As I sit at my desk at the end of the day, I cannot remember in my 34-year career anything as I have experienced over the last 3 weeks. I am so proud of my colleagues, students and parents of our school, that I am busting at the seams. The teachers, educational assistants, administrative assistants, custodians have worked so hard through these last three weeks to get programs up and running as we have never needed to do before. All teachers feel like they are back in their first year of teaching and so having said that, we will make mistakes, but not because of a lack of effort. The turnaround from when we received the news on March 15th to get our first high school class online was 2 days, 1 week for our junior high students and elementary. We thank you for your patience throughout this transition time. Teachers have developed websites, new teaching platforms, and have done a ton of research to try to bring you, especially at the elementary level, material that will be engaging and fun while your children continue to learn.
I know that you have received a lot of emails, especially if you have multiple children in the school. This too will slow down now that things are underway. We hope that we as a staff will collectively send one elementary email, one junior high email and one senior high email a week unless there are specific concerns for certain students. If you do not want to have all the notifications come across your screen, you can turn those off.
I have been on a lot of Zoom meetings, I feel overwhelmed at times with the ever-changing information that comes our way, but we are slowly beginning to deal with the new normal. Within those Zoom meetings, there has been some excellent information shared that I would like to pass on to you at this time.
Things all kids need to flourish:
- Humour – It releases oxytocin/endorphins/dopamine.
- Acknowledgement – let them know that you see them. Talk with your children, ask them questions, let them guide the direction of the conversation this is important for language development.
- All kids need structure, which is not easy with what is going on right now, but the more of a schedule that you can create and follow during the week, the better it is for your children.
- Touch – in this day and age it seems that electronics have taken precedence, let them know that you are there with them and for them.
- Physical activity – if nothing else during the Covid19, it has been so nice to see families out for walks or bike rides together, keep doing that with your children. Doing this physical activity outside and enjoying nature is also important.
- Nutrition – we all know that proper nutrition is important for all of us. Let your children help with plan and prepare meals.
- Relaxation – teach them and show them how to focus on their breathing. Start for short periods and slowly increase the time.
- Encouragement – when encouraging, be specific.
- Socialization – free play, for young children let them use their imagination this is great for creativity and language development. Play helps with the development of executive functioning.
I know that all of you are continuing to do your best to move learning forward with your children and finding a happy balance. It takes time, but we will all get through this together. Thank you so much for all that you are doing. Please stay healthy and safe during this Pandemic. If there is anything that we can do as a school to assist you in any way please do not hesitate to contact us. Sending virtual hugs and high fives to all.