We were given a two day’s notice that all schools had to close for a lock down in order to prevent the spread of Covid- 19. As the President was announcing the lock down for schools, I was preparing a message to all parents with a general plan for the closure. Some parents chose to keep their children home from the very next day and some sent their children for the Monday and Tuesday before lock down. Teachers came in and we tried to come to terms with the reality of this, which for us was something totally new and nothing we had actually prepared for,
We said our solemn goodbyes on Tuesday afternoon, no excitement but rather with some uncertainty of when we would be back and whether we would be back. It was not a break up day. No excitement of the Easter break. No joyful kids leaving the school with the chocolate filled Easter baskets. … just a good bye of no hugs, no connections….. a distant goodbye. We promptly started to send parents ideas of activities they could do with their children. In fact we overloaded parents with ideas: art, music, loose parts, google links etc
A week later, the President announced a complete lock down, which we had all anticipated but discovered the reality of the fact that everyone, except for certain essential workers would have to stay home. Quite surreal. We soon realised that initially all families needed to get used to the idea of all being at home together, to find their rhythm and to just be without the added stress of trying to home school children.
Some families have older siblings (1-4 of them) who need to be online to do set school work and lessons, some parents need to carry on working online from home, so the pressures of sharing space, time and computers was ON. We have continued to send ideas of activities, links to music and story ideas. These can be used by the parents in their own time and at their own pace. The Reggio- Emilia Philosophy which we incorporate certainly makes it easier for our pupils to keep themselves occupied in productive and creative play using loose parts and enjoying nature play outdoors- for this we are grateful.
We have connected with the children through casual chats on Whatsapp and Zoom. Connection is what is needed most, just keeping in touch and seeing each other. How sweet it was to observe the fascination of the toddlers as they saw my face on a screen- they stared and kept focused while I played my guitar and we sang songs together: parents and toddlers. We then tried story time and know that the children had a good time but believe the parents had an even better time. My next challenge is music rings. As the school music teacher, I want to connect with all my groups enjoying some music time.
We have some good things planned to share with parents in order to skill them on how to manage and cope with their own children- equipping them with the relevant milestones of each domain per age group.
This week I have realised that being on my own at home and creating interactive lessons for the kiddies is quite a learning experience. I need to be a sound engineer, lighting engineer, tech expert, actress, prop manager, content creator, producer and director all in one. A definitive learning curve.
As a balance, I have managed to plant some vegetable seeds and am proud to say they are sprouting already. I manage to feed the school bunnies and water our school veggie patch daily. I am hoping to get creative with my painting/ art, as well as my music skills.
I am so grateful to be learning so much during this time. So grateful to have a spacious home. So grateful to have a garden. So grateful to be part of an amazing school family and community. So grateful to have finally started a BLOG- watch this space as I hope to post some interesting articles for all to enjoy and learn from.