Newsletter 2nd April 2020
I hope you and all your families are keeping safe and well. It would have been very hard to predict a few weeks ago the situation we now find ourselves in.
This letter is a little lengthy but does have some useful information for you. So please find a quiet time over the next few days to look over it at your leisure and keep for reference.
I would like to start by thanking parents for their overwhelmingly positive response to our communications and their understanding of the difficult position which we find ourselves in. You have being doing some wonderful things with your children in the last week or so, thank you. We have received so many nice comments and grateful thanks from you regarding some of the work and tasks that have been set and some lovely feedback.
Having said that, just like you, we never expected to find ourselves in this situation. When we were told the schools were to close we had no notice and found out at the same time it was announced to everyone. Unfortunately, none of us received training on setting work remotely as a main means of educating children. There are therefore, going to be some teething troubles. Some teachers are still in school caring for children of Key Workers and some are self-isolating at home, so we are trying to get a consistent approach that addresses the majority of your children’s needs.
We want to provide work that supports the children and helps them to rehearse key skills and consolidate knowledge. Some of you have said you find it difficult accessing Class Dojo whereas some of you are loving it! Some are feeling overwhelmed with the
amount set and some are feeling there isn’t enough. Obviously, depending on the age of your child there will be different expectations set.
I am aware that some parents have found the last week more challenging than others. What I will say is there is no right or wrong way to do this. You know your child best and you are the foremost and primary educators of your children. This is not home schooling but an unprecedented emergency situation impacting on the whole world. What it is though, is a golden opportunity to spend quality time with your children supporting them and doing those fun activities that get squeezed out of our everyday lives.
We need to recognise that our children are worried, anxious and scared and, whilst we have tried to prepare them for the changes they are facing, this is to be expected. The realities of not seeing their friends everyday or being allowed to take part in their usual sports or leisure activities will now be starting to sink in. As adults we are finding this difficult, our children even more so.
What we don’t want to do is add to the stress that we are all already experiencing. You can’t possibly work at home doing your job and educate your child at the same time. They will test your patience at times and perhaps drive you up the wall! But they will need more reassurance, more comfort, more understanding and more love than ever before. They need to know this is going to be okay. Make sure family time is key each day; read together, sing together, exercise together, watch TV together. They need to know that things will return to normal. Where we can, we will support you in this too.
Now is a time to hold them close and support them through a very difficult time. You are doing a great job! Do what you can but the key things to remember are to read regularly, practice spellings, times tables and handwriting when you can and engage in some or all of the work set by the teachers at your own pace.
When we return! Obviously we have no clear idea of when this will be but once children are back we will be able to pick up with where they children are within their learning and we will revisit areas before moving on so we don’t have “gaps in their learning”. I am sure your child will not be disadvantaged in the long term if they don’t cover the same content as other children during their time at home. The teachers will be able to support them as well as ever upon their return.
Please know that we are here to support each other and that we are all in this together. Anything we can do, we will. Please don’t hesitate to contact us via email but bear with us if it takes a little while to respond.
I would like to thank all school staff for how well they have tried to get to grips with this new situation. Like yourselves they have had to balance their own family lives, new ways of working in school supporting Key Worker children and setting up online learning. They have enabled us to make a lot of progress in a short time. I hope they are able to take some time over Easter for themselves to adjust and “take stock”.
Easter Holiday Home Learning.
In line with other local schools I have taken the decision not to set home learning activities over Easter with a lot of content. On Monday teachers will be sending out some Easter type activities for fun. If you could keep up with some reading and times tables too that would be great. If you wish to show us some of your creations via DOJO please do so. I am sure the teachers will be pleased to see the fun the children are having at Easter.
I am including some further information which may be of use but please, please, please just take it in the spirit in which it is intended and use what you wish, when you wish, if you wish!
Some further Ideas to help with home learning.
Whilst we are getting used to the new situation of home learning within the Wren Park Community there is a lot going on Nationally to help you at home- please see the following for ideas / resources (I don’t know how you are going to fit it all in-please don’t think you need to!)
A few weeks ago Coronavirus was simply something in the world news; for children as well as adults the world of Coronavirus is confusing. This short publication may be worth sharing with your child.
(Sorry you will have to type the web address in as the hyperlink won’t work- technology eh!)
