From Daniel Nichol, Head of Junior School
During this unusual time, self-motivation and self-management skills can be severely tested for all in our community. Schooling in general can be a challenging experience for students and parents alike, especially when we are all thrown into a phase of the unknown – online learning – but it doesn't have to be! Knowing how to help keep your child's mind and body refreshed will help them have an effective and positive studying experience during this sustained period of time. We've come up with a number of simple tips, ideas and activities that will help make studying easier for everyone in the home or wherever you are at this time:
• Be organised
Start the day with looking over the expectations for the day. Do you know the daily timetable and what lessons are coming up for your child? Does your child know?
• Take short regular study breaks
Set an alarm regularly and have your child take a 5-10 minutes break. Shorter study breaks will give your child just enough time to breathe, relax, stretch and re-focus, ready to get back to work and complete the next activity.
• Get moving
During breaks, encourage your child to get up, stretch, take a walk around outside (if possible) as this can re-energise your child and help reduce any stress they are experiencing. After online learning has finished for the day, encourage your child to be active and enjoy some of their favourite activities such as basketball, swimming, football and playing with friends/siblings (dependent on your location at present).
• Fuel the body
Eating nutritious snacks throughout the day can provide much needed energy for a successful day of learning. Staying hydrated (fluids) also helps with the ability to focus so remind your child to drink regularly.
• Don't give up
One of our core values is resilience! If your child is having trouble with a particular question or section, encourage them to move on to the next question or work from another subject and come back to the part they found difficult later. If your child is still having trouble with the question or section after coming back to it, then encourage them to write a message on Seesaw or email their teacher. The team are here to help; we can reply by email (just bear with us during with the time zone differences at present) or arrange a video call. JUST TRY YOUR BEST; your best is good enough! But also remember to STOP too. You don’t have to be working for 12 hours a day. We are only in structured lessons for 5 hours and 40 minutes (stick to this!).
• Don’t worry
We are all very understanding at this moment in time. Please let your child know: don’t worry about being in a different time zone to someone else (we are all dotted across the globe at present). Don’t worry if you cannot finish a task in the time set (just let us know or come back to it at another time). Don’t worry about missing a lesson because of an important reason (just let us know or come back to it at another time). Don’t worry if someone else’s work is better than yours on Seesaw; you have done your best for you and that will be reflected in your feedback. Don’t worry if you don’t understand (just ask us!). BE KIND TO YOURSELF!
• Screen time
Step away from the screen! It would seem that right now, screen time monitoring may have gone, but it is important that children are not sat at the screen all day, every day. When time permits, and during breaks and at the end of your online learning day, close the devices and find other ways to relax than the use of gaming and social media. Get your children to read a book, enjoy a film or complete one of their favourite hobbies (that doesn’t include a screen).
• Play is learning
Play is an essential part of your and any child's development. At the end of their online learning day and at weekends, make time for play and downtime. Play can include having fun as a family, joining in activities such as basketball, football and swimming, playing alone or with siblings (dependent on your location at present). The benefits of play should not be underestimated at any time and particularly during this period of self-study – it can be quite isolating for some!
The temptation when not in the ‘regular’ routine of actually physically going to school is that pattern may be disrupted or allowed to slip. As with all of the above, sleep fuels the mind as well. Try to keep a strong and healthy routine in the home during the week. This will all help with the motivation and energy to be heading downstairs to begin the days learning (and of course to be accessing school still in your pyjamas and surrounded by lots of home comforts).
Enjoy this time together and keep reaching out to our team if you require any support! Happy online and healthy learning!