Miss B's Briefing
Well, well, well. Welcome to this Reception Class Press Conference. I hope the messages involved can be clearer than some of those received nationally this week.
We find ourselves locked down again, with no prior warning and are constantly adapting to a changing situation. You heard the news at the same time as we did and want you to know that we are doing everything in our power to develop a plan and a picture of what the next few weeks will look like for those children in key worker and vulnerable provision at school, and those learning from home. We are obviously devastated to be in this situation again and are so sad to be closing our doors but safety is the most important thing, and protecting you all from this virus is our main priority. You are all so precious to us all and whilst we miss you desperately already, we also just want everyone to stay safe.
As you will have read in the letter Mrs Crisp sent out this afternoon, provision for those in school will be delivered by a mixture of teaching and teaching assistant staff. If your child does access this provision, we would still ask, if at all possible and your role in the pandemic fight allows, that you access the "Home Learning" activities on the website at home as usual and still hear your child read regularly. Can we also take this opportunity to say a huge 'THANK YOU' to every key worker who is helping the national Corona Virus efforts. We appreciate what you do so much *applause.*
My time will then be fairly split between leading taught sessions in the classroom and recording and uploading videos, resources and home learning challenges for the children at home which will be added to the "CLASS LEARNING AND HOME SCHOOLING" page of each week's Home Learning page. I will also have time to prepare resources packs for the children at home and to communicate with parents via phone calls and Tapestry. We know that no situation is perfect but the team have spent significant amounts of time, planning our approach and ensuring that provision is as fair as possible for all children and that everyone has access to the provision they need.
The DfE expectation is that children engage with 3 hours of home-schooling per day across all schools and we are forming a plan that will allow for this to happen. However, it is important to note that these three hours do not need to a three hour block at a set time of day and can be designed to fit around your home situation and other commitments. Please also remember that learning in Early Years looks very different to other year bands. In class, your child will only ever experience short bursts (15-20 minutes absolutely maximum) of focus teaching, followed by Choosing Time in which they can embed this learning through play, and then a brain break (e.g. a class dance, yoga, play time, story, snack etc). This structure is best suited to how your child thinks and learns, and all three of these elements are included in the three hours expectation. So please, DO NOT FEEL ANY PRESSURE TO HAVE YOUR CHILD SAT AT A TABLE FOR 3 HOURS A DAY. This would not happen if they were in school.
In Reception, valuable learning opportunities which could be used to embed their learning include jigsaws, drawing, board games, letter hunts, educational iPad games, cooking, colouring, word searches, junk modelling, painting, I Spy, reading books, sorting items, counting with buttons, craft, singing, dancing, construction toys e.g. challenging Lego with small pieces, threading, cutting practise, sewing etc. The possibilities are endless. This all counts as really valuable embedding learning time and can be uploaded as evidence towards the 3 hours of learning.
Brain breaks might include a walk, a Cosmic Kids Yoga session, stretching, mindfulness colouring, a snack, watching an educational program (there are lots on CBeebies), playing with a sibling, going in the garden, having lunch, singing a song, doing a dance (Just Dance kids on YouTube is great), listening to a children's meditation, doing a jigsaw... anything that lets your child calm down and switch off for a while before another period of real concentration.
*camera zooms in on Miss Bagnall for an important aspect of the message*
Whilst we do not expect children to be sat for three hours a day, there is an expectation that they will complete set tasks at home and we will be requiring evidence of this through Tapestry or the class email. Staff will be chasing up and contacting families who do not provide this evidence. From Monday, I will make clear on the website each week, which tasks MUST be completed (making these as video-based, accessible and achievable as possible to fit in with your additional commitments), and which activities you can choose from to enhance, support and embed learning in the ways that best suit your situation and your how your child learns.
To support home learning, I will:
- Record direct teaching videos to watch together and engage with
- Continue updating the Home Learning page of the website with activity ideas to help in your focus time and with ideas for play you could set up at home to support your child to embed their learning (I will ensure wherever possible that these activities can be completed with things you will have around the house or that you were given in your maths/phonics packs earlier this term and will include activities that can be slotted into your daily routine or that your child can do on their own without an adult)
- Be available regularly to respond to Tapestry and emails, provide additional support and make phone calls
Once we are a little more established with what we are doing, we are also looking to provide some printed resource packs and exercise books which will support you to deliver the planned activities (e.g. writing template sheets and maths activities). But, these will take a bit of time to prepare so bear with us.
We all know that the government likes a three step slogan, so here is our Reception Home School slogan...
We know that this situation is far from ideal but will be doing all that we can to make it as positive and impactful as we can for ALL children. We want children to still feel powerful as learners and that they are part of something, and we want to make sure that everyone can access, gain from and most importantly, ENJOY learning this half term. We also do understand the pressure this unexpected change in circumstances places lots of families under and we know that this is likely to be a time of real challenge and stress for some of you. Please know that we are doing our best to make the process as smooth as possible and that we are here to help if you need us. Cookley is a very strong community and we will get through this.
We look forward to seeing what you all achieve this term, in class and at home and are there to support you every step of the way. Please keep us informed on Tapestry.
Due to the demands of supporting so many families in and out of school, I may not be able to respond to every post during the same working day and if you post multiple times in a day, may not respond to each individual post but to your contributions as a collective. On that point, if you are posting multiple activities or days at a time, can we request that you upload multiple photos/videos or activities one post, rather than as lots of separate observations, as it makes it easier to track observations, respond and manage the online system. There is no set expectation that you post everyday or every activity on Tapestry but we will expect at least one post per week detailing your evidence of Home Learning, which activities you selected, how your child got on and any additional support you may need. You need not film what you are doing but we would like to see evidence that the learning has taken place e.g. a photograph of work or them doing an activity, a short clip, or some written down things your child said during a task or a description of how they chose to approach it and work. If you upload your evidence as a new observation, no other parents can see what you have posted.
As this press conference comes to a close, it is important to stress that, above all else, the most important thing is that we all stay safe and stay well and do everything in our power to protect ourselves and our families from the virus. So, wherever possible, please stay home, stay together and stay positive.
Miss Bagnall and the Early Years Team
Time for questions from the press... if you have any, please address them to the Gateway or pop a message on Tapestry or the class email. Thank you.