To all our lovely parents and carers out there,
We know that these are difficult times and I am so sorry that we cannot be open for you. We have full confidence in each and every one of you that your children are in the very best place they could be right now, with their loving family.
We do realise that some of you are working from home, so you are juggling working as well as ‘home-schooling’ so we have tried to offer you a flexible approach, which can fit your family, needs and circumstances. The clear advice and guidance from the government is stay at home and if at all possible to keep your children at home.
As far as homeschooling your children goes, we could give you a time table, lots of worksheets and tell you what to do each day, we could give you printed booklets and targets and tests and ask you to mark them… but we are not going to do that. That is an unrealistic ask as every families’ situation is different.
We hope that you will see this as a time to cherish being with your children, enjoying being together, being curious, creative and imaginative. Get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, talk, share, paint, draw, read stories, write poetry, explore nature and play games, play lots and lots of games.
The value in learning through play is vast, there is a huge research base which clearly proves that play is the fundamental basis for learning, indeed children develop language, fine and gross motor skills which leads to reading, writing and mathematical understanding, reasoning, problem-solving, risk taking, critical thinking, etc… and the list goes on… I have added a guide to ‘loose parts learning play’ on the school web site. It can offer you lots of suggestions and ideas.
If you choose to do more formal sessions then these ‘teaching’ sessions at home don’t need to be long. 1 to 1 is much more intense thank school and so you and your child only need to do short spells with lots of breaks and fun mixed in.
Establishing and keeping a routine can be helpful and make the children feel secure. Regular meals, set bedtimes, knowing what they are doing in the day can all help towards making children feel safe.
They need to value what they are doing when playing. For example playing Lego they often use these skills… imagination, fine motor skills, problem solving, creativity, sorting and finding, maths (shape), patterns and physics. Play is a child’s work!
We have full trust in you but if you need our support for ideas or resources we are available for you. The last thing we want to do is make things more stressful for you over this time.
We realise that for some of you a flexible approach is fine but for others you may want a more bespoke timetabled day of learning. I am more than happy to offer guidance, you can email me with your thoughts, ideas or even plans and I will help in any way I can.
We have given you lots of links to fantastic resources for you to access, which will meet the needs and interests of your children. You recently had a snap shot so you will know where they are with regards to their milestones in learning. Miss Budden is creating a resource that will support you in matching activities to where your child is currently working. So if you are unsure of what to choose, this will help point you in the right direction. We are putting up regular ideas on our website and PTFA Facebook and School Facebook pages. You are already sharing so many wonderful suggestions, resources, ideas and activities that you are already doing together, it is so lovely to see this so please keep posting.
Here at school we also learn through projects based on history, geography, science, art, Design and technology, etc. Our English work is based around a picture book, story or novel. If you want ideas for projects we are happy to help.
We are not expecting you to become teachers; we have no expectations on how you should provide your children with home learning. This is up to you, your circumstances, your family’s needs. Once this is all over and things begin to get back to how they used to be or how we would like them to be moving forwards, we do every thing we possibly can to ensure that your children make great progress. I personally think that they will benefit greatly from this precious given time with you and come back to school more grounded, knowledgeable, skillful and have more understanding about their place in this world and how they can cherish their planet and fellow humans.
Some of you may want to know how much time should you spend on structured learning, as a guide we would say a maximum of 2 hours a day, this includes learning through play.
We have trust in you totally and you can do this. You know your children and what is best for them, just being with them, talking, discovering, exploring, reading, and play is very valuable learning.
With all our very best wishes, stay safe.
You can do this!
Sarah and all the team