Rachel is an amazing primary school teacher, adores her job and we are delighted that she is sharing some home learning tips with Family Friendly HQ readers.
We have been running a selection of helpful take-overs on our Instagram page in recent weeks. We know how stressful things feel right now and we want to help arm parents with tips and tricks to help make this time a more positive experience. One of our take-overs was by primary school teacher Rachel who was just as shocked as parents about the sudden announcement of school closures.
Through her teaching Instagram account she spoke about the sadness she felt as her junior infants said goodbye and asked when they would return to school after that day. Rachel is an amazing primary school teacher, adores her job and we are delighted that she is sharing some home learning tips with Family Friendly HQ readers.
"It was a bit of a panic. We found out very last minute that the schools were going to be closed and I, myself, was not prepared"
Here are Rachel's top tips :
Don't Be Overwhelmed By The Work That Has Been Sent Home
Many primary schools across the country provided work for kids to bring home. We sent home work and in our school we have also been on emails and will continue to be next week and the week after. Any work that has been sent home is not meant to overwhelm you or put you under pressure. It has been given to help support you and support the children in the best way we could with such short notice. Don't put pressure on yourself. Take your time with it.
Look At Your Calender And Have A Timetable
Try to look at each day and come up with a plan. A lot of people are working from home and will have to check emails or participate in video calls throughout the day. Look at your calendar, be open and flexible about it with the kids and try to come up with an agreed structure that you can both follow. It has to work for both of you, especially if you are working from home. Try make this fun an enjoyable. Your children will love ticking learning activities off their list and having their snack and lunch with you as it will be such a novelty.
Stop For Lunch And Proper Breaks
This is another benefit to having structure and a routine of some sort. Pencil in a proper lunch time and breaks from learning throughout the day whether that is breaks from school work or your own work if you are working from home.
If you are working from home try to assign learning tasks that they can do independently. For example while you are working for an hour on your laptop they could be preparing and creating a puppet show that they will perform for you later on. This is also a good time for free play, Lego or colouring.
Mix Up The Activities And Try Not To Rely Too Much On ICT
Try to allocate time for different activities. ICT and educational apps and resources will be really helpful but try not to rely too heavily on them. Mix things up as often as possible. Allocate time to a creative task each day (junk art, cutting, play dough) as well as outdoor time (tidying up the garden, planting seeds, water play in the garden, an obstacle course) and some reading. We will all have to think outside the box to ensure that everyone is having fun and that learning is happening throughout the day.
Back To Basics
Board games, card games and jigsaw puzzles are so much fun but are hugely educational at the same time. There will be great excitement to sit down as a family and "play" while learning. It involves a lot of different skills such as reading, maths and creativity.
An Interest Project
Ask the kids about what is interesting them at the moment and create a research project together as a family. For example, I was walking in the mountains and saw tonnes of frogs spawn and was thinking about what a great idea this would be for an interest project. Take a walk, notice something in nature and come home and research it together. You could have a little project to take back to school to show your teacher eventually. Any teacher would be delighted to see this.
Outdoor Time Is So Important
If you are in a position to go outside to the garden or out on your bike or scooter throughout the day then please do. The fresh air is so important. If you cannot get outside then I highly recommend resources like Cosmic Kids Yoga or Zumba Kids on YouTube.
Take Advantage Of The Instagram Community And Free Resources
There are so many businesses that are offering free online access to their services for example Nessy Learning, Gille Education and Dabbledoomusic (phenomenal resource). Twinkl Ireland are also offering free access and they are the number one teacher resource in the country. Follow the hashtag #covidhometeach to keep up to date with learning resources on social media.
Stories, Stories, Stories
Enjoy as many stories together as possible. Read to your children as much as you possibly can. If your library is a bit tired looking Twinkl Ireland have a great selection of e-books.
Work Together, Mind Yourselves And Stay Safe
This is a really anxious time for everyone so please mind yourself, follow their interests and be compassionate towards yourself at this time. Stay safe and enjoy the learning with your little ones.
Take Brain Breaks
"We normally have 3 brain breaks a day in school. Some of the parents were asking me to send on the script to be used at home so I made this short video which can be followed along to 🧘🏼♀️ Giving our brains a break has always been important but even more these days than ever 🧠 If you've never practiced mindfulness, give this short practice a go ❤️"