We understand that learning at home will mean children spending a lot of time each day working on line and looking at a screen. It is important for learning to be continued during this time, however it is equally important that we manage this in a way that keeps all of our young people healthy, happy and engaged. We will provide guidance for how long each lesson should take, and recommend that everyone has a break away from the screen in between lessons. We will also plan practical and physical activity sessions through the week.
We introduced Wonderful Wednesdays into our lockdown curriculum to provide a screen break each week and to facilitate an afternoon of different activities. This will give every pupil learning at home a fun and different learning experience to look forward to each week.
Great ideas for helping your child when learning at home
How long your child can focus on an activity will depend very much on lots of factors, including their age. We may be working like this for quite a few weeks and so it is better to grow into a routine in a positive way. This is an exceptional moment in history and we want our children to be able to look back at these weeks with fondness for the time spent with their families.
1. Setting Up a Den in the house or a Camp in the garden
This activity can be useful to create a safe place for children and a place they know they can have some quiet time, such as, reading a book, playing with little people, teddies or puppets. You can ask them to contribute to set it up with you, make decorations, put up lights and a sign. Children will find this fun and different. It can create an imaginative world for the child
2. Setting Up a Learning Place in the house and Do Learning Together
It is important that children feel they have an allocated space in the house where they can concentrate and focus on learning. It does not have to be a big space and can even be a shared space. It is more about how we use this space and what we do when we are learning.
3. Creating a routine
Setting up some ground rules for this will also be helpful. With a schedule, allocate time to learning in short and fruitful bursts, it is more about the quality and the positive experience of learning rather the quantity and speed at which we do these learning tasks. When you are noticing that learning is no longer fruitful, have a short break, a snack, a glass of water, some movement breaks. Family learning can be rich as we can all learn together and share understanding, problem solving and information.
4. Cooking Together
Cooking is great as it also includes literacy and numeracy tasks, such as, reading recipes or counting and measuring ingredients. Involving children in cooking can be fun and full of joy as they are involved in producing a tangible product at the end. You can also ask the children to finish off the cookies, cake, etc. by decorating them, lots of time can be spent on this.
5. Puzzle, Lego, Visual Spatial Activities
These activities tend to be calming as the brain focuses on putting things together rather than verbal or emotion demanding tasks. Offering these activities in the house will be of benefit to everyone as it will help all involved to be grounded and calm.
6. Setting Up a Fun Project
It is important to have something creative, a fun project you will enjoy doing together. A fun project could be: making a scrapbook of different drawings, paintings, making characters out of modelling clay, picking up leaves from the garden and finding the name of the tree online, taking photographs of wildlife in the garden such as birds, animals, painting rocks with emojis on them, drawing a cartoon strip or writing a collection of short stories, inventing characters and drawing these, so many things that can be done. Some children may like the challenge of a research project.
7. Starting a Collection, Playing Board Games
Stamps, stones, leaves, labels and lots of other things can start collections. Board games, such as snakes and ladders, can be made using templates on the web.
8. Sending Messages, Letters and Postcards to Family and Friends
Keep in touch with your social networks via different communication modes either video call or messaging. Keeping in touch with friends will be an important part of managing your children's emotional wellbeing
9. Implementing Routines for Selfcare and Mindfulness
It’s ok for all involved to feel this is not a normal situation. It is important to keep communicating, being transparent, responding to questions, presenting the facts as well as not bombarding with facts. Children are curious and like to find out about the world so it is a good opportunity to open their thinking by sharing information, exploring maps, countries. It is also important we are aware of feelings and able to recognise sensations, feelings and actions. Implement some self care activities together such as doing a calming activity together, reading a book, relaxing, watching a film.
Don’t forget to move and for the full family to move. There are lots of great home exercising resources being shared online and on TV. Make sure that there is some physical activity taking place