Wilmot Road Primary goes virtual

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Virtual tours of the Mooroopna Historical Society, yoga lessons and cooking classes are some of the activities students at Wilmot Road Primary School have been doing to keep connected during the pandemic.

But it hasn't gone completely without a hitch.

The school has been collaborating with the Lighthouse project, an initiative that under normal circumstances introduces students to anything with a community bent; be it local orchards, Goulburn Valley Health or the Shepparton Art Museum.

But when coronavirus banished students to their bedrooms, Lighthouse project co-ordinator Vicki Scott said they had to get creative.

“During term two, we were were going to take the students out to various community places, and one of them was the Mooroopna Historical Society,” she said.

“With the COVID-19 situation tours had to stop, but luckily the society had recently upgraded their website so students could do a virtual scavenger hunt of one of their rooms.

“And then the teachers were able to marry up what’s on their website under a humanities activity.”

Jess Webber, mother of Maylee, 6, and Jayda, 8, who are both students at Wilmot Road Primary, said it had been ‘'interesting''.

“The internet kept crashing and it’s harder for the kids to understand what they’re doing without an actual teacher in the room,” she said.

“More communication with teachers online would make it better.

“At the moment they set the tasks and the kids correspond, it’s not face-to-face talking. It’s pretty much just sending videos back-and-forth.”

Wilmot Road Primary Grade 1 and 2 teacher Kasey Vivona said it had been ‘'really cool” connecting the students with the Historical Society as well as Mooroopna Education and Activity Centre.

“MEAC have provided us with yoga poses, shown us facilities which include kitchens for cooking and a library,” she said.

“For the rest of the term we’re continuing on with the MEAC activities.”

Ms Vivona said the school was considering integrating a ‘vritual zoo’ tour program into its literacy program using either live streams from international zoos or zoos in Australia

“We have a Canberra contact who is creating information on each animal at Canberra Zoo,” she said.

“It’ll give them opportunity for kids to research animals and write a report which they’ll get assessed on.”

Eventually, students at Wilmot Road Primary will be able to use the resources shown virtually at MEAC.

Ms Vivona also said working as a teacher during COVID-19 had had many surprising benefits.

“It’s been really good because we’ve banded together and become a tight-knit team, which is beneficial to building further relationships that there isn't usually time for during normal school time,” she said.

“I’ve felt really supported and it’s been good to expand our teaching abilities and now we’ve got new tools too.”