Once faculty, students and families had settled into the idea that home-learning was not going to be a temporary situation, there was a clear determination from all in our community to make it a success and an experience we could all grow from. Of course there were some teething problems, but once they had been cleared up, the scene was set for some amazing work to be produced and interesting observations to be made.
Faculty have been experimenting with new, creative ways in which to deliver their lessons and students have been responding well.
Daily schedules are set out by teachers to replace the normal school day, with teacher on-line presence almost constant. In the elementary school, if a student needs to ask a question, they know that the teacher is available at the other side of the screen ready to help. Naturally, we are very sensitive about our students’ well-being so strive to give the best balance between on-line presence and off-line assignments.
What our parents and teachers say about online learning
It goes without saying that all students’ (and teachers’) ICT skills have improved immensely, even in the younger grades 1 and 2. Fun is had in the online music lessons, there are physical education sessions, students have produced some great artwork and the science experiments have continued as before…even if they all have to be done at home! (don’t worry, no serious explosions to report, yet!)
Students from different classes have also been collaborating with each other in our buddy learning experience, even if they are at a distance.
Not once have we forgotten how important it is for everyone to socialize. Faculty have their regular morning “virtual” coffee break and students in the middle school have a virtual chat time.
In the elementary school much fun is had in the weekly assemblies, each are given a theme. We have had fancy dress and crazy hair day and it’s a pleasure to see the entire school and parents actively join in and have fun.
The middle school assemblies are mostly student-led and on occasions we have had some great guests pop-in. Buddhist monk Kelsang Cho joined one of our online assemblies and introduced the middle school students to meditation. In times of uncertainty, meditation helps the mind calm down, it reduces anxiety and sharpens focus. These are great moments for all involved.
Finally, looking ahead to a safe return to school in September, construction has already begun on a new building so that we can allow our students and faculty to teach and learn in tranquility back in the beautiful and much loved Castelli campus.