What a joy it has been to have the lovely students back at school this week in Northbridge International School Cambodia. We were all a little nervous about how the students would react but we have been amazed at their resilience and confidence at returning to school and settling into their new classes.
Their adaptability to the new rules around the school has been very smooth. This has been challenging, but they have managed to keep wearing their masks and maintain social distance. I know dropping students outside the gates and not being able to walk them into class has also been different for parents and I thank you for your understanding. Most importantly we have seen happy students, engaged in learning.
I have been talking this week with the teachers about the challenges and successes they have faced. As A PYP, inquiry based school we are used to students collaborating with each other, moving around, discussing and sharing their understanding. Teachers have been challenged in how to maintain this within the current regulations but there has been some amazing innovation and adaptation to still make learning fun, engaging and meaningful.
At the same time we have to consider the needs of our online learners and how we connect meaningfully with them through technology. In one Grade 3 class students were encouraged to share learning by visiting different stations in the room and adding notes and comments to a range of different prompts. In Grade 5 students in class connected with those at home through technology to ensure connectivity between students in school and those at home. In our EL classes, play equipment was arranged strategically so that students could engage in a range of activities whilst still maintaining their distance.
So what did the students think? The ones I spoke to were extremely happy to be back in school. They have loved seeing their friends again, and for our new students getting to know their new classmates. Interestingly none of them thought that wearing a mask was too much of a problem and they thought school had been interesting and fun this week.
They are not so keen on having to sit separately in the canteen though and also that they can only play in certain areas. They are also keen to start borrowing books again from the library which will start as soon as we can. For our online learners they continue to link with their teachers and classes through google links and have similar tasks to complete.
These are just a few examples of the innovative practice that is happening around school to keep within the guidelines and also ensure students are happy and involved in focused learning. On Thursday afternoon our teachers got together to share the techniques and strategies that have worked well and to further explore new ways of working.
As one of the first schools to open its doors to students here in Cambodia I would like to thank all the students for making the first week so positive. The teachers have worked doubly hard and have coped incredibly well in maintaining a blended learning approach which is an extra complexity.
I have missed seeing parents as we would on a normal school day but have managed to meet some of you at the start and end of each day at the Primary gate. I look forward to many more weeks ahead.
Wishing you a lovely weekend.