Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that you are all well and managed to enjoy some of the Winter sunshine over the weekend. Walking and talking is certainly the main social event at the moment! Today sees our virtual Burns Supper available on the school website. A huge thanks to everyone who sent in dancing videos – unfortunately we couldn’t use them all for the Burns Supper but I know that teachers enjoyed watching everybody. Well done to all of those who addressed the haggis and toasted the lassies and the laddies.
As we now know that learning from home will continue until Feb 16th at the earliest, it is important that we continually review what seems to be going well and what we can or might be able to improve. This is somewhat challenging as families have quite different views on this. However I am hoping that the following might help :
There is too much to do
Different circumstances dictate what families are able to do. Most important is the children’s (and your own) wellbeing. Please do what you can in the time that you are able to give and do not worry that you are not doing enough. Children are learning all the time and in lots of different ways. Our children are incredibly resilient and will learn from reading a story at night, helping to make a shopping list, watching a BBC schools programme, walking along the walkway and looking for signs of Winter, following a recipe etc as well as from, or sometimes more than from, the assigned learning activities.
How do I know what are the most important learning activities?
Teaching staff will often indicate activities to focus on. If choosing only a few it is a good idea to select these.
There is not enough learning being provided
Teaching staff are providing a range of different learning experiences. Our aim is for these activities to be engaging and interesting and, as far as is possible, able to be completed independently by the children. As per the CEC guidance for parents and carers it is hoped for pupil engagement of about 15 – 20 hours per week. Please note this is simply a guide. Some children can take half an hour to simply find a pencil!
Do I need to upload everything my child completes?
No. Please upload what you can as it is great to see what the children are learning. However we are aware that different devices can make uploading a challenge.
Will my child get feedback on everything they do?
Feedback comes in different forms. Staff may simply acknowledge a piece of learning that has been shared, they may make reference to it on a TEAMS call, they may provide written comments, they may allow the children the opportunity to self or peer assess. This is similar to the classroom. The aim of feedback is to encourage and give children a sense of how to improve. Please see this as a partnership. If you are able to talk over with your child what they have completed and support them this is extremely helpful.
Can we get a daily timetable?
It is impossible to get this right for everyone as some families need complete flexibility as to when children complete learning from home whereas others prefer a ‘do this at this time’ approach. Responding to feedback has prompted us to move to using SWAY, at some stages, as a means of sharing with the children what they have to do. One of the skills we aim to teach is time management and it is encouraging to see some of our older children planning how and when they will complete their learning.
TOP TIPS for learning from home:
- Do what you can, when you can
- Use the excellent schools programmes on the BBC
- Remember a huge part of the school day is social interaction, looking for a lost sweatshirt, going to the toilet, eating snack, looking for a pencil, going to the toilet again, eating lunch, playing with friends with some literacy, numeracy and other areas in between! Seriously, our learners do not sit at a desk from 9.00am to 3.00pm. They share, they collaborate, they listen, they talk, they play. The fact that this lockdown allows children to meet and to play is of huge benefit to them and, I hope, to you. Build this in to the day.
- Congratulate yourself on what you are achieving rather than worrying about what hasn’t been done.
Little did we know last year what was ahead of us. I am so proud of how our school community continues to work together, how we look for solutions, how we understand and support each other – we really are all in this together. We may have to wait a bit longer than we all want for life to return to normal but that day will come. In the meantime we just need to be patient (possibly a new school value), take each day as it comes and be kind to ourselves and others. We are here to help if we can.
P.S. Please see below for information regarding spaces for learning in school
The criteria for a space for learning in school is very strict. Spaces are for children of key workers
- who meet the criteria set by Scottish government – proof of this is required from employers
- where both parents / carers are keyworkers (in the case of single parent families, the parent who the child resides with)
- where there is no other adult (family, neighbour) available to provide childcare
Space is provided only for the days that parents / carers are working.
I have gone on the assumption that everyone is being honest and I sincerely hope that this is the case. It has been brought to my attention however, that space may have been given where it shouldn’t. As schools are being asked to support keeping people safe and at home by keeping the numbers in school as low as possible, I would ask that everyone who has a space checks their eligibility. I am sorry that I have had to ask for this but I am sure you will understand. Please do not hesitate to call if you wish to discuss this further.