Dear Lower Parents –
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation during these crazy times! Our students have been making us all proud with just how well they have coped with all the disruptions this term, and their learning in general. Japan has proved to be such a fascinating and engaging topic it is such a shame it has all been so messed up. Our intention is to upload new info on the classes’ webpages each Monday, after Easter. But there are plenty of activities we have done / were going to do here for the next 2 weeks, so that you can do them at home if you wish. We are all in an unprecedented situation – personally, at school, nationally and internationally, and I am in the same situation as you - trying to work from home whilst supervising kids and supporting their school work! Here are my top general recommendations:
- Routine: Maintain some form of daily routine as most of our students, and kids in general, do need some amount of routine which gives them expectations and reassurance. I have had to do this routine to suit mine but please adopt the balance that works for you:
9am- Joe wicks PE You Tube! 9.30 breakfast 10-12.30 school work 12.30 lunch then free time 3-5pm play in garden with me - football / trampoline / exercise. After dinner family X box games 8-9 family TV episode. Bed.
You may wish to communicate that to your child with symbols – but if you don’t have relevant symbols or a computer I find very simple stick drawings generally work as long as they are structured, e.g. in an obvious format, same place each day, all the same size, numbered, ticked off as done – a wipe clean board works well for this.
- Communication: many of our students have communication books or communication aids and simply the best thing you can do to support their learning is to use these consistently with them, for day to day activities, for specific activities and tasks but also just commenting and choosing in general. If you are unsure how to encourage your children to use them then just you model (i.e. point and say) as much relevant language for them as possible.
- Reading: is a great activity for nearly all our students at lots of different levels; from engagement, playing with related objects / toys, repeating words / rhymes, pointing to relevant symbols with communication books, sight reading keywords, sounding out initial letter sounds for words, learning vocabulary, commenting on and describing the plot, answering questions, making predictions. You cannot read enough with your children!
- Playing: children learn by playing and they also relate to and respect us much more as adults when we play with them. Most of us will probably have more time to play with our kids now – me included - and even though our kids are Key Stage 3 many still have high play needs similar to younger children – encourage this and have fun! Schedule play times each day, make things fun, have a laugh with no specific plan or agenda, follow the kids ideas and interests, play cause and effect and copying games, play joke games, be stupid, get messy! We have a garden trampoline but my kids love it when I get on it with them and I have to bounce them as high as possible or wrestle (safely!).
- Outdoors: Weather is good at the moment (although please remember social distancing and isolating if you are) and we all benefit from fresh air, activity and exercise, maybe even sunshine! Get in the garden, play ball games, do some gardening, plant things, cut things down, make things – fiddle and play! Yesterday I cut up bits of wood with my kids and we made a catapult from a kitchen spoon and a bungee cord. Lots of ideas here: https://www.scouts.org.uk/activities/?size=Individuals,Pairs§ion=Beavers&setting=Outdoors
Key Stage 3 Lead