I wrote in my newsletter piece two weeks ago as to some of the reasons why we are keeping our Easter break as planned but I feel I should expand a little on this here today.
Four weeks ago your children stopped attending ‘physical school’ and from the following Monday they embarked on the Virtual School Experience we launched. Over the last three and a half weeks our teachers and leaders have worked harder than they have ever worked in their careers to deliver this school experience. Whilst we had spent the previous six weeks preparing for campus closure, training staff, resourcing and preparing for ‘virtual schooling’ none of us could have imagined the time and energy it would take to deliver.
Simple actions such as feeding back on progress to children, registering a class and communicating with students and colleagues have become, at times, almost Everest like in their challenge. Our staff have worked tirelessly to adapt to this new way of working and adapt our provision on a weekly basis as we continue to look to improve our offer.
All of our staff will need to spend considerable time over the Easter break preparing lessons, adapting programmes of study and most importantly finding some time for rest before the beginning of the summer term. Whilst we do not know when school will restart we need to continue to plan to deliver the very best programme possible to all of our learners for what could possibly be the whole of the summer term.
Feedback from many of our parents and students concerning their experiences over the first three weeks of Virtual schooling has also highlighted the need for our students to take a rest away from the screen and their school work. They need time to adjust to this change in their lives, time to experience the peace and quiet of a new pace of life and most importantly time to relax with their siblings and family members where special moments can be created and cherished. We have provided children with activities and challenges that they may wish to complete over the Easter break but I must stress that everything is optional. I was sent a message via Facebook yesterday from another teacher in the UK which I think is worth sharing with you at this time:
What if??? If they cancel the rest of the school year, students would miss 4 months of education. Many people are concerned about students falling behind because of this. Yes, they ‘could’ fall behind when it comes to classroom education...
But what if..
What if instead of falling “behind", this group of kids are ADVANCED because of this?
Hear me out...
What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves, they love to read, they love to express themselves in writing.
What if they enjoy the simple things, like their own backyard and sitting near a window in the quiet.
What if they notice the birds and the dates the different flowers emerge, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?
What if they learn to value and cherish school, their friends, daily contact in the playground and classroom and appreciate every moment of interaction with their teacher?
What if this generation are the ones to learn to cook, organise their space, do their washing, and keep a well run home?
What if they learn to stretch a pound and to live with less?
What if the learn to be more independent learners taking greater responsibility for their own learning, understanding that they ultimately earn the grade that reflects their effort?
What if they learn to plan shopping trips and meals at home.
What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good to share in the small delights of the everyday?
What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants and the previously invisible essential support workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics, and health care workers and their supporting staff, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place?
What if among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life?
What if they are AHEAD?
I wish every one of our school community a wonderfully enriching and fulfilling Easter Family break and pray for your safety and health at these challenging time.