News story from St Joseph's In The Park

Parents Send Message of Thanks for Remote Lessons

The Headmaster and teachers at St Joseph’s In The Park have been delighted to receive many messages of thanks from parents as remote learning returns in lockdown at the start of 2021.

A good start to online learning
A good start to online learning

20th January 2021 — Parents have sent messages of thanks to teachers for a good start to remote learning as the new year begins in lockdown.

“Most of our children will not be on site, but this does not mean that education, teaching and learning stops. The school day continues online. We have a proven virtual learning platform and teachers continue to deliver class lessons, much as a normal school day runs, live via Zoom from home or school. They are committed to providing the best possible learning experience for the pupils with creative, innovative lessons and by sharing best practice,” comments Douglas Brown who has received emails from grateful parents.

The school introduced a custom-tailored distance learning strategy in response to the first lockdown and is now using Google Classrooms as a learning platform for Years 1 – 6 to ensure continuity of education and to deliver innovative and engaging lessons. This virtual learning experience essentially replicates real school online and children can follow a normal timetable with lessons delivered face to face using Zoom. Children all have a live Zoom maths and English lesson each day. They have regular assemblies which the Headmaster pre-records and they also join in a collective worship on google classrooms with videos recorded by Reverend Stewart or Tracey Plumpton from the St Mary’s Church team in Hertingfordbury. Reception children have a weekly booklet of varied tasks and are following their timetable with daily Zoom lessons and a mix of home learning tasks to help bring the valuable practical aspects of Early year teaching into their homes. They also enjoy a daily story time with their classmates.

Each week a child from each class is nominated by their teacher to receive the Headmaster’s Award for outstanding work or for their positive attitude to online learning. Certificates are emailed home to the recipients each week. Music lessons continue virtually with peripatetic music teachers on a variety of instruments including piano, drums, guitar, brass, woodwind and violin. House competitions continue with the Headmaster’s ‘Lockdown Challenges’. Loyola, McAuley and Benet will try to win the John O’ Groats to Land’s End House challenge which encourages children to run, walk or ride their bike, record their distance and share with the class teacher. The whole school has 14 days to travel 874 miles from the top to the bottom of the United Kingdom. CrossFit and exercise sessions are enjoyed by all age groups.

Parents have commented on how they like the clear, simple and calm approach the teachers have taken. Class teachers collaborate with the children, assisting them to become independent learners and to take the responsibility for learning at their own pace. The use of technology helps to broaden the curriculum and helps children to explore new areas, to navigate and gather information.

The school remains open to children of key workers and the Kindergarten and Nursery department remains open as normal with the dedicated catering team still working hard and cooking delicious meals each day.

Thanks from Parents – Remote Learning

  • “We just wanted to say thank you for ensuring such a quick and smooth transition back to remote learning. Our daughter is really enjoying it and she has a real sense of control over her work…… Great for her and us!
  • “Although this term has been somewhat different to the norm, I am so thankful for your support and thank the teachers for making all the children enjoy school as much as they do. So very proud of how the school days have been structured and maintained throughout this time.”
  • “Dear Mr Brown and staff, I wanted to say what an amazing job you are doing, school communications have been clear, non alarmist and factual. Thank you for keeping the kids happy, safe and calm, teachers…… You and your staff always do a fabulous job, but especially at this time I wanted to say it is appreciated.”
  • “Mr Brown – thank you for keeping the children/school in a safe environment. The letters and updates that you have sent have been amazing. So much to keep on top of and these just make my life so much easier, knowing what is going on and coming up in the near future.”
  • “Thank you for sending the Headmaster’s award through. My son was so proud to receive it and it genuinely made the whole family’s day! Thank you to Mr Brown and all the teaching staff. Year 4 and Year 2 have had an amazing start to this term in challenging times. The thought, effort, patience and kindness from the teaching staff has been incredible – it’s hugely appreciated.”
  • “Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved in making such a special memory. Considering all the difficulties with Covid in 2020, we weren’t expecting a play at all, so to be able to join in remotely was just lovely and hugely appreciated.”
  • “I think you as Headmaster and all your staff are all doing a wonderful job at trying to keep our children as safe as possible. You all put yourselves at risk every day and have to go home to your families and I can appreciate that this is not an easy time for you all. We would just like to say a huge thank you to you and all the staff at St Joseph’s for all you are doing as well as all you have done since this all started.”
  • “Just a quick note to say how incredibly impressed at how you and your team have dealt with this chaotic time. My daughter has been calm, she has understood and not been upset with the changes made. This is down to you and her teachers at St Joseph’s In The Park.”

Teachers' Top Tips for Parents When Children are Remote Learning:

1. Create a space for everyone

Sharing the same space is never easy. Try and let older children have their own space, especially if you are also working from home and have telephone calls and meetings all day. Together, work out the most comfortable and quiet space for your child to take part in online learning and then let them take ownership.

2. Be kind to yourself

Incorporate self-kindness into your learning schedule. Parents and children should organise a timetable and structure your day so that you have specific slots every day for eating (maybe even together), exercise, staying connected and just relaxing. Resist the urge to feel that you should be working every minute of the day.

3. Eyes Down

When you are not involved in focusing your eyes at ‘online’ screen lessons, give your peepers a rest. Resist crashing out in front of the TV or reaching out for the games console. Instead, look ahead, notice the world outside your window, strengthen your eye muscles with simple exercises and let those eyes truly have ‘downtime’.

4. Routine

Keep a routine and schedule small breaks throughout the day.

5. Exercise

Get outside for some exercise if possible, or if the weather is really bad exercise indoors, even dancing is great to do.

6. Focus on Relationships

Research shows that children will work hard for their teachers, be cooperative and follow rules and routines if they perceive parents to be supportive and caring.

7. Stay Positive

Children look to their parents to figure out how to react to new or intimidating situations so try to stay positive about distance learning. If a parent is enthusiastic about online learning, then the children will be more excited and motivated.

St Joseph's In The Park (Coed 3-11) is a day school in Hertfordshire.

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