To all our wonderful children and families, 

I hope you are all keeping well. Last Thursday was the strangest day our school can remember with the sudden announcement that we would be closing in three hours’ time for two weeks.

We didn’t have the time we needed to help get the children and you ready for homeschooling. For the sake of their emotional health, we could not share any talk of closing with the children until it was a reality. It is different for 2nd level facing state exams students but our children are still very young. 

We did not have time to explain individual work plans with them and you or explain anything to you. We’ve had some time over the past few days so we have set up individual pages for all classes which will explain to you how to manage the work we have sent home.

These pages offer suggested timetables and amounts of time to spend on different topics every day. We are not expecting every bit of work we have sent home to be done, so again, please just use our suggested timetables and times per activity as a guide.

Our school may be closed but we still want to help you as much as we can. Stay well and see you all soon.

Best wishes,

Siobhán Weekes

 

Homeschool is a Different Experience Than School

You have been thrown into this situation. You all have enough pressures and other things to deal with at this strange and stressful time. Many of you will still be working and are still trying to figure out childcare. Just remember that we know you’re not teachers and no-one expects you to become experts overnight. Anything you can do to support your child during this unusual time would be great.

It is important to remember that each child is different. Plus, as you may be working, either from home or otherwise, all activities and suggestions won’t be practical or possible. We’ve provided the work and schedule to try and help you and the children at this time – we do not want any of this work or ideas to cause any stress whatsoever.

 

Routine

  • Try to keep a routine every day. Get up and dressed as normal, have breakfast and have an area where the children can base themselves for their work.
  • In school, the children have regular active breaks and of course a chance to just relax. Make sure the children keep this part of their routine –doing straight school work for hours on end is not of any great benefit to any child.

 

Staying Active and Healthy

  • We are all meant to be practicing social distancing so all of our usual day-to-day activities have changed. However, we can still get out and get some fresh air and it’s important for everyone to get some exercise and fresh air every day (otherwise we will go mad!). Whether it’s a walk to the park or a cycle or scoot, fresh air is encouraged and is the best way to release pent-up energy from being at home all day.
  • There are also lots of ways children can stay active indoors. Join in with them and have some fun doing it! Here are some good online resources:
  • Go Noodle https://www.gonoodle.com/
  • 10 at 10 https://rtejr.rte.ie/10at10/
  • Joe Wicks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3LPrhI0v-w
  • Yoga https://www.cosmickids.com/
  • Movement Breaks ttps://standupkids.org/movement-break/
  • Try to stick to healthy snacks and meals and remind the children to drink water regularly.

 

Screen Time

  • As our children will have to spend more time apart from their friends and other family members at this time, having social media to stay feeling connected is a good thing.
  • Agree daily screen time with the children and stick to it – this will avoid any arguments that happen all to easily when it’s time to turn off the game.
  • Visit webwisefor guidance and advice to ensure that the children are safe online.

 

Online Educational Resources

There are a number of free online resources to help keep school-going children busy.

We will be posting all new online resources as we come across them on Twitter – sign up and follow our account so that you can access these. To sign up to Twitter, all you need is a phone number or email address. You only have to follow us if you want to cut back on time spent on social media. 

Here are some to get you started:

If you’re not sure the equivalent of your child’s class in other English-speaking countries, here’s a handy document: Comparing Class and Grade Levels

 

Self-play

Encourage the children to entertain themselves as much as possible. It stimulates the mind and encourages creativity. This could be anything from baking, arts, and crafts, painting or outdoor play.

 

Life Skills

This is a great opportunity to help the children learn other things as well. Encourage them to help more at home and maybe pick up a new skill or two. 

Younger children can learn things like how to tie their shoe laces, how to get completely dressed themselves. For older children, learning some basic cooking skills or housekeeping would also be great. You’re all in this together so get them to help out more. 

 

What should I tell my children about Coronavirus?

Children are going to be naturally curious about the coronavirus and will more than likely ask questions. The Department of Education issued some good advice for talking to children about the virus and can be found here.

It’s important we acknowledge their fear and admit we are all a little worried about the virus. Allow them to express their worries and reassure them that the doctors are working hard to find a cure. It’s also important to maintain a routine and reassure them that during their time off school you will spend lots of time together and you have lots of fun things to do.