Posted on April 21, 2020
I would like to start by welcoming everyone back to school in a virtual sense for the beginning of Term 2. I hope that your recent school holidays were an opportunity to spend some quality time with family given the current restrictions. For me it was a lot of family bike rides, simple cooking with kids, and quite a lot of Netflix and other similar platforms. I have to also admit, that I am now an account holder in Roblox and have played a few games of Jail Break – my boys loved the opportunity to teach me this one!
As has been mentioned in previous communication, the learning this term will be a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous approaches. Our boys will be following their regular timetable as indicated on the Portal and their lessons will start in a synchronous way with teachers meeting and greeting students before directing them to the work they are required to be doing each lesson. Often this will be asynchronous and therefore having our boys working independently on set tasks for the remainder of each lesson. They will always have the opportunity to check back in with their classroom teachers and ask questions, and if ever in doubt they can contact their Pastoral Mentor for general help.
Alongside normal academic classes, we are still running our many co-curricular activities, just in a different format. Activities such as debating, fitness, Green Team, Social Justice, etc. are all still occurring, just using the digital space to operate. Boys need to keep an eye on the bulletin and on their emails to keep track of what is happening and when. Again, if in doubt they need to contact their Pastoral Mentor.
During this period of online learning it is critical that our boys still find opportunities to be active and also socialise with each other. Our Sport and the Physical Education Department have combined together to provide activities for our students to be doing whilst at home and have placed these on the front page of the Portal. It is really important that students find time to include physical activity during their daily routine. Socialising with their peers is also another critical factor throughout this time of isolation, and this generation of students will find this easier than parents may have thought, given that this mode of socialising is something they’ve been doing for some time now. Having said that, we are encouraging students to find time at lunch, recess or after school to catch up with their friends using one of a variety of platforms that you as a parent are comfortable with.
Our pastoral program will also continue to run with our Pastoral Mentors running a variety of activities throughout these weeks from Resilience Project lessons to fun catch up chats to ensure we are keeping track of our boys and their mental health. We will have them involved in different webinars, small group activities, mindfulness sessions, games, challenges, plus lots more. Parents are encouraged to please keep us informed about any concerns or issues you may see developing in your children by contacting their Pastoral Mentor.
As much as this is a different way to start any school term, it is also an exciting way to fast-forward the development of our boys in terms of independence, organisation, self-sufficiency, plus lots more. Of course there are going to be students who find this challenging at first, but we are here to help with that. The world will be a different place following COVID-19, so these additional skills will be advantageous if universities and workplaces continue to utilise remote learning and working habits in the years to come. This is a fantastic opportunity for our boys to develop those skills now in a really positive and supportive way. I wish everyone well for the beginning of Term 2.