We hope that you are all keeping safe and well.
Thank you for all your support in these unprecedented and difficult times. We have received lots of positive feedback from parents about the activities provided, and teachers have been monitoring the activities on Bug Club, Mathletics and Hwb and seeing the achievements of the pupils.
The new “Home Learning Hub” on the school website (found in the drop down menu from “Children”) is being updated weekly with activities for your child. We do not want you to worry or feel anxious about “teaching” your child. We want you to enjoy this time together and have fun!
The date for the re-opening of schools has not yet been determined so, looking forward to the new academic year, we thought that we would give some guidance as to what the average child in each Year group would have achieved by the end of this year in maths and writing skills, and this will help to prepare them for starting school again in September. Remember this is an average – we know that children develop at their own pace and some children will have exceeded these expectations, whilst others are working towards them.
On each class page in the Learning Hub you will find a Mathletics document which explains the expectations in Maths for each year group. The web link is called - Mathletics Tasks (Aligned to the Welsh Curriculum). The first column has the expectation – what the child is expected to do eg, use 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p coins to pay for items (Reception expectation). The third column then gives the Mathletics activity to accompany this. You are then able to devise your own activities for your child, eg, playing shops with tins of food – buying and selling.
From using Bug Club, reading skills are already being developed and are ability appropriate. Teachers are closely monitoring the progress of the children and setting books accordingly.
Teachers have set writing tasks as part of the context/topic work. The progression of skills for each year group can be found in the English section of each Learning Hub. Children can use these documents to help them include all the relevant skills pertinent to their writing task. Spelling lists can also be found on the English page.
Should you need to contact staff an email has been set up for you :
Advice to remember when home learning:
- You are, and always have been, your child’s primary educator. If you decide your child isn’t going to engage with the activities and wants to spend the day playing in the garden, or baking or watching tv, then that is your choice. Please take each day as it comes and don’t stress about it.
- You cannot facilitate learning with a small child AND work from home at the same time, it’s not possible, so if you are trying please stop. Just try to set aside a time to work with your child daily, short bursts…let them become independent, let them be creative and arrange some of their own time, you are not a constant entertainment show
- It won’t be possible to replicate a full school timetable. Giving yourself and your children permission to accept this can be a big weight lifted.
- Know when to take a break. Sometimes your child will need one, and sometimes you will - this is fine!
- Expect stress – This is an uncertain and unpredictable situation, stress and anxiety are normal.
- Reassure your children – Children can sometimes believe they are responsible for things that are beyond their control. Reassure children that it is the adult’s job to make sure things are OK and to keep them safe.
- Help children stay connected to their friends – Friendships are a key resiliency factor for children and young people. Is it possible for children to talk to their friends on the phone? Perhaps establish a safe supervised group Skype or WhatsApp call? Perhaps they could write letters to each other?
- Normalise the experience – Reassure children that lots of adults and other children are in the same situation.
- Have a routine and structure – Having a plan and a predictable routine for the day can be very reassuring. As adults we like to know what is going to happen, and children like this too. A consistent routine lets everyone be secure about the plans for the day. It is often useful to involve children in creating this routine, so that they feel part of the plan, rather than the plan being imposed on them. You could display the routine using a timeline, or maybe pictures and visuals. Encourage children to develop independence by referring to their own routine/plan themselves.
- Please don’t worry if the routine isn’t perfect, especially with younger children – Remember, this isn’t a normal situation. If you find that planning and sticking to the routine is causing more stress, friction or conflict, then it’s OK to be more ‘free-flow’. Perhaps be guided by the activities that children want to do.
- Avoid putting too much pressure on academic work – Most parents and carers aren’t teachers and so it’s OK not to be doing ‘school work’ for six hours a day. It might be more important to be spending time together, building relationships, enjoying shared activities and reassuring children, as opposed to replicating the school timetable.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and draw attention to them when you do - show your child that it’s okay to get things wrong.
- Use ‘yet’. If your child says that they ‘can’t do’ something just add the word ‘yet’ - it can really change how you and they feel about the situation.
- Try to keep work in one place – If children are doing school work or project work at home, try to keep it all in one place so that it doesn’t spread out over the house. This can help to maintain a work/home boundary. We know that people live in different circumstances that might mean this isn’t always possible, so perhaps there might be other ways to ‘signal’ the end of working e.g. putting away the work and then enjoying a favourite song or shared dance!
- Reduce access to rolling news – It is important to keep up to date with new developments and announcements, but it can be hard to switch off from the constant stream of news from media outlets and social media. Reduce the time spent hearing, reading or watching news.
- Supervise children with screens – Try to ensure all children have a balanced range of activities each day. Involve children and young people in these discussions so that they feel part of the plan (NB – screen time is fine - but too much screen time can cause problems)
- Provide reassurance about tests being cancelled – Young people may now be concerned about the announcement that tests this term will not be going ahead as planned. They may feel like all their hard work has been for nothing.
- Finally, but very importantly, please play – Play is fundamental to children’s wellbeing and development. It’s also a great way to reduce stress in adults.
Stay safe and take care,
Alex Riordan and the Staff of St Joseph’s Primary School