As I mentioned in the blog post on Friday, Rose is going to lead us at 6.30pm tonight with a short presentation and then discussion around keeping our relationships positive and we can share some tips in keeping our children and ourselves behaving well towards each other! Join us using the code below.
Please remember to register your child/children with each teacher either by dojo, on the class stream (the children can do this one themselves) or if you are having technical issues phone the school office. The law remains: if we don’t hear from you each day it gets marked as an absence and three days in a row I need to come to your door and do a welfare check. I appreciate you are juggling so much but please do register to let us know you are all well – many thanks.
Working online through Google Classrooms has been hard work for everyone, we appreciate that but it’s been terrific to keep us all socially connected. This time round we’ve managed to have a nursery classroom, too, filled with story time and ideas for playing, etc. If you missed the chance to join click on this link – it’s never too late to join in the fun of learning through play.
Thank you to all who have taken part in the weekly survey. A couple of good suggestions going forward and I have fed these back to staff. Your confidence in the staff is very much appreciated – and reciprocated. Staff know that you are doing an amazing job keeping the house going, some of you with working at home, others juggling shifts so you can be at home and others working full time and trying to catch up with your child’s learning in the evening.
As you know all staff are taking a turn coming in to school to supervise the children and young people. We are grateful to those parents who can change their shifts to keep their children at home. Anyone who has had difficulties with devices or internet connection has had some kind of resolution if they have been in touch with us so please don’t suffer at home – do make contact with us as we are here to help.
Occasionally (!) things can get frantic when we are cooped up together as families especially if the weather is poor and we stay indoors. It would be good just to wrap up and go out for a walk daily as a family so that you can just get out of the house. If you want some tips or to realise you are not alone come and join us on Wednesday at 6.30pm where Rose from the PEF Family Team will lead on some tried and tested ideas. I would say that I’ll be joining so I can get tips on keeping my family going, but I think they might want tips on how to keep me behaving well! I will put a google meet code out at the beginning of the week.
A number of parents have requested that staff receive the star award this week in recognition of working in their holidays to ensure that all learning has been well organised and communication has been fantastic since coming back after the holidays. So, just for staff from calm Mrs Cornish and Mrs Matheson in the office to nursery staff den building in the rain and all staff in between – thank you.
Finally for this week here is a snapshot of learning at home and in the school this week with star award winners too, including Miss Bills who is studying her degree in Early Years Philosophy and practice who got an A in her last assignment. There’s a few sibling cuddles, a mother and daughter special moment and smiling faces. here’s hoping week two is just as positive! There’s also a post someone thought all who have been supervising children learning at home might need on a Friday night…a bit of lavender to reduce ‘stress’…..
Keep following the advice and stay safe. To our families that are unwell for any reason just now, please feel the Smithton family love.
Assembly will have to revert back to a slide show on Friday which will be shared in your child’s classroom. If you can decide whether your child has engaged really well this week or behaved in a safe, ready or respectful way then please nominate your child for a Star Award and your child’s teacher will announce at an agreed time.
It really is helpful to us if you take time to complete this survey on a weekly basis as it gives us a clear understanding if the activities and learning we are providing is too much, too little or just about right! Click here, please to complete. Again can I thank the staff publicly for all taking a turn and coming into school to supervise your children and also for their ingenuity in how they are engaging with your children at home.
Hopefully all have had a positive ‘first day back’ and that all managed to access their learning grids, etc. A reminder to register by dojo or classroom stream as close as you can to 9am as possible. We will continue to keep a register as usual and office is open to receive calls if your child is off sick. I believe there’s chicken pox on the go as well.
All staff will be in the school building at some point in the week on a rota to allow the targeted children to remain in school. Please note again that they will not be taught in school, just supervised. If the staff are in school they will not be engaging with the classroom to the same extent but the class teacher will share with you which day he/she is in so you are aware.
As part of the COVID-19 recovery education plan, the Scottish Government has put money into local authorities to provide extra teaching time and counselling services. Mr MacDonald comes on a Tuesday to Smithton and we targeted P2 with Mrs Morison’s class last term. This term it is P7 and Miss MacDonald. Our counselling service starts this week and I met with the counsellor last week to firm up a plan. Please see the introduction from her below:
Hello everyone, my name is Surya and I am a counsellor from HPS Counselling and I am really excited to be part of Smithton Primary School this year.
Although I will be working mainly with the p6/7 children, these are difficult times.
