By Romy Stephens
Celebrating 100 days of school looked very different for students at The Patch Primary School this year.
In the past, Preps have marked the milestone day with a week full of 100-themed activities and a dress-up day, where family and special visitors were also invited.
But remote learning saw the entire event moved online on 31 August.
“We tried to make it special and exciting in different ways,” The Patch Primary School Prep teacher Alesha Sangster said.
“We knew the students would love receiving a letter in the mail, so we sent home 100 days of school activity packs and certificates for students to work through and share pictures of their
work via our Google classroom.
“Then we had a special Webex meeting with both Prep grades combined where all the students were dressed up and got to share 100 things they had collected at home.”
Preps also received a keep-sake, with all teachers contributing to a video that congratulated them for reaching 100 days of learning.
Fellow Prep teacher Tania Blandthorn said remote learning due to Covid-19 had been particularly challenging for Preps this year.
However, she said teachers have tried to keep tasks “simple but engaging” for the youngest students.
“Online learning has been tricky for everyone but with Preps even more so, as the first year of schooling is so much about social interactions and learning how to go to school,” she said.
“We, as a rule, don’t use computers or iPads in our Prep classes, as we feel developing the face-to-face social skills are so much more important. So moving to what is basically a whole online program has challenged us and our teaching style.
“We have tried to overcome this by providing learning activities aligned to the curriculum that students can do outside, or with a parent, to try and avoid the need for it to be all online.”
Ms Sangster said despite its challenges, remote learning had helped the entire school community develop an appreciation for how special school is.
“We are so proud of our Preps this year and we hope that when they are older they realise what an amazing job they, and their parents and families, have done during what has been a first for all of us,” she said.
“The way they have adapted and become flexible resilient learners is remarkable.
“We all have new skills, we all have a new appreciation of school and what it provides outside the academics and we all appreciate how fragile life can be.”