Families encouraged to structure the days

Shelley Wilde
Shelley Wilde
‘‘Routines are reassuring for young people.’’

That is the message Otago principals are sharing with parents as they prepare to go into lockdown with their children.

Otago Primary Principals’ Association president Shelley Wilde said schools would be on holiday from March 30 until April 14, but from April 15 onwards, teachers would be working from home, implementing the plan they have to help pupils work from home.

‘‘Depending on the age of the children and depending on each school, it will be a mixture of online and emailed learning material, and some schools will provide hard copy resources to pupils.’’

Included in the material would be some suggestions of how pupils should schedule their learning days, she said.

‘‘We know how important it’s going to be for families and children to be in some sort of routine once April 15 comes around.

‘‘It will be suggestions like beginning some of the remote learning at 9am. Maybe do some for about an hour and then have a physical activity break and something to eat and drink.

‘‘Then start learning again at 11am. Just try to keep the days like school days, Monday to Friday.

‘‘Keeping it routine will give the children a little bit of reassurance. They respond really well to routine.’’

She said the learning material provided by teachers would not be vastly new, because they did not expect parents or caregivers to provide the same level of guidance with new learning that a teacher was trained to provide.

‘‘A lot of it will be broadening and extending the learning that children have already been doing.

‘‘There will also be quite a lot of suggestions about how to use time creatively and imaginatively, to create learning out of the things you do at home, like contributing to chores, cooking, baking, making up budgets, even deciding what television programmes you’re going to watch.

‘‘It’s the practical application of curriculum learning into your day to day life.’’

Otago Secondary Principals’ Association president Linda Miller said keeping to a routine would also be helpful for secondary pupils.

She said pupils would be taking part in online meetings with teachers and classmates, using all of the technology available to them, so it would be helpful if parents could provide a space where they could work on their own.

For pupils who did not have electronic devices at home, schools were providing them along with support for internet connections, she said.

‘‘Generally, learning will continue online. It will be a mix of syncronous [classes using Zoom or Google hangouts to work together] and asyncronous [individuals working on different things at different times] delivery, depending on the learning that’s happening and what the needs of the students are.’’


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