So, I would like to invite, parents, carers or guardians, to a COVID Parent/ Carer Support Group, for support, chat and maybe even a bit of fun.
If you would like be a part of this or even just to try it out, come and join us.
It is on Friday 15th at 2pm using google meet.
The code is below.
Please see the pack below for the service that is on offer
March – June nursery staff were mostly in the designated keyworker hubs so we were unable to create a virtual classroom for the early years children. This time, we will be able to do this as school and nursery buildings are open and staff will be on a rota. If you would like to be part of the virtual ‘playroom’ and hear stories, rhymes and generally keep in touch with us, please click on this link. Staff are busy getting things up and running for this new venture!
School resumes for all on Monday – designated only children to attend school while everyone else stays at home. All staff have put the learning grids out to you now. Please take time over the weekend or first thing on Monday to see what suits you as a family. Let me emphasise to you that learning will not take place if you are all stressed. Stop, regroup, play a game or get some fresh air together and then reschedule a learning time together. Try and keep to a routine that works for you as a family.
One of the things that we were doing in school these three days was to consider words of encouragement to everyone in our local community.
I thought it might be an idea for families to do together while they are at home and try and keep the positive vibes going. We made a wishes jar of things we would like to do when restrictions ease or when bit of the craziness is over for us it was simple things like Aria wanted to touch the horses (you’re not allowed with current restrictions) and Gabriel wanted to go swimming (he had almost graduated his lessons when all this began last March). We also made a ‘Gift of Time calendar’ an envelope for each month of this year of a promise I will do with them, things that either cost very little or are free, they decorated the envelopes but have no idea what we have put in them and so it’s time spent together which is most important I feel, and I’ve put things as simple as camping under the stars in the garden to breakfast at the beach.
A massive thank you to all staff this week who have been here making things run smoothly. We’ve had everything from ice Olympics to den building and crafts. These staff have put themselves in the front line to look after your children and I am very grateful to them, as am sure all of you are that needed childcare this week. Teaching staff have been collaborating online and working hard to ensure that learning will continue to take place at home with a selection of activities that promote social skills, learning outdoors, written and online learning. Their enthusiasm and commitment is to be expected but never taken for granted. We will resume the weekly survey as this really helped us get things as good as we could for you. We need you to be honest and encouraging. For those who are new to the school, the survey is quick and easy to do but helps us make changes to the learning each week. It makes a big difference if you take the time to do this for us on a Thursday night.
Please do send photos that you would like to share on the school blog at the end of the week but remember that no household is perfect. The photos might look like all relationships are harmonious and that all houses are clean and tidy…but we all live with family and we all know that we take photos that put us in a good light! It is uplifting to see your children learning at home, though and the children remark that they like seeing their friends so do please keep them coming. Here are one or two from school this week.
Please stay safe and remain resilient. To those families who are ill we wish you a speedy recovery.
Some cheery news for us to share. Ronnie, one of our P6 pupils, took on the New Year’s Day challenge in aid of the Dogs Trust after his much-loved pooch Lady passed away, aged 16, shortly before Christmas. Ronnie was a little nervous when he arrived at Loch Ness, but went straight in the water with his dad and uncle. He then came out and had a flask of tea and went back in again as he said he wanted to do it twice as he has raised over double the money. What a brilliant effort Ronnie! Well done!
I appreciate that those of you waiting to hear about whether your child has a space here at school going forward need to know as soon as possible. With certain changes I am having to negotiate and work with colleagues in the council about those who have requested a place. Please know that I am doing everything I can. It is required that I have confirmation from your employer/line manager that your work patterns can’t accommodate you to work from home. If you haven’t got that yet you must get it to me by tomorrow.
The default should be to have your child at home and not in school. Please review whether you need a place for your child in school. Email me directly if, on reconsideration, you don’t need a place for your child.
Please stay safe and continue to follow all advice.
This is the latest from the Highland Council. For those that I was in touch with today regarding keyworker status please read the appendix carefully and answer the questions. If you think you are still eligible please email me directly and I will be in touch by the end of the week.
For those who are attending in person tomorrow, please come through the same gates and line up as usual. Your child can wear school uniform or not particularly this week as they are officially on holiday till Monday. Lunches will be served as normal and cleaning staff will be in to keep us as germ free as possible. Please do not send your child if there are any signs of illness – we all need to keep safe.
Please note if you email me I will endeavour to answer as quickly as possible but there may be a delay as we will need to work things out as a staff. We’ll get there!