"Make memories," says headPosted: 31st March 2020
Families are being encouraged to make memories during the unprecedented closure of schools.
For the last couple of years, Little Parndon Primary Academy has been encouraging its children to complete tasks to give them a wealth of knowledge and experiences before they start secondary school.
The Community Values Passport was set up to open the door to new life experiences, urging children to jump in puddles, tie their own shoe laces, raise money for charity, go pond-dipping, den building and search for bugs, among other things.
With schools closed and families forced to stay at home, headteacher Mark Evans is hopeful his pupils will use the time to enjoy traditional pastimes.
He said: “Our message to parents is not to stress about schoolwork. We are giving them resources and setting work, but we do not want them to stress about it. We are saying to not just do what we are suggesting, but get out in the garden and learn to juggle or snuggle under a blanket and read a book or put on a performance.
“Even with my own children at home, I got them to write traditional letters to their school friends. They wrote out the envelopes, put stamps on them and we used our daily exercise slot to walk to the postbox to post them.
“We want our families to try to create memories as a family. We want to keep our children happy as the ultimate objective right now. This is a once in a generation event and rather than it being a negative experience, we want to try and make positive memories and teach our children life skills.
“We have set work for our pupils, so they do not miss out on the curriculum and we are here to support our parents with that. But, we will pick up the pieces when school reopens and get children back on track; that is what our teachers are good at.”
Little Parndon has seen between 11 and 35 children of key workers attend school each day since the closure, with six members of staff on a rota to take care of them.
Pupils have been completing fun English and maths work, reading, getting active in PE lessons, learning French and getting creative in art.
The school uses education technology app and website ClassDojo to connect teachers, pupils and families through a safe online system.
Teachers are getting creative with their online lessons, videoing themselves reading in their pyjamas to encourage bedtime reading, singing songs and demonstrating how to complete maths tasks.
Mr Evans said: “ClassDojo has been really useful for us as a way of getting information out to parents, but also for parents to be able to communicate with us and for children to upload their work. Teachers can then
use the programme to mark the work and offer feedback. We are also posting links to websites which can help support their mental health and even suggesting online courses for our parents to consider.
“We are in daily contact with our pupils and their families.”