Letter from Mrs. Eithne Sheehan to all Parents

 

 

Dear Parents,

On behalf of the staff and BOM of our school I would like to congratulate everyone on their hard work and co-operation as we provide the best education possible to your child under these difficult circumstances. Your feedback and encouragement is invaluable

It has come to my attention some people have questions regarding our schools approach to Distance Learning during this Emergency Closure. I would like to assure you all decisions made for our schools approach are made collaboratively and with the best interests of the children in our care dictating all decisions and approaches.

The Department of Education requires;

  1. That we have regular engagement with the children and their parents on a regular basis
  2. That tasks and teaching methodologies are age appropriate.
  3. That there is a mix of teaching and learning experience for the child.
  4. That there is constant two way communication between home and school.

 

Feedback to date from parents is that we are meeting these requirements and the children are progressing thanks to our co-operative and collaborative approach. Our Distance Learning Policy is a living document and responds to the children’s needs and adapts to provide the best educational experience possible. But all content and changes are firmly rooted in best practice and educational research.

 

Each school has been advised to pick the educational platforms that best meets their needs. No specific learning platform is recommended. We have chosen to use Aladdin Connect, See-Saw, Kahoot, Spellings For Me, Irish Homework.ie, PM Reading and a variety of educational publishers resources to support your child’s learning. The school website   www.crehanans.com is also used to promote various whole-school events and facilitate two way communication. All choices must promote equity and accessibility for all the children in our care.

 

Some parents have asked why we are not using Zoom as our digital learning platform. There are a number of reasons why we don’t have live Zoom Classes. With regards to live online lessons ,all academic research at primary level is that online lessons are ineffective. To be effective they rely on 100% class attendance. Unfortunately, whole school attendance at primary level at whole class live lessons is <70% on average and because it is against GDPR and Child Protection Guidelines to record these lessons , we find ourselves with 30-40% of children missing the curriculum. In primary school, it is also essential that parents sit with their children during live lessons. This would be different to second level where students own their own devices. Also at second level, lessons are generally lectures where students take notes. Primary education is very different. Further advice at Infant Level is that they need hands on learning which is best met in the home environment in an experimental way.

 

Best practice would suggest that a teacher can record concepts they wish to teach mini sessions and give a mix of tasks to support this learning, which in turn the teacher responds to .as it appears that lockdown is now extended teachers may record lessons to explain new concepts if it is considered necessary. We can provide this facility on our Aladdin system. If a parent feels their child is struggling with a concept they need to contact the class teacher privately through email or Aladdin for some extra help .Where children are receiving learning support , their support teacher also works with the child. They too are available to support and help. Please contact your child’s class teacher if you are finding things difficult.

 

We also are aware that the children are missing their friends and their school so if any parent wants to arrange a digital meet up for their child and his/her friends it might be something that would benefit your child at a time that suits you. This is something a parent could arrange outside of school if wanted. It is essential you have other parents’ permission prior to arranging this. We acknowledge it would be beneficial for your child to meet their friends online in a social context.

 

It is important to know that remote teaching will never be as good as face-to-face learning in a classroom. All schools have their approach which supports their children. Every School is different and has different approaches. Nobody thinks remote learning is a good alternative to normal school but it is the best available option to us at present to try and continue teaching the curriculum.

To follow up on this. There was an interesting article in the Irish Times recently:    https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?

 

I am aware it can be difficult keeping everything running at home this webinar titled “Juggling Home and School ;Support for Primary Parents” might give some support. You can book a place on the following link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1zaA-BbkQBmdRuitlMjoQQ

 

All choices must give each child a chance to equal opportunity to access the curriculum and respect each child’s difference and home circumstance. This has dictated our approach to Digital Distance Learning in our school. We hope this explains our approach and our reasons and look forward to the day your child will walk in the door of our school and we do what we do best teach them face to face.

Please remember you are not a trained teacher and it is a very specific skill so home-schooling is bound to be challenging. Your best is all you can do as we work together through this difficult time.

 

Le Meas

Eithne Sheehan

On behalf of the Staff and BOM of Crehana NS