A huge learning curve
When the announcement was made to move to alert level 4, schools had limited time to prepare for the weeks of home schooling ahead, but the way they adapted at such short notice was impressive.
At Onehunga Primary School, (OPS), online tools such as Seesaw, and the school’s Site for Learning website, as well as Zoom teleconferencing , enabled teachers to share school work with families. For those without access to the internet or a device, school packs were sent out to homes in printed format which included exercise books, activity books and stationery. To stay in touch, regular phone calls were made by the school to students, so they still felt connected.
OPS parent Laura Hulbert felt well supported by the school, and she was impressed by the level of communication. “The weekly home learning packs that OPS sent out were really helpful, and had a lot of fun and easy tasks to compete. It was great that there were a few things I could involve my non-school aged child in too. It was hard juggling both children at different learning stages when both parents had to work, so it helped to know there was no pressure for my daughter to complete a certain amount of class work”, she says.
Mrs Manuyag also had her own children to look after, and admits the first few weeks working from home were a little bit bumpy, but thanks to the support of her work colleagues, husband and parents within her bubble, she was able to tailor a timetable that worked.
She says, “Working with a group of teachers who were willing to try things in a new and alternative way was inspiring – it was a huge learning curve for all of us and I feel honoured to work with a group who truly care about their students. I felt that we became closer as a staff, and there was a lot of collaborative creative thinking that went on behind the scenes to make sure our learning was accessible, interesting, relevant and fun for our students of all ages and abilities. Watching staff, students and parents all go above and beyond to make this unprecedented time manageable, educational while also being empathetic and calming was extraordinary.”