Friday, March 27th, 2020
I hope this letter finds you and your family well. These are strange and challenging times. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will be able to look back and say that we came through this ordeal and that we really cared for each other.
The school will do it’s very best to support its pupils and families over the coming weeks. These are unprecedented circumstances and it will be challenging to deal with the many diverse needs and circumstances that exist. However, I feel that it is important to state a few core principles;
- Primary Education is a process that takes place over eight years. It is based on the gradual development of pupils’ learning and maturity. It is unlike secondary education, where modules of content have to be taught to prepare for state examinations. There are no exams in primary school and these weeks that your child will be absent from school will have little or no effect on their education in the long run.
- Our school understands that these are difficult times for all our families and that circumstances vary greatly from home to home. We have no intention of creating any additional stress for our pupils or their parents by providing school work that may cause tension. Therefore, it is important that families engage with the programmes on an optional basis and do as little or as much of the work as they feel best fits their circumstances.
- Though formal school based learning has been put on hold, there are many valuable and varied learning experiences to be found in the day to day routines of the home.
- The programmes that we will be sending home will help in creating good routines for your children. We feel that between 60 to 90 minutes daily, Monday to Friday, is enough time to be spent on the programmes. In the more senior classes parent help should be minimal, while in the infant and junior classes some support will be needed. The work should be an enjoyable experience and should not be the cause of any anxiety.
The situation regarding the duration of school closures is very uncertain and will be determined by the Department of Education. As a result we intend to organise school work programmes on a phased basis and set out work that we feel is appropriate at each stage.
Initially, we sent recommendations of work which were to cover the period up to Friday the 27th of March. Since then, teachers have been putting together lists of work for the coming three weeks. These lists will be posted on the school’s website (www.callystownnationalschool.ie) each Monday. There should be enough work to keep pupils engaged for the duration of the week. We have tried to reduce the “on-line” content as much as possible, as we are aware that there is great demand on computer access time in homes.
A number of parents have asked about getting pupils’ schoolbooks home. At the moment we have decided to hold off on this, as we feel that the programmes that will be on the website will be more appropriate. However, we will review this issue in due course and if we feel it is necessary we will try to organise the safe collection of the books at another time.
I hope that you will find these programmes helpful and that they provide good support and routine for your children. We will monitor this ever changing situation over the coming weeks and will do our best to adapt our support to what we feel is best for your children. However, I feel that the priority for all of us is to keep ourselves and our families safe. Please remind your children to keep up their great work with washing their hands, good cough etiquette and keeping their social distance.
On behalf of everyone here at Callystown NS, I would like to wish you and your family good health and hope that it won’t be too long before we are all back in our classrooms, enjoying the friendship and love of learning that is so much part of our school.
Ambrose Mc Ginnity