While staying at home due to coronavirus (COVID-19), parents and carers will be concerned about their children’s education and the impact of missing school.
No one expects parents to act as teachers, or to provide the activities and feedback that a school would. Parents and carers should do their best to help children and support their learning.
PARENT'S GUIDE TO DISTANCE LEARNING
WE ARE ALWAYS LEARNING!
Distance learning presents us all with formidable challenges. We are all learning how to do things differently for a while. Across our community of pupils, teachers and staff there is a wide range of access and comfort with technology. Many important aspects of learning at Hazlemere Church of England Combined School, such as our values and ethos may not transfer easily to online environments. Our pupils, teachers and families must adapt to a rapid and unexpected pivot towards distance learning. This guidance can help us all make the best of new and sometimes unfamiliar distance learning environments. It can hopefully help you be ready for some of the more practical aspects of learning from home.
1. Establish routines and expectations
It is important to develop good habits from the start. Create a flexible routine and talk about how it’s working over time. Chunk your days into predictable segments, our suggested timetable will help. Help pupils get up, get dressed and ready to learn at a reasonable time. Everybody make your bed! Keep normal bedtime routines, including normal rules for digital devices. Adjust schedules to meet everyone’s needs but don’t default to staying up late and sleeping in (However, a ‘duvet day’ now and then can be a treat).
Do not worry about trying to maintain a full routine for your child like they had at school. But children will feel more comfortable and learn better with a predictable routine to the day, even if this is difficult.
Generally, you should try to make sure that they:
2. Choose a good place to learn
Your family’s regular learning space for occasional homework might not work for extended periods. Set up a physical location that’s dedicated to school-focused activities. Make sure it is quiet, free from distractions and has a good internet connection. Make sure an adult monitors online learning. Keep doors open, and practice good digital safety, please refer to our on line safety web page for more information.
Set age-appropriate parental controls on any devices your child is using and supervise their use of websites and apps. See advice on keeping them safe online and talk to your child about online safety.
Digital devices are not the only way to learn. Manage screen time with a timer and break up screen time by getting your child to:
3. Stay in touch
Teachers will mainly be communicating regularly to pupils through our online platforms and virtual learning environments DB Primary. Pupils should email teachers with weekly updates and to request any help or support. Encourage pupils to stay in contact with their class, email and blog their day via the DB platform. Parents should email all of their questions via the school office email. Please allow time for a reply, understand it may take a day or two for people to respond.
4. Help pupils ‘own’ their learning
No one expects parents to be full-time teachers or to be educational and content matter experts. You are supporting learning and not expected to teach. Provide support and encouragement, and expect your children to do their part. Struggling is allowed and encouraged! Don’t help too much, and don’t be tempted to complete the tasks, to get them done. Becoming independent takes lots of practice. At our school, your child usually engages with others, pupils and any number of adults hundreds of times each day. Many of these social interactions will continue from a distance, but they will be different. You cannot replace them all, and that’s OK.
The best way to help children aged 4 to 7 learn is to:
The best way to help children aged 7 to 11 learn is to:
To check if they are learning try to:
Talk with your child throughout the day and try to explain new words. For example, discuss everything you are doing and pick out words that might be new to them.
When you read with your child try to:
You can make a story more interesting and help your child develop their understanding of a book by linking what you are reading to their life. For example, while reading about Cinderella going to the ball, talk about how a ball is similar to a birthday party.
Ask your child questions about what you are reading as you go. For example:
Libraries are currently closed, but you can find digital services they are providing at Libraries Connected.
5. Begin and end the day by checking-in
In the morning, you might ask:
• What subject do you have today?
• Which task do you want to do?
• How will you spend your time?
• What resources do you need?
• What can I do to help?
At the end of the day you might ask:
• How far did you get in your learning tasks today?
• What did you discover? What was hard?
• What could we do to make tomorrow better?
These brief grounding conversations matter, pupil voice is important and praise essential. Not all students thrive in distance learning; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure. These check-in routines can help avoid later challenges and disappointments. They help students develop self-management and executive functioning that are essential skills for life. Parents are good life coaches, but your families’ happiness is vital. All of the resources can be found on the class pages and are a guide to home learning.
6. Establish times for quiet and reflection
For families with children of different ages, and parents who may also be unexpectedly working from home more often, it’s good to build in some time for peace and quiet. Siblings may need to work in different rooms if possible to avoid distraction. Many families may need to negotiate access to devices, priorities for wi-fi bandwidth and schedules throughout the day. Please do use the free audio books, noise-cancelling headphones are an idea - Reading is fundamental.
7. Encourage physical activity and exercise
Living and working at home, we will all need some room to let off steam. Moving (independently and together as a family) is vital to health, wellbeing, and readiness for learning. It’s a great opportunity to practice exercising ‘alone/ together’ with digital workouts and online instructors. Set new fitness goals and plan hands-on, life-ready activities that keep hands busy, feet moving, and minds engaged. You may want to think about how your children can pitch in more around the house with chores or other responsibilities. Now’s a good time to think about increasing personal responsibility and pitching in.
8. Manage stress and make the most of an unusual situation
We are going through a time of major upheaval to our normal routines and ways of life, and there’s a great deal of anxiety in the world right now. Emotions may be running high, and children may be worried or fearful. Parents may be stressed as well and children are often keenly aware of trouble. Children benefit when they get age-appropriate factual information and on-going reassurance from trusted adults. In these circumstances, it’s often possible to reframe challenges as opportunities: for spending time together, discovering new ideas and interests, investing energy and attention in activities that often get pushed aside by everyday tasks and responsibilities. Experts advise that it’s a good idea to slow down, find beauty, enjoy unexpected benefits, and express gratitude by helping others.
9. Monitor time on-screen and online
Distance learning does not mean staring at computer screens seven and half hours every day. Teachers will aim to build in variety, but it will require some trial and error before everyone finds balance between online and close-space offline learning experiences. Work together to find ways to prevent ‘down time’ from becoming just more ‘screen time’.
10. Connect safely with friends, and be kind
The initial excitement of school being closed will fade quickly when pupils start missing their friends, classmates, and teachers. Help your children maintain contact with friends through DB primary. But do monitor your child’s social media use. Remind your child to be polite, respectful and appropriate in their communications, and to follow school guidelines in their interactions with others. Report unkindness and other problems so that everyone maintains healthy relationships and positive interactions.
While no one knows how long distance learning will continue, we know that it won’t last forever. Children take cues from adult behaviour and attitudes, so it is important to communicate calm, confidence and optimism that we will pull through the crisis together. Managing our own emotions will help our children stay focused on learning and looking forward to another school year.
Work assigned to pupils can be found on the class pages.
Below are useful websites.