Learning at home continues

Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,
I am checking in with you over the Easter holidays in light of the further restrictions due to Covid-19. While we are on Easter holidays, it is daunting to think of the weeks stretching ahead and I feel it is important to reassure you as parents and outline the school plan for this scenario. 
First of all it is important to remember that this is an unprecidented global pandemic. Nobody planned for this, nobody expected this. You are faced with your children being at home with you because of this pandemic not because you decided to homeschool your children. You are not expected to homeschool, that is why I always call this learning from home
As a staff, we met on Friday 27th March to plan for this possiblity. Our aim is to support you and your families at home. We are aware that families have small children, sick family members, parents trying to work from home, parents losing jobs and numerous responsibilities and worries. 
We trialed Google classroom before Easter and that is to be our main method of communication. 

Our plan across the school is as follows:

9:20am-3pm         
        Teachers available for support via Google classroom or email
9:20am                 
        Teacher posts tasks for the day
9:20am                 
        Teacher posts previous days Mental Maths Solutions
11:00am-12:00pm     
    RTÉ School Hub
4:10pm-4:30pm         
    School Hub Follow up

Monday:            
            Weekly English and Maths post

Each of our three classrooms are very different and of course there will be some variations but above is the agreed basic plan

  • RTÉ School Hub is excellent, it has interesting lessons and great teaching. It would give parents an hour each day to themselves, with the knowledge that their children are following something very beneficial. It is on TV so there is no need for laptops or devices. There are follow up activities/homework and they are revised in the afternoon show. School Hub can be watched anytime later in the day on the RTE player.  It is pitched at 1st-6th class. 
  • The morning tasks from 1st class upwards are tasks the pupils do every day in school in a class of 20+ children. They should be well able to work independently at their Mental Maths and handwriting. If they keep these up and do these tasks daily, it will maintain their mental arithmetic and their handwriting. 
  • Weekly English post: This will be the story of the week from their Reading Zone book. Pupils should read the story each day aloud. There are exercises to complete on the story, this is where it depends on what suits. Maybe you have a child who is eager to work and they will do all the exercises into their copy. This can be photographed and emailed onto teacher for correction.  Or maybe there's a lot going on at the house and it's enough to read the story and chat about it. Read the exercises and do them orally. You might have a child who wants to do these exercises but really struggles. This is where you would email the teacher and discuss what best to do. 
  • Weekly Maths post: This will be a post of the topic of the week. Teachers will attach some online games and activities for that level and topic. Just like the English, you might have a child who is eager to do copywork or you might have a child who is struggling. This is where you email the teacher for guidance. On return to school, we will be putting extra into the Maths topics we have missed so don't worry about "falling behind". 
  • The Junior classroom is of course quite different from the middle and senior rooms. Ms McGrath has put a lot of work into gathering appropriate resources to support you at home and again the same as the other two rooms, keep up the basic skills: their tracing, colouring, practicing with numbers and sounds. You are not expected to "teach" any new content. Every child is different, every home is different. Feel free to email Ms McGrath for any support. amcgrath@eyrecourtns.ie
  • Mrs Barrett has been in contact with her students and is available for support also. gbarrett@eyrecourtns.ie  

As I highlighted in the web post here reading and practicing tables are the best skills they could return to school with. Don't underestimate your influence on your children. Think about setting aside 20 minutes for the whole family each day where everyone reads. It doesn't matter what you read but if your child sees you reading too, it becomes less about schoolwork and more of a habit. 
Get your child to count and calculate for recipes, gardening or decorating around the house. This is all real learning. 
For the past few years we've lamented childrens lack of resiliance and practicality. I really believe this time at home is going to benefit so many children learning so many life lessons with their parents. Talk about things, discuss the rights and wrongs. Children develop their morals from their parents. There are some great historical films on TV. Michael Collins was on last night on RTE. Watch them together, discuss them. Look up more information online. I know I got interested in History myself from watching films and reading books. 

The clear message I want to send home for you all today is that the staff of Eyrecourt NS are here to support you as much as we can. We don't want any of our pupils or their parents anxious about "falling behind" or not getting enough done.  Do what works for you, email us and we will give you any help you need.   

School while virtual is still operating as a school and all policies and procedures apply. If you have any concerns or issues please contact me directly on etreacy@eyrecourtns.ie. 

Wishing you all good health and a belated Happy Easter, 

Yours sincerely,
Éilis Treacy
Principal




P.S. You might find this week, while it's officially holidays, you need something to break up the day. Ms McGrath and I put up posts with some Easter activities on our Google Classrooms on the day of the Easter holidays. 

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