As we navigate these unusual times, I am conscious that we do so in a range of different situations. Some of you are parents or caregivers working from home, trying to complete your day job whilst also organising children, teenagers or young people. In some of our households there are essential workers, meaning that older siblings or one caregiver is looking after children. Some of you are supporting your own parents or extended family members. I would like us all to remember that each of us will be doing lockdown differently. There is no right or wrong way to do what we are doing; there is only the way that works best for you and your whānau.
At this time, more than ever, it can be challenging to gauge what your child is doing. Encourage them to:
Keep to a routine - agree how much time will be spent on school work and how much time on other activities (like online gaming).
Connect - ask them what they are doing, get them to explain things to you. Even if you don’t understand what they are doing, ask questions that start a conversation.
Check in - check in on them regularly.
Do something that does not involve a screen - this may mean that you have to step away from your device too and do an activity with them. This can be something as simple as going for a walk together.
Interact - Do let them interact with their friends online; lockdown can be very isolating for our young people. Allow them time to connect with others.
John Parsons is an education consultant who specialises in working with young people on keeping themselves safe online and how to parent in this digital age. He spoke to our students, teachers and the community earlier this year. He has some excellent short videos which can be found on Facebook John Parsons: S2E - Videos.
Later in the newsletter, Lisa Corbett (Guidance Counsellor) outlines where additional support can be accessed for you and your whānau. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a community where there is such a wide range of people and groups there to provide assistance and help.
With regard to distance learning I would like to draw your attention to the following Ministry of Education resources. The Learning From Home website provides a range of information and resources to assist with distance learning. The Home Learning TV is back up and running and provides a range of programming. This is also available On Demand.
Last night we received information regarding changes to NCEA for this year. Of significance is that external exams will now take place from 22 November to 14 December. There is an article explaining all of the changes in more detail later in this newsletter.
As a staff, we have been meeting regularly to check in with each other and share information and updates. I have spoken about the need to make sure that they are also setting themselves a routine. They need to be clear with their colleagues, students and parents about when they will be available online to teach and answer questions. Otherwise it can be very easy to find yourself in front of a computer for the whole day!
Finally, a reminder to look out for each other; everyone is trying to do their best. If you have any questions or require support, or know of others that do, please get in touch with someone from the College and we will do what we can to help. Thank you for your ongoing support of the College.
Ngā mihi nui