Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope that you and your family are keeping well in these very difficult times.
I know that many of you might be struggling about how best to support your children and their learning over the next few weeks. Remember that this is only a few (hopefully short) weeks in your child’s eight-year career in primary school and it is the same for every child in the country, so no child is at an advantage or a disadvantage. They are all in the same boat.
I would like to make a few points here:
- This is an unprecedented crisis that has hit the whole world. Your main focus over the next few weeks when schools are closed is to look after your family’s physical health and mental well-being, as well as your own.
- We do not want to bombard your families with work that may add extra pressure to your families.
- We know that you do not all have i-pads and laptops that might be available to children or printers to print out worksheets. We know that some of you have lots of children to support and some of you have children preparing for state exams.
- We intend to send further suggestions and perhaps a more structured timetable for the week beginning the 30th March which should bring us up to the Easter holidays.
- The work that we send is merely a menu, a list of suggestions. Some children and parents are looking for structure and welcome a structured timetable. Others find it cumbersome and intrusive. We do not want any family to struggle under the burden of additional stress from schools. Please consider any work that is sent out as suggestions that may help you as a parent to purposefully occupy and support your children.
- The work will be focused on reading, writing, maths, active and creative work. It will contain ideas for sport, art and time out.
- You are and always have been the primary educator of your child. You decide what is right and possible for your children over the next few weeks. Pick and choose. Please do not see it as an additional chore that has to be done, particularly if you are undergoing other stresses at this time, as many of you are.
- There is a lot of learning in basic things like cooking, cleaning, helping, being kind and the games we played ourselves as children.
- We are clearly stating that this is not work that we expect the children to do. They are not in school. You are not their teacher. You have not made the choice to home school. This has been forced upon you as on ourselves. Remember that children cannot be expected to sit at a table for 5 hours to work without the support of their peers, teachers and SNAs.
- Anything children do not get done or have missed will be covered together when we return to school.
- Decide what’s right for you and your family and hopefully the suggested work will be a help rather than burden.
I will finish off with our first point – look after yourself, your physical health and your well-being so that you can look after your children. Wash your hands and remember social distancing. Very hard for children I know.
Remember that this too shall pass and we will be back in school (soon I hope) working harder than ever to make sure that your children continue to thrive in school.