Welcome back to Term 3 of the most unusual school year in my long career in education. I hope that you, your immediate and extended families are well.
There is a lot of speculation in the media about children returning to school, perhaps for one day a week. This is really nothing more than idle talk. We will be in full lock-down situation at least until May 5th and at that time the Minister will make further announcements. Nobody, not even the Minister, knows at this stage what the next phase will be like. He, along with all schools, will take the advice of the Chief Medical Officer. So speculation doesn’t really help us at all. We can only hope.
Today is our first day ‘back’ at school and we all need to try to get back to some sort of routine with the children. You will have received a schedule of work for your children and we hope that you and your children are up and running on the platforms and have begun to re-engage with school work.
The message today as always is to focus on the positives and do what you can. You and your children will soon get the hang of Seesaw. The more you and they engage the easier it will become but don’t expect to be expert immediately. Don’t panic!
The younger the child, the shorter the amount of time you can expect on ‘academic work’. We would recommend about one full hour for younger children and two full hours for older children over the course of the day of 'academic ' tasks. That would be fabulous if you can manage it.
Remember children are always learning. Playing a board game, jigsaws, brainteasers etc. will challenge them in a fun way and will feel like a break for the children. Keeping fit, reading books, listening to audio books are all great ways to encourage further engagement and to promote a healthy body and mind. Lots of apps from Linda on the home page in Aladdin should also help to entertain the children while they are learning. Definitely give yourself a break from 11am to 12 noon while the children watch the RTE hub. This is suitable for children from 1st class up to 6th. Children in 5th and 6th on Edmodo should be able to engage with the assigned work, without too much support from home.
I am delighted to have received lots of emails from you thanking us for our efforts to support our families during this very unusual time. I have also received some emails from parents who are worried about the level of support that they can give their children with their online learning. Please do not think that the other parents are all managing to do a great job with this. Everyone is struggling. This situation has been thrust upon us all and we have to do what best for us and for our families.
You know your family best. You know your children best. You know what resources are available to you in your house, what physical resources, computers, I phones or I pads, text books etc. You know what space you have in your house for children to learn. You know what other work or health related stresses might be on your family. But most of all you and only you know how to strike the right balance between your own emotional and mental reserves and what is possible or desirable for your family. Please do not stress yourself with the online learning work that we are sending out. Remember that when all this is over, we will work really hard with your children to make sure that they recover in their learning.
So, be gentle with your children and yourselves and do what you can and what makes sense in your family. Health and well-being are more important than ever during this Covid -19 emergency.
We will be having our assembly on Friday at 1 pm. It may be live or it may be recorded. We are looking at both options at the moment. I will be in touch again soon about this.
Contact your child’s class teachers with any concerns about log-ins, lack of text books or online work. They will be available to answer you between 10am and 12 noon each school morning.
If you have other concerns, about your family or your children’s well-being, or lack of food in your home , please contact myself, Gemma or Linda (Home School Liaison Teacher) in the strictest of confidence and we will do our best to help you out.
firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Warmest regards to you all