Head's Blog

Update- 23rd March

Firstly, I hope you and your families are all well. It seems a little while since I have sent you an email update but thought I would write to you all to see how you are getting on and settling into this new, strange routine.

I have been hugely impressed with the amount of work that the children have been doing and I know the teachers are very impressed too! Thank you for all the messages of support and feedback you have sent.

We have received some amazing photographs of what you have been up to which we would like to share. If you are happy for this to happen, please can you email them to me and I will get them added to the website.

These are anxious times for children and parents alike and if you feel it would be beneficial to slow down the working, or take a break, then please do so! We are setting enough to ensure that you do not run out; please do not feel pressured to always complete everything. I know many of you are working from home and trying to juggle this with home schooling is difficult. ‘Little and often’ is fine! Please also remember that 15 minutes quality ‘one to one’ working is probably as productive as a lot longer than that in a large class of children. The boundaries of an hour’s writing and an hour’s maths in the school timetable do not necessarily apply to home schooling.

As an Early Years practitioner, I also firmly believe that there is a huge amount of opportunity to learn through play, even if you are much older than the foundation stage! And with the weather being this good, the benefits of playing in the garden are enormous! Take advantage of this time at home to do the things that get squeezed out of our curriculum sometimes: cooking, baking, crafts, art, den building, bug hunting….the list goes on!

I have been sent many documents from companies /organisations offering support with home schooling. One of them is actually from MindMap who you will recall are working with us on our emotional literacy programme. Their letter was actually sent for all teachers and staff but I think it may be of use to you too. I am not necessarily suggesting you all make Caseys (although you may like too…) but referring back to the work we had already done in school may be useful.

Tomorrow, I will be writing to the children directly so if you could print off or share the attachment I sent out, I would be very grateful. We are all missing the children hugely!

World Book Day

We have had a fantastic World Book Day! As staff, we all enjoyed dressing up and I thoroughly enjoyed being tiger for as day! Many thanks to all of you who helped your children look amazing! The children had a great time.

A highlight was the older children reading with the younger members of the school. This was a lovely aspect of our recent Reading Festival and we were delighted to repeat it today. The book swap was also very popular.

It was lovely to see so many of you sharing whole class guided reading and writing session with your children this afternoon. As you are aware, the children focussed on writing about their memories today based on the book ‘The Match Box Diary’. For those of you who were not able to come in, the book is about an old man who has kept lots of memories in matchboxes over the years and he shares them with his great granddaughter. Thank you to everyone who filled the matchboxes we sent home; there were some very inventive ideas and some lovely memories!

Safer Internet Day

Today is Safer Internet Day and, as well as our routine teaching of E-safety, we have taken the opportunity to remind the children of how to stay safe using the internet with a wide variety of age specific activities.

Tomorrow, my assembly will follow an internet safety theme when I will read the story ‘#Goldilocks’ to the children. This amusing but very relevant ‘re-working’ of the story involves Goldilocks posting pictures of her visit to the Three Bears’ cottage online! It is available via the following link, as is an associated activity sheet, if you would like to discuss it with your children. (Please do not do so before tomorrow though!):

https://www.vodafone.co.uk/mobile/digital-parenting/goldilocks

Digital parenting can be a very bewildering experience especially as the digital world evolves so quickly and the popularity of certain apps is ever changing. There is a lot of very good advice available on line, as well as reviews of apps that your children may wish to use. The following website is particularly good:

https://www.internetmatters.org/

This website reiterates the actions you, as parents and carers, can take to increase your children’s safety online. They include:

  • Agreeing firm boundaries about internet use and being very clear of your expectations.
  • Staying involved with your children’s use of the internet by asking them to use an open family space and trying to create ‘digital free zones’ in bedrooms. You may recall that Simon Aston NCC’s E-safety officer advised that the children should not be using headsets when gaming so you can hear the conversations they may be having online.
  • Exploring an app or website together so that you can understand the content and set appropriate privacy settings if necessary.
  • Talking to older siblings and wider family members to ensure that they are aware of ‘the internet boundaries’ you have set and are able to set a good example of appropriate online use.

We have been talking to the older children in school about the sort of apps and websites they are using. Many of them are not age appropriate and require the user to be 13 or over (Tik Tok and Whatsapp for example).

It is, of course, entirely up to you as parents what usage you are comfortable with and I do accept that many of the apps are going to be used regardless of age restrictions. The links below give some guidance on two of the most popular apps and how you can regulate their use and set appropriate settings.

Tik Tok: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/parents-ultimate-guide-to-tiktok

Roblox: https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/esafety-news/parents-guide-to-roblox-and-how-your-kids-can-play-it-safely/

We will continue to teach the children about online safety and appropriate use as part of the computing curriculum. If you have any questions or comments about any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch

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