Distance Learning Resumes at SJS after April Vacation- Helpful Tips, Advice and Support from Principal, Mother Elaine

Apr 20 2020
Dear Parents, 
Below,  please find some helpful suggestions. Thank you for you hard efforts. God bless you-
Just some general suggestions as we begin our distance learning once again. I hope and pray you had a restful break. Please remember to be kind to yourself, your child and your child's teacher. We are all in this together.  All things are passing. This too will pass. Until then, God is asking us to be brave, work hard but most of all trust Him that it is all going to work out and we are all going to be better persons because of it. Be sure to take time for yourself. Take time to reflect. Know I am praying for you. 
Just some basic reminders follow: 

1. Establish routines and expectations
It is important to develop good habits.  Create a flexible routine and talk about how it's working over time. Chunk your days into predictable segments. Help students get up, get dressed and ready to learn at a reasonable time. Everybody make your bed! Keep normal bedtime routines, including normal rules for digital devices. Adjust schedules to meet everyone's needs but don't default to staying up late and sleeping in (however, a 'duvet day' now and then can be a treat).
2. Choose a good place to learn
Your family's regular learning space for occasional homework might not work for extended periods. Set up a physical location that's dedicated to school-focused activities. Make sure it is quiet, free from distractions and has a good internet connection. Make sure an adult monitors online learning. Keep doors open, and practice good digital safety. Our teachers and other helpers are doing the same. 
3. Stay in touch
Teachers will mainly be communicating regularly through our online platforms and virtual learning environments. Make sure everyone knows how to find the help they need to be successful. Stay in contact with classroom teachers and myself, but understand it may take a day or two for us to respond. If you have concerns, let someone know.
4. Help students 'own' their learning
No one expects parents to be full-time teachers or to be educational and content matter experts. Provide support and encouragement, and expect your children to do their part. Struggling is allowed and encouraged! Don't help too much. Becoming independent takes lots of practice. At Saint John School, your child usually engages with other students and any number of adults hundreds of times each day. Some of these social interactions will continue from a distance, but they will be different. You cannot replace them all, and that's OK.
5. Begin and end the day by checking-in
In the morning, you might ask:
o What classes/subject do you have today?
o Do you have any assessments?
o How will you spend your time?
o What resources do you need?
o What can I do to help?
At the end of the day you might ask:
o How far did you get in your learning tasks today?
o What did you discover? What was hard?
o What could we do to make tomorrow better?
These brief grounding conversations matter. Checking in students to process instructions they received from their teachers, and it helps them organize themselves and set priorities - older students too. 
Not all students thrive in distance learning; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure. These check-in routines can help avoid later challenges and disappointments. They help students develop self-management and executive functioning that are essential skills for life. Be patient with your children, the teachers and yourself. This too will pass. Together we will get through this. God has not given up on us. Let's not forget to trust in Him. He knows all our troubles. He is with us on this journey. 

God Bless you-