I’ve also attached a ‘Feel Good’ booklet to share with your child IF you think it’s appropriate and a link to an online booklet written for children to explain the current COVID-19 crisis: https://www.flipsnack.com/CSKidsBooks/what-s-going-on.html
I have also attached some links that support mental health and well-being.
Below is a list of celebrities who are presenting a range of learning activities. I can’t validate each of them but I have had a look at most and they seem like fun. Remember though that even these celebrities are not as good as a parent! However they may be good breaks for both children and parents throughout the school week. Unless you have already trained your children with household chores and making lunches then I know it will be a bit of a balancing act trying to get everything done!
Don’t feel guilty about letting the children go online a little or watch some of these programmes. All your good work needs to be sustainable so don’t burn yourselves out in the first few weeks by trying to do everything. –Just keep an eye on their online activities and check they are being safe and responsible.
If you “google” the celebrity and their activity you should be able to access their online activity.
PE with Joe Wicks - Streamed at 9am, daily
Fitness guru The Body Coach is leading a 30-minute livestream on his YouTube channel every morning with workouts created specifically for kids. Kick off your day with some exercise and keep your energy levels up!
Geography & Environmental Studies with Steve Backshall - Streamed at 9.30am, every Wednesday
Bring the wild into your living room with naturalist and TV presenter Steve Backshall! He'll be answering all of your burning questions about animals, conservation and the environment with his live Q&A broadcast across Facebook and YouTube.
Maths with Carol Vorderman - Access anytime
Legendary Countdown alumnus and mathematician Carol Vorderman has opened up her incredible maths website The Maths Factor to the public, giving free access to 4-12 year olds until they go back to school.
Science with Maddie Moate and Greg Foot - Streamed at 11am, daily
Join Maddie Moate from CBeebies' Do You Know every day for a science lesson with a twist, all from the comfort of your own home! Let's Go Live features quirky garden activities, craft ideas and plenty of fun facts to keep little brains busy.
Dance with Oti Mabuse - Streamed at 11.30am, daily
Oti Mabuse is bringing some Strictly magic to your living room every morning with her free daily livestreams where she and Marius Lepure will be teaching you how to dance like a pro in just half an hour. Each day has a different theme - so far there's been Mary Poppins, Trolls and even Shrek!
English with David Walliams - Released at 11am, daily
Bestselling children's author and brilliant comedian David Walliams is releasing an audio version of one of his stories each day on his website at 11am. When you've got a quiet moment during the day, settle down and listen to his hilarious 20-minute storytelling session and escape the world for a bit.
Food Tech with Jamie Oliver - Streamed at 5.30pm, daily
Chef Jamie Oliver is releasing new episodes every day of his Keep Cooking and Carry On series on Channel 4, focusing on how to make the most of what you've already got in the kitchen. Plus, Jamie's 9-year-old son Buddy has an entire playlist on YouTube dedicated to kid-friendly cooking that you can join in with.
History with Dan Snow - Access anytime
The History Guy Dan Snow is offering free access to his website History Hit for 30 days, which you can use to help stick to your history curriculum. You'll find documentaries on everything from Roman Britain to Jack the Ripper and everything in between.
Music with Myleene Klass - Released at 10am Monday, 6.30pm Wednesday, 10am Friday
Enrol in Myleene’s Music Klass, where she'll be posting 3 lessons a week to get your children's music abilities flowing. You'll learn all the basics about rhythm and reading music and who knows, you may even end up with some mini Mozarts by the time lockdown is over!
Story Time with Amy Adams, Chris Pratt and more - Access whenever
Loads of huge Hollywood stars have joined forces to bring you Save With Stories - an Instagram account where celebrities read their favourite children's stories and sing their favourite songs to keep your kids entertained.
Home Economics with Theo Michaels - Streamed at 4pm, Monday and Wednesday
Join Masterchef semi-finalist and TV chef Theo in a live family-friendly cook-along as you create something delicious from your cupboards. He usually posts the ingredients you'll need on his website beforehand, so you can check you have it all ready.
Just to remind you that should you have a Safeguarding concern at this time then it is important that you raise this with us. At school we have two Designated Safeguarding Leads’ myself and Mrs. Pettit. You can contact us through school.
If you have immediate concerns over the safety and welfare of a child and can’t get hold of us then please contact the following sources for advice: