What an exciting week of learning in Pre-Reception and Reception!
In Pre-Reception the little students have been working on ordering numbers from 1 to 10 in Numeracy, and in Literacy they have been exploring the letter “i”.
In Reception they have been learning the letter sounds and how to blend them together into words. In Numeracy they have been experimenting with addition sums.
The theme for the week, Fairy Tales, inspired some amazing works of art and on Friday the students will have a dress up for their online class meeting.
We cant wait to see what next week brings for our Foundation Stage classes.
Today would have been the end of the lockdown period, a measure which called for rapid adjustment. I am sure that most of you were just as disappointed as I was to hear that lockdown has been extended. We all understand the necessity of such action, but the daily reality remains tough. We still have family and work commitments, whilst being mindful of what the future may hold. In no way do I mean to sound pessimistic; I would rather speak openly about the reality we face. We must try to not be fearful or become resentful and despondent. We will all undoubtedly suffer twinges of these emotions from time to time, but they are not a healthy place to dwell. We are not always aware of the specific challenges faced by each individual or family, but I believe there does exist a common empathy amongst South Africans. Practice kindness and wherever you can, stretch out a hand or a sympathetic ear.
Parents, we are so grateful for your support during this time. Your encouraging messages and emails are much appreciated. To all my staff, I wish for you to know how proud I am of your hard work and dedication. You continue to serve our students and their families with commitment and care. I am sure you are missing the students as much as I am. We are teachers because we love the interaction our job brings, the daily chatter and bustle of a busy classroom. We all miss the cheerful meet and greets in the morning, the laughter and games during break time. The chatter of voices in the corridors and the slam of lockers. Yes, we miss it all!
May the next two weeks of lockdown be a time of positivity and let’s look forward to the morning school run.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead.
On the 1st of April, teachers and students alike embarked on a new and unfamiliar journey – the world of online teaching and learning. As a biology teacher it took some thought and much planning to adjust to the challenges of moving my subject onto a virtual platform. Getting to grips with the technological side of online teaching seemed like a daunting task at first.
I found myself being a student again, having to learn how to use Google Classroom in much greater depth than I ever thought I would have to. After a few days of trial and error, however, the sailing went much smoother and I realised just how adaptable a person can be when the situation requires it. Soon I was uploading videos of myself teaching content, having live Google Meet sessions to check in with my students, scheduling lesson content and doing online registers as though this is the way its always been done.
Navigating classes from a distance has been made easier by the many dedicated students that work to their full capacity at home and provide valuable feedback on their Biology online experience. This feedback is helpful in adjusting the system to ensure that the learning process continues even though we are not at school. I have been astounded by the resilience of many students who have also had to figure out how to approach online classes and manage their time independently from a typical school environment.
The following tips for working from home have been very helpful the past two weeks:
- Have a set routine: This is important as it brings some structure to your day in these uncertain times.
- Take regular breaks: Working from home can be taxing and intense so take many short breaks if you can.
- Spend some time outside: Being cooped up indoors for long periods of time can have a negative impact on your mood and well being so try to spend at least 15 minutes a day outside (weather permitting).
- Cuddle with your pets: If you have pets at home it can lower your stress levels and blood pressure by stroking them for a while.
- Be kind to yourself: Do the best you can do but do not push yourself beyond your limits.
“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to” – Robin Williams
High School Biology Teacher
The Year 3 group has been working hard and playing hard!
During the lockdown our students are missing their friends and teachers and the norm of a routine that we all now long for. Despite all of the changes and obstacles, our students remain BRAVE and BRIGHT.
This weekend many of our Year 3 students participated in their own private Easter Egg Hunts, made crafts and shared what they miss most about BIS.
Among their efforts to help flatten the curve and focus on the schoolwork they have to do, they make us proud and light up the days of all who witness their commitment and drive.
We would like to say thank you to our little heroes for doing their part.
Year 3 Teacher
There have been so many articles, Facebook posts and news posts about the situation we currently find ourselves in. Upon reflection, I have realised that the world we knew is not going to be the same ever again. This includes the educating of our children. I have been so encouraged by the enthusiasm, determination and patience of our KS 1 parents.
We are, or believe we are experts in our various fields. If you asked me to design a building, I wouldn’t know where to start. If you asked me to fix the engine of a motor car, well I shudder to think of the outcome. We are teachers and educators. We studied hard for this and many of us have many teaching years behind us. You are parents and your responsibility is to parent your child. Yet we find ourselves in a situation, where we, as teachers, are expanding your responsibilities by asking you to help educate your child. We can only provide the tools, support and encouragement from our homes.
I know it’s difficult and frustrating at times, but my article today, is to say THANK YOU. Thank you for encouraging your children, supporting them in a field that you might not be familiar with. After chatting to my students in our online meetings, I see their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I know there might be times when you feel like giving up. Please don’t. The teachers are here for you.
Once again, from Key Stage 1, we say THANK YOU!
Year 2 Teacher
In the Foundation Stage classrooms, it is all about practical learning, the students experiencing and exploring. We focus a lot on sensory play, fine motor development and generally just making a mess (because if you are not covered in glitter or paint, it wasn’t a successful day).
