School work through the summer hols?
Summer holidays usually mean relaxation for kids - but this year many will be catching up on school work. We've asked leading local prep school Maltman's Green on how to help them keep on keeping on.
School is already out for many school kids and for others it’s a matter of weeks away. But for many children this year, the summer holidays will be slightly different. My oldest son, who should have been taking exams in June for his predicted A level grades (so he can apply to university – pretty important!) is now having to take them in early September. This means revising over the summer, poor guy.
And parents who feel their kids have fallen behind over the last few month also feel a pressure to help them catch up before the new school year starts. Here current Head of Maltman’s Green prep school in Gerrards Cross, Mrs Pardon, and Deputy Head Mrs Rachel Gaynor, offers these tips for keep on keeping on. I hope they help.
Prepare a conducive work space. Make sure it is convenient for you but also quiet enough for the children. Having a space with all the tools at the ready is a great start and saves time.1
A pin up board or wall or even a window for displaying routine charts, achievements and star charts will motivate younger children. Schools make excellent use of their walls and the children understand this.2
Set expectations and be clear about what will be happening each day. They love to know what the order of activities will be and when they get a break!3
Children’s ability to focus varies throughout the day and the week. Listen to your child and allow some flexibility if they need to recharge. If younger children struggle, check that they understand the task. Ask them to repeat back the instructions and check they know what to do.4
Reading can become a greater priority with fewer activities to compete with. Allow for plenty of reading sessions and take an interest at times including hearing your child and reading to them.5
Breaks are crucial. Going outdoors is always the best option if possible. Screen time is the worst. Physical activity oxygenates the brain. For younger children creative play is a must.6
Parents may feel guilty that they are not able to give as much time as the children need. Give yourselves and the children leeway. Fit in what you can and accept that not everything will be finished or be completed to perfection. Teachers do this every day! The most powerful tool is praise and encouragement, but only when deserved because of effort, not just success.
Begin each lesson by encouraging the children to recap what was covered in the last lesson, encouraging your child to recall the topic, if necessary, or some key vocabulary. Do remember that success is built on past failure and risk taking. Rome wasn’t built in a day.8
Mrs Pardon is stepping down as headmistress of Maltman’s Green School after 15 years at the helm. In September Mrs Jill Walker takes over, building on the Mrs Pardon’s foundations with her own vision for STEAM learning (Science, Tech, Engineering, Art, Maths) and the integration of virtual learning even when the kids return to school. Here’s what she’s planning.
JILL WALKER, HEADMISTRESS ELECT MALTMAN’S GREEN SCHOOL, GERRARDS CROSS
We all know that disruptive technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things, robotics, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence are changing the way we live, work and communicate and it’s never been more keenly felt than in the current coronavirus crisis, with us all having to find new ways to work and connect.
At Maltman’s we’ve long been committed to the STEAM curriculum (Science, Tech, Engineering, Art and Maths), a way of learning arts and sciences collaboratively and harnessing the power of technology to find innovative, creative solutions to problems.
And because children learn by doing, even in lockdown it’s been important for teachers to provide these active learning opportunities. Digital technology can transform learning, bringing it to life, making it relevant and fun. From using green screens, class blogs, micro bits, and a virtual learning environment, it’s important to empower the girls to move from being passive consumers of information and technology, to active creators and innovators.
So over lockdown we helped the girls work together online on group projects like designing a new musical instrument, using computer aided design to create a 3D digital model of a house, and do a creative homework where they go off-piste with a variety of media to explore their own ideas independently. We’re looking forward to seeing all the girls in school in September but virtual learning will have its place too – the best of both worlds!