Another week in lockdown draws to a close. I hope you & your loved ones are well & staying safe.
Woodlands continues to be open for the children of key workers: we are happy to be able to help our key workers do their jobs knowing their children are safe & sound in school. The children have been getting up to all sorts of things: planting & watering vegetables in the raised beds at the front entrance of the school; playing football on the school field; making rainbows to hang from the tree at the front of the school; assembling & tasting(!) fruit kebabs; doing workouts with Joe Wicks; playing hockey on the junior playground; blowing, chasing & popping bubbles; playing hide & seek in the copse.
We’ve been up to an awful lot, but as you can see it’s not what we’d normally be doing in school. The children have not been learning how to tackle long division. They’re not practising using full stops, commas or fronted adverbials. They’re not being given spelling quizzes, times tables tests or handwriting practise. It’s more important that we keep the children happy & feeling safe & secure.
You may see, through social media or whatever, that other families have successfully turned their homes into mini versions of school & are seemingly able to give a huge portion of the day to school work (whether that’s set by staff at Woodlands or by the many celebrities who are holding classes each day). You must remember that while this may work for these families, it does not work for everybody. It’s great that they are able to do this, but please don’t feel that you are somehow failing your children if this educational utopia is not possible in your house. Many of you will be juggling your own work while trying to keep the children on task. We realise this whole situation is difficult.
The most important thing is to keep your children happy, safe & secure during this unprecedented time – this may involve hours of football in the back garden, arranging Zoom play dates with their friends or simply working their way through the Marvel films in chronological order. You need to do what is best for your family – you know them best & know what they need.
As educators, we obviously would like the children to complete the activities that are being posted on the class pages of the school website to the best of their ability. Don’t forget, from Monday 20th April (what would have been the first day back to school after the Easter break), Woodlands’ teachers will be changing the way the work is presented on each phase’s Home Learning page. They will be posting suggestions of a more structured home curriculum, with specific tasks to complete each week in English, maths & some foundation subjects. We hope this will be of help to the children (& parents) as we move into what would have been the summer term, but if it’s going to lead to World War III each day, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
The one area I would highlight as the most important is reading. Please encourage your children to read over this period – if they say they don’t like books it’s just because they haven’t find the right ones to read yet! There are so many wonderful books & wonderful authors who write about anything & everything – there’s no excuse not to read. It’s so important. Research has shown that children who read during the holidays actually do better with their reading (& therefore writing) when they return to school.
I know a lot of people are concerned that their children will ‘fall behind’ with their school work. Once this is over, & we return to some sort of normality (& no we don’t know any more than you about what’s happening with regards to the lockdown & schools reopening), will we address this. It’s what teachers do. Whether your child is moving from nursery to reception, reception to Year 1, infants to juniors, Year 6 to high school, we will sort this. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. Remember, all children across the country are in the same position.
Please don’t think I’m telling you to give up on tackling school work with your children at home. We’d love you to keep things going. But if it doesn’t work as well for your family as it seems to do for others (everything looks great through a social media filter), don’t beat yourself up about it. You can only do what you can do. [Although I would advise against watching all the Marvel films in one sitting…]
We’d still love to see photos of what work your children have been up to (please use the phase email below).
The most important thing is the happiness & health of your family. You are in the best position to judge what you need to do to achieve this.
I’m off to play footie with Miss Dollery against one Year 6 & two Year 2 pupils – no mercy shall be given!
Take care & keep safe,
EYFS: Nursery, Red Class & Blue Class
Key Stage 1: Green Class, Purple Class & Yellow Class
Lower Key Stage 2: 3DR, 3/4A & 4G
Upper Key Stage 2: 5D, 5/6P & 6R