This is why online learning is a challenge, not only for the teachers, who want the little ones to keep learning and exploring, but also for the parents and students. It is also for all of those reasons why we as teachers are immensely proud of our students and so grateful to have such wonderful parents who are so supportive and encouraging. Not only has the little ones kept their sense of wonder and excitement during this challenging time, they have participated in all the activities with big smiles. As a teacher it is wonderful to get photos or videos of your students working so beautifully at home.
As a Foundation Stage teacher (who cannot wait to get back to being covered in glitter and paint) I would like to thank all our parents for helping us make this a fun and interesting learning journey for our students.
Reception Year Teacher
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts
The Year 3 students have tackled learning from home with great eagerness, bravery and enthusiasm. There were a few expected hiccups along the way, and it has taken a few days for students, parents and teachers to adapt to this different style of learning. However, this is a wonderful opportunity for all to truly discover what they are capable of and to challenge themselves.
Our aim in Year 3 is to try and get the students to complete all tasks as independently as possible. We have tried to achieve this by simplifying the tasks, making it interactive and structuring the lessons in a clear and concise manner.
We do realise that our Year 3 parents are also lending their children a hand in helping them to understand exactly what to do and aiding the students to achieve their true potential, despite having their own work to complete from home. Thank you parents – you are truly appreciated!
This past week our Year 3’s have engaged in several exciting activities such as designing and creating their very own frame out of foil, conducting a cloud experiment and creating a food groups display.
We are so proud of all of you and can’t wait to see you back at school.
Year 3 Teacher
As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all confronted with uncertainty. Research tells us that uncertainty increases anxiety and worry in both children and adults. We cannot remove much of the uncertainty we currently face, but what we can do is look for opportunities to feel some certainty and control. For this reason, following a normal routine and having some structure to the day is likely to be useful for kids and parents.
Attempting to school children at home puts pressure on parents at a time when anxiety is high. This is not helpful for them or their children. An alternative is to let the children play at certain times. The benefits of play are ranging. When children have more opportunities for play, they have better physical and mental health. It significantly decreases their stress levels, and more importantly it facilitates learning. Examples of play activities include building dens, dressing up, play dough or sensory play.
What is sensory play?
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates a young child’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing, as well as anything which engages movement and balance. Sensory play is not video games and TV. We use our sight and our hearing for those activities but sensory play involves actively engaging the senses to discover and explore the world around us.
Some examples of sensory play:
Sensory play for toddlers– observing light and shadow created by torch light on objects of different sizes, or watching colours mix and the patterns formed by finger painting.
Sensory play for pre-school aged children- creating shapes and playing with sand, or playing with musical instruments and listening to the tone and pitch as they strike or blow through instruments softly or forcefully.
The benefits of sensory play:
Many well-known early years pioneers such as Montessori, Froebel and Goldschmid recognised the importance of sensory play as a fundamental experience for a child’s growth and development. Such benefits include:
- Experimentation skills and recognition of the sense used during the exploration of different items.
- Attention and concentration by focusing on the given stimuli, such as exploring a light box or torches with coloured cellophane.
- Increased hand/eye co-ordination and both gross and fine motor skills.
A lack of sensory play leads to the brain not getting accurate information about its surroundings. As the child gets older, experts typically refer to this as a sensory processing disorder. A lack of sensory play may lead to a child with anxiety and poor coordination. It can also lead to difficulty learning and paying attention. It’s important to give the child ample practice in all the senses.
That is why its best to let them play!
Martie van Dyk
Reception Year Teacher
Here are a few ways to remain positive during this time:
- Set boundaries and take care of yourself, both mentally and physically.
- Take time away from the online world (internet, social media, emails etc.).
- Pursue a neglected hobby or take up a new one.
- Keep informed about the situation, but do not become burdened with negativity.
- Reach out to others (within the boundaries of social distancing) and be a blessing in someone’s life.
- Make time for family activities and value the time spent with loved ones.
There is a writer in you, in all of us! This is the perfect time to write that story which may prove to be the inspiration someone else so desperately seeks.
We are all looking forward to hearing our President say that our lives are going back to normal, but hopefully this experience will affect our perception of normal; hopefully it will have taught us new skills and offer us a different way of looking at life.
I wish you all a blessed Easter weekend and hope you enjoy some wonderful family time.
From my home to yours, a very warm welcome to-all high school parents and students. I think we can all agree that the past few weeks were testing times. However, I want to assure you that the high school teachers have worked tirelessly during the holiday to ensure we still deliver world class education.
In order to bring some “normal” back into our students’ lives (and their parents’ as well), we encourage the students to follow the normal timetable and to login to their Google Classroom at the time when the lesson starts. We discourage students from working at their own pace and only joining the class when they want to. This will also help to establish a daily routine, which is most necessary at a time like this.
As this is new to all of us find below some handy tips:
– Create a suitable study space.
– Come prepared to the virtual classroom.
– Follow the school timetable as it is and be on time for class.
– Students must fully commit themselves and participate in the virtual classroom.
– Remember to take the break time as indicated on the timetable.
– Make sure to get a good night`s rest.
Together we are stronger.
Head of Academics High School