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Teaching Early Years in Lockdown

21st January 2021

Teaching Early Years in Lockdown

Online learning for younger children doesn't come without its challenges! As you can imagine, asking a 4-6 year old to mute and unmute on Google Meets can prove to be quite a challenge, whilst navigating apps and confidently using Seesaw independently takes time and plenty of patience.

Over the past few weeks, much of our time in Lower School has been dedicated to slowly introducing new elements of learning to allow time for the children to settle into their new routines and to familiarise themselves with technology and expectations.

Our live learning includes phonics in Reception, live handwriting in Year 1, live whole class reading and focussed group work called Teacher Time. We have also established a 1:1 reading framework for children to read with their teachers and teaching assistants. In addition to this, we have also been developing skills such as ‘mute’ and ‘unmute’ and ‘hands up’ which, no doubt, are skills so often taken for granted in the older year groups!

I can honestly say, with great delight and pride, that we've made it! At the end of our third week of online learning I wanted to express my thanks and gratitude to all of you at home for your patience and support. For helping the children navigate new technology and for establishing successful routines at home. We appreciate that it is not easy maintaining focus and concentration, but take pride in the milestones that we have achieved so far. I am truly proud of the children and their resilience at this time.

Thank you to all parents for completing our lower school survey and giving your perspective and experience of remote learning. We are always looking to listen and adapt. 

For those of you with older children, or in other parts of the school I wanted to share a preview of our learning in Lower School since the school return...

In Reception - the children have been completing some fantastic PSED lessons with Miss Kate around 'Filling Buckets'. They have also worked to create their own Gratitude Jars, a timely reminder that despite challenges that we may all be facing at this difficult time, there is always something to be grateful for!

My favourite photos in Reception were of the outstanding Pirate Ships that have been created in response to their new project launch.

In Year 1, we have been working on fostering a love of learning by encouraging children to work independently and to create their own projects of interest. I have been blown away by the independence that I have seen from completing and submitting learning to Seesaw unaided, through to baking cakes/preparing lunch and for creating the most inspiring and innovative self-directed projects linked to our class woodlands project or personal interests. These include nest building, fact posters on a range of different animals, dioramas of habitats and an art gallery, to name just a few. How amazing that these children feel the freedom to be creative and continue to learn beyond their lessons. These skills will surely set the children up for a lifelong love of learning!

What has been most humbling in all of this through is the children's constant smiles, positivity and resilience in the face of adversity. Their ability to adapt to whatever changes and challenges that come their way has been remarkable. We hope to see you all back at school in the not too distant future but until then, we wanted to say a huge well done to our ‘Youngest Learners’. We are truly proud of you all.

Miss Carla