What do you need to know for the 2021 school year?
This year, schools, as we know them, will experience changes thanks to COVID- 19 and to help you prepare, our own Lisa Goodhand has put together some suggestions.
While many of us are still deep in the slumber of school holidays, the clock is ticking away and preparations for the new school year have already begun.
Certainly, the biggest change in place will be our reliance on technology and the internet which is ever increasing. If this is not something you’re comfortable with it may be time to join a community college or find a way to learn more so you can support your children.
The education.nsw.gov.au website has a number of useful resources, and you can check with local community colleges and institutions for short beginner courses in common technology. It may also be worth checking with your school to see if they have an introductory course to get you up to speed. If they don’t, it might be worth suggesting.
Social media apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook have also become popular as parents seek ways to keep up to date with the daily changes. You can download either of these onto your smartphone and if you don't already have a social profile, get the kids to help you make one as they are already proficient in this space. Once online, find out what groups are available, such as front office, class, or year groups, and join the conversation.
One online sensation that you may have heard of is Zoom. This meeting and webinar app, originally designed for business, has also become the go-to tool for teachers.
For parents, Zoom can be a minefield with its multiple screens, mute buttons and chat functions, but the good news is it's free to download the meeting version, so you can get some practice in before the big day. The bad news is it's also available on mobile, so getting out of meetings is no longer an option, even if you are sitting in your car or still in your PJ's
For younger kids, you can help ease them into the new rules by searching online, where you will discover plenty of educational tools. Youtube has countless fun and entertaining videos explaining what a virus is and why facemasks and sanitiser are important. There are also organisations, such as UNICEF, who have developed a series of online video diaries featuring kids around the world and how they are dealing with life during COVID-19. It's a fun way for kids to relate to change, by observing how others are coping.
So before you pack the kids up ready for a new semester, its best to check with your school if there are any changes likely to take place. This will help you avoid last-minute surprises when you are running late for work!
Finally, always remember your kids are more resilient than you may think, so be confident and they will follow your lead.