Teachers set about establishing play provocations to encourage the students’ oral language and to provide an avenue where they could express their student voice about their experiences when returning to face-to-face teaching. Each class spent time listening to stories about feelings and had time to share their own stories of being at home during the peak of the pandemic.
Every child had the opportunity to draw or paint a response to what home learning was like for them. The responses ranged from having “an awesome experience with my family”, through being “happy using technology” to “being able to play outside with my dog”.
Some responses related to the family having issues with the internet, parents feeling a bit cranky, or else children feeling “sleepy” because they were in their pyjamas rather than the routine of attending school. Our students were very open and honest about their feelings, which was a great place for us to start to help them process how they felt and to see that the pandemic affected everyone in some way.
The drawings provided tremendous data for our teachers to use to inform them of other opportunities they may need to provide for the children as they adjust to being back in a school community.
Kinder set up a medical centre provocation and Year 1 set up a post office provocation. Each of these dramatic play spaces fostered terrific oral language exchanges that again helped our teachers learn more and understand what life was like for some of our families during the pandemic. Our teachers have planned many outdoor learning activities with a focus on fun and joy across these weeks with classes spending time crunching their feet in the autumn leaves of the liquid amber tree in the parish carpark.
Kindergarten and the children of essential workers set about creating beautiful rainbows as part of the initiative led by Kim Moroney, education officer for Early Learning. These rainbows are proudly displayed in our foyer, on windows, in classrooms and even in the principal’s office, reminding everyone of the message from our children and those of the children on Reggio Emilia, that “The Rainbow will win!” It has been a project of great joy for our students.
Continuing with our wellbeing theme, our students participated in National Simultaneous Story Time with more than one million others across the nation. The students then had great delight in creating some colourful and glitzy chickens through a variety of craft activities. There were brightly coloured feathers everywhere. The shared story was about being your wonderful self, which is something we always celebrate.
Other changes at our school include the use of Zoom for our Pentecost Liturgy, which is usually celebrated with a special day of prayer and activities around the gifts of the Holy Spirit to us. This is our school feast day and this year Kindergarten hosted the Zoom liturgy. Each class joined the liturgy and participated in the singing of our favourite Holy Spirit Rock hymn and shared intercessory prayers spontaneously via Zoom. It was a very reverent and prayerful experience and one filled with joy.