COVID-19

Free school meals/food boxes

Please see information below:

‘I have attached a copy of the guidance for families who are eligible for Free School Meals and wish to apply for food vouchers, applications can be made online on the Highland Council website, and the direct email for the FSM team is: school.foodvouchers@highland.gov.uk Families without internet access can instead phone the Covid-19 helpline (0300 303 1362).

Emergency food parcels are also being distributed, co-ordinated by the Virtual Community Hubs. Requests should be made via the Covid-19 helpline (0300 303 1362). Please provide as many details as possible (including the number of family members), a brief description of their circumstances (this could include problems with food storage or preparation i.e. lack of a fridge/freezer and/or microwave), and the reason they are vulnerable.

If you anticipate that a family might urgently require some food, particularly in the run up to the weekend, then it would be helpful if you could please contact the hub as early as possible, preferably on the Thursday. The Covid-19 helpline is open from 8:00-18:00, Mon-Fri.’

At home learning

The teachers are continuing to work full time to support learning at home. On their behalf I thank you for the overwhelming support you have given them. The quality, variety and creativity of the tasks and also the support being given, has been recognised by the authority and indeed the good practice has been shared amongst schools across Highland and indeed wider afield. It is an alternative but parallel  to what would have been taught at school had they been in the building.

Of course there will always be some families who feeling that their child is getting too much/too little. This is easily solved.

For those who feel their child is getting too much– you may have a variety of other things you wish to do with your child such as baking or simply encouraging them to play independently. This is absolutely fine. There is no pressure what so ever to complete the tasks set. As a family you choose what and when. We would however make an exception for P6 and P7 as they should, for the most part, be able to work individually on their one to one devices, without too much parent input. The P6 and P7 are encouraged to take ownership of their learning.

For those who feel their child is getting too little– Learning has no ceiling so simple adaptations/additions can challenge them further. Some ideas are listed below

Writing

Ask them to write more; keep a diary; write a letter to a relative who is in lockdown- they’d love it; highlights words spelt incorrectly and learn them through spelling games; write a poem; a great idea is to for them to pick 3 items around the home and to use them to storyboard (ie a cartoon version) a story. The next day they could use this to write their own story; younger children could write a shopping list, make a poster etc etc

Reading

There are free online stories through the BBC website to listen to; read to a sibling or a pet; turn a story into a play and act it out with teddies; make it into a story with homemade puppets. Pupils of all ages are encouraged to have allocated time to read by themselves for enjoyment every day.

Maths

Find numbers around the house and add them/subtract them; use playing cards and/or dice to make up your own sums eg turn over 2 cards and multiply them, roll 2/3/4 dice and add them; use a ruler, measuring tape and measure 10 objects around the house; find the area; learn to tell the time both digital and analogue; use kitchen scales to with packets of food and check if they have the correct weight on label; learn your times tables- you can never be too quick. Use the tins in the cupboard and make a graph of how many; collect food boxes and open them up to investigate how they are folded together, find 20 rectangles about the house etc etc

(I attach a sheet of learning at different stages- it is a rough guide to show you)

Animals Topic

Pick your favourite animal and learn all about it & make a wee project book; watch the webcams at Edinburgh zoo./Highland wildlife park and draw an animal. Find out about different jobs working with animals etc , sort your books into books about animals; collect all the empty boxes and packages and use them to design and make a new enclosure for your favourite animal at Edinburgh zoo

Art

Use natural things to make a picture such as leaves and twigs, make playdough (recipes online)

Health & Wellbeing

Phone a friend, relax, read, or simply just play! I have attached the ‘Sunshine over Avoch’ logo which forms the basis on what we promote. Its good to use for a discussion.

Other

The teachers are continuing to send suggestions for  good websites and don’t forget about BBC learning on the TV in the mornings. Think about life skills and make them fun- tying laces, changing beds, cooking, helping around the house, dressing themselves and generally becoming more independent.

Common words

Parents have asked about helping their child with common words.  I have attached the common words lists that we use in the school with a few suggested activities. I have also attached a set of the words in a bigger format if you wish to cut them out to play games.

We would encourage the children to continue to learn to both read and  spell them. Parents are welcome to give them a wee ’test’ and if they get 100%, feel free to ‘award’ them with the next colour. If they get any wrong, practice only those ones over a few days and ask them those again (good idea to play wee games with them to help embed them). These words make up 60% of what we write so they also need to be able to transfer them into their writing.  We constantly need to revise them as they can be easily forgotten.

Nursery to P1

I have attached a wee booklet for nursery children who are coming into P1 in August (hopefully).

Google classrooms

It has come to my attention that there may have been a misconception about what Google Classrooms actually is. Contrary to what some parents thought (understandably so) It is not a screen with the teacher actually teaching the children, it is merely a place to post the learning. It is therefore exactly the same as the method we are currently using for the infants ie sending the weekly timetable via email it is merely a different platform.

After much discussion as a staff and especially those who are using it with P6 and P7, we believe that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages in using it for infants and therefore we will continue to send it by email. The older children will continue with google classrooms as the platform as they already have been given a chromebook by the authority and because they can take responsibly 100% for their own learning.

Email

We have been asked by a few parents if the weekly timetable can be sent directly to the children. We have also discussed this at our regular virtual staff meeting, and will do this but only for P5-7 and only if requested by a parent. It will still be sent to the parent as well.

P1-4 rely on a parent for support when learning at home so we will not be sending emails directly to them.

Children with ASN

We have been instructed to put all child plan meetings on hold currently. I apologise for this but you will appreciate that it is difficult to do these remotely.

However the teachers and I are very aware that it can be difficult to support and amuse a child with additional support needs. The authority is discussing how best to support you. In the meantime, the teachers and/or I will be phoning you to see if there is anything we can offer.

I also wondered how you would feel about having an online parent group chat? I will contact some of you directly to see if you would be interested in doing this, in the hope we can open it to all parents with children who have ASN. I would facilitate it for as long as you felt it was useful, but the ultimate goal would be to for it to evolve into a self-supporting wee group. Any thoughts?

Contacting teachers or Head teacher

We are happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s learning. The quickest route is via the teacher as my emails tend to be arriving quicker than I can answer them. If you bear with me , I will answer them as soon as I can.

Absence

Please do make regular contact with the class teacher. We have no choice but to pass on our concerns if we have not heard from you after 3 days.

As always I wish you good health.

Regards

Lorna Sim

Staying in touch, keeping learning moving during lockdown.