Dear Parents and Friends of SBN,
We hope you and your family are safe and healthy and we wish you well in the coming weeks. This is a very worrying time for all of us. Currently school is closed until March 30th, however, as I’m sure you are aware our Taoiseach has advised us that this situation may last much longer than this. The teachers of SBN were preparing for this situation in advance of the announcement last Thursday. Teachers sent home core books with the children last week and uploaded work onto the Aladdin Connect facility for each class level. They will forward another scheme of work on March 30th. Teachers also sent suggestions of websites and apps which you may find useful to consolidate the children’s learning at home. Please be advised that websites and apps, while very useful, are no substitute for teaching. They will consolidate learning but not teach a new concept. As time moves on and your children may be asked to work on new concepts they will need adult support. Likewise, when using websites and apps please do monitor what the children are doing. Ensure they are progressing and not engaging in the same activities as they may want to stick with what they find fun!
The link below contains many useful suggestions.
CJ Fallon and Edco have made all textbooks available online. You can create a free account and view textbooks from your child’s level. Eventhough, they may use different books in class there is no harm is using supplementary material such as this for a change or a challenge.
At this time of year we cover the sensitive lessons in the Stay Safe Program and the RSE Program. You may wish to cover these important lessons with your children. These lessons are also available online at educationonline.ie and curriculumonline.ie Please ensure that click on the appropriate level.
There are many fun/exciting initiatives popping up online and through social media. The Glucksman Gallery, Museum of Literature Ireland, Author Oliver Jeffers, The Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland are some groups uploading activities for children that are both educational and fun. I’d encourage you to share what you find useful with others and share photos/videos of your children with their friends where appropriate. Social distancing is difficult for us all. As adults we still have the option of connecting via text, phonecall and social media. Children do not have the opportunities that adults have nor do they fully understand what is happening in the country right now. Social distancing is harder on them than any of us. Try to prioritise getting outside, Learn outside! Practise sounds while walking, counting activities outsides with shells/sticks etc. Plant and garden. Encourage them to be engineers in the back gardent! Encourage them to research topics and create presentations on topics they are interested in or as a follow on from a discussion had with you. As teachers we always start with the interests and ability of the children. This is your springboard for learning. Don’t be afraid to step outside the parameters of the work set by teacher. Teach them life skills such as time/money/an instrument. No matter what their age read to them! In Secondary School children will be expected to identify the theme/plot/character traits etc independently. Don’t assume that because they can read they can comprehend what they are reading. All children learn at different rates and through different styles.
The Primary School Curriculum is available on line at www.curriculumonline.ie should you wish to view the aims and objectives of each class level. This will give you an idea of the content at each level. Please be mindful that all children learn at different rates and respond to different styles. When we return to school we will be mindful of the fact that children need time to reestablish routines and catch up. With this in mind I would advise parents, in so much as much as possible, do little and often rather than a few days of intense work. Your family circumstances and your health will determine how much work you can do at home. A teacher’s family circumstances and health may also affect their work. We have been advised by the DES to continue to send work home and support parents at this time. We fully intend to do this to the best of our ability. Teachers will update you regularly on the class work/projects.
When organising work teachers must respect the fact that not all families have access to devices or ample broadband, particularly when the rest of the family is also working from home. Please respect the fact that not everybody is able to invest equal amounts of time into teaching their children at home as well as work from home and keep the household running. Please respect the fact that some children have additional needs and meeting their needs is a focus for us and their parents. We will work with you for as long as this takes and when we return to school your children will be supported fully.
In the meantime we wish you and your families health and safety particularly those of you working in the health sector.
Le Gach Dea Ghui,
Ger O Brien agus Foireann na Scoile.