Dear Parents and Carers,
As you will be aware from media reports, school holidays will start tomorrow. We were informed of this at the same time and in the same way as the rest of the state – through the media.
We have been planning for a shut down of our school for the last week. We have also been planning the usual holiday homework tasks that parents ask for.
Coming home with your child today will be:
- Books to read
- Their pencil case (where applicable)
- A lined exercise book
- A holiday homework pack
- Work to do in the event of a closure.
Children who have not been at school through parent choice will have their work mailed to them. Due to postage costs, they will not receive books to read, their pencil case or an exercise book.
According to the Premier, school will resume on 14th April 2020 for term two but we want to be prepared in case it is not.
As a staff, we want to support parents/carers through any time that they may have at home with their children and we also want to make sure that this short period of isolation is only an interruption to children’s schooling and not to their learning.
Worksheets and activities from text books are not considered to be good teaching practice in the 21st Century. They will never replace quality teaching. Much of what we do at school cannot be done at home as you don’t have the right equipment and we don’t have the quantities of that equipment to let you use. We hope that these materials support you.
I am very aware that some families do not have internet access or if they do, that access is limited so I have asked teachers to provide things that can be done with minimal or no need for computers, iPads or the internet. The Department has created a dedicated space called Learning from Home and those families who are able to use technology at this time can use this link to find that space. This space can be found at the Department’s FUSE site https://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/
If there is a period of isolation that goes beyond school holidays, all staff will be working from home as well. Together, we have compiled a list of things that we will be doing. We will also be available to support children’s learning and your family’s health and wellbeing. The best way to seek this support if you need it is to email the school address email@example.com or my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then be able to contact teachers if needed or provide advice and/or support.
I would ask that over the next few weeks of school holidays, you put the health and wellbeing of your family, particularly your children first. Children have been stressed during the last week – they see that things are different, they hear and overhear conversations that worry them, they have watched news reports of people fighting over basic grocery items and they know that things feel different too. Please take some time to rest and to support your children in fun ways – whatever that looks like for your family in this new world that we face.
Some things that you can do from the comfort of your own home include:
- Sleeping in;
- Spending time in the garden or walking in the local area, maintaining the social distancing rules that are in place;
- Other forms of exercise – running, bike riding, playing outdoor games. Again please maintain the social distancing rules that are in place;
- Reading together;
- Playing board and card games together;
- Sharing family photos and stories;
- Cooking together;
- Getting children to finally clean their rooms (maybe that’s a bit hopeful);
- Watching t.v. shows such as documentaries together;
- On line time is okay too but please make sure it works for your family. Places such as the Melbourne Zoo are live streaming so that families can watch the animals, my favourite are the penguins at https://youtu.be/mSI7phzCec8
I also know that some families are facing very uncertain times in the days ahead as employment ceases for them. If your family, including your children, need support, the following numbers/websites are available:
Ask Izzy https://askizzy.org.au/?state=vic (this website brings together a whole range of other websites and phone numbers)
Lifeline 13 11 44
Kids Help Line https://kidshelpline.com.au/ or 1800 55 1800
Also, please keep an eye out for children in your neighbourhood. It is unlikely that you will see them on the streets given the rules that we will be living under but if you have any concerns for the wellbeing of any child, please contact DHHS (Child Protection) on 1300 664 977 or 131 278 after hours. In cases of extreme emergency contact the police on 000.
Once again, thank you for your support, particularly over the past week. I would also like to thank those members of our community who are still at the forefront of this crisis, particularly those in retail, health care and emergency services who have to work each day under challenging circumstances. On behalf of the staff and the school community, I send you our thanks for the work that you have done and will continue to do.
Please stay safe during this period of lockdown. As I said at the start of this letter, we don’t know how long it will last but we will have updates on School Stream, Facebook and our website when possible.
This will be a challenging time for all of us and I look forward to the day that we will all be back at Albion North PS ready for school again.