Back to school: What term 2 looks like
CHILDREN of essential workers stepped back into classrooms this week and it’s in an environment worlds away from the one they left just weeks ago with strict social distancing measures in place.
Jim Brennan, principal of St John’s said they had just over 200 students attend school today, April 23 out of their usual 765 students.
“We are sitting around 30 per cent which is quite high,” he said.
“It’s a reflection of what parents believe is the best learning environment for their child.”
Mr Brennan said the feedback they have received in the first week is that parents have been appreciative of the teachers efforts, particularly working through technical issues.
“There have been few challenges with parents and their familiarity with the platforms we use, like Microsoft Teams,” he said.
“It’s only the first week for parents to get used to these platforms, but it’s getting better each day.”
Teachers at St John’s have been getting creative with how they deliver their content.
Some teachers have videoed themselves reading a book and others have created helpful resources for parents like ‘200 offline activities kids can do outside’.
“It’s great to see teachers videoing a lot of what they do, like reading or power-points embedded with tools,” he said.
“The important part of when doing a digital platform is that there is a lot of screen time, so teachers are conscious to create activities to take students away from the screen.”
The principal believes there has been a silver lining within this pandemic.
“There has been learning for everybody – students, staff and parents,” he said.
“When we come out of this on the other side, we’ve learnt new practices that we will be able to hang onto.
“Like staff utilisation of ICT platforms which is really progressed in a way that we wouldn’t have anticipated without this time.
“A sense of collegiality when fronted with period of difficulty and seeing people work together to find solutions to these problems, it’s reaffirming to see people band together.”
The school encourages children to bring their waterbottles to avoid use of the bubblers.
There has been stricter measures enforced in the classroom, like wiping down chairs, tables, door handles and benches daily.
“Fortunately we have a lot of playground space so children can distance themselves,” the principal said.
“We are gathering feedback from staff and parents and reflecting on what practice and adjustments can be made.
“At the moment, we are well planned for students to receive their learning.”