school is facing the same challenges, but we will have the resources and a fabulous team of experienced staff to support you and your child when the school starts to re-open again.
I meet with the teachers weekly (online) to discuss how things are going and to plan for the future. One thing that is always on our agenda is who we have not heard from in the last week. If we don’t hear from you or your children we have a duty of care to get in touch to check that everything is okay. Please help us by ensuring that you are in touch, at least weekly, either by email, Dojo messaging or by your children submitting work via Google Classroom. If you do not have access to the internet at home, please call the school and check in with us.
In the meantime, we are here for you. Teachers are available on Class Dojo and will continue to work tirelessly to plan as many easy to access activities for you all to use, should you have the time or capacity. We are here to listen, support and help wherever it is needed. Please don’t feel that you need to try and achieve this on your own. We are here to offer our expertise and assistance wherever it may be needed. I am available too – I’m in school most days and you can contact me on the school number 01392 255540, the school mobile 07955787667, ClassDojo or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don’t feel you need to have a problem or a question to get in touch– if you just need a chat, I’m here to help!
Thank you again for your continued patience, encouragement and support during this unprecedented time.
I hope to see you all again soon, but in the meantime stay safe and well.
Mrs Sally Herbert