Hands-on learning at Wilmot Road

By Jessica Ball

At Wilmot Road Primary School moving to learning remotely did not necessarily mean moving online.

Assistant principal Sharon Thompson said it was important students were only online for the time they needed to be.

“Screen time isn't the answer to education,” Mrs Thompson said.

“We really were able to bring authentic learning into the home.”

To help achieve this the teachers put together hard-copy work packs for each student; the first pack was picked up by families at the end of Term 1, and the second was distributed just before the back-to-school order.

“Even though the students are working online we put together a work pack that complemented the work online but we also sent home things like PE equipment — there was a skipping rope and a tennis ball in there,” she said.

“We sent home lots of books so that the kids could continue with their reading and a little container full of maths equipment like a pack of cards and the dice.”

From physical education challenges to Zumba classes, the school has followed its normal curriculum but has also tailored learning to the situation.

Mrs Thompson said cyber-bullying education had also been an important part for learning from home for the e-smart school.

“It was what we would have done if we were at school, but I think it's even more heightened now with how many people are online,” she said.

“It's very important that children understand that whilst the internet is a powerful tool it can be also dangerous if not used in the right way.”

Despite moving to an online platform the school had never used before, Mrs Thompson said it had allowed communication to become stronger than ever.

“I think parents have a bit of more of an understanding of how school operates and how to support their children,” she said.

“Being able to showcase some of the kids’ work online with the families is a really good thing. It's been really good to be able to bring that bond together and I'm hoping that will continue.

“Parents should be really proud of themselves in the way they've done things because for a lot of parents it has been really confronting.”