The Ministry of Education has clarified the situation moving forward for us. The page of ‘Links and Ideas’ I supplied to you yesterday are to cover until Friday, with the holidays offically starting on Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools). So on Wednesday 15 April we will be starting Term 2 using a virtual platform until we are informed we are allowed back on-site. I believe that the Ministry is still developing guidelines on what this online learning should encompass, however, expect all our teachers to be making contact with your children on the 15th April ready to go.
Below is a letter from a fellow Principal, I believe is very wise and includes much for you to reflect on as we move through these times.
Dear Parents and Caregivers
You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your children. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing…
Our children are just as scared as we are right now. Our children not only can hear everything that is going on around them , but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off school for weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.
Over the coming weeks, you’ll see an increase in behaviour issues with your children. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally-it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behaviour in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.
What children need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s going to be OK. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love your children a bit more. Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips to the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing.
Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single child is in this boat and they will all be OK. When we are back in the classroom, we will all course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this!
Don’t pick fights with your children because they don’t want to do Maths. Don’t scream at children for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate two hours of learning time if they are resisting it.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all this, your child(ren)’s mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those weeks is long gone. So keep that in mind, every single day.