Parents get lessons in homeschooling as schools in St George and Sutherland Shire move to distance learning

School's in: Danebank, like other schools in the area, has moved to distance learning. Picture: Facebook

School's in: Danebank, like other schools in the area, has moved to distance learning. Picture: Facebook

Parents across St George and Sutherland Shire are getting a crash course in homeschooling this week as lessons move from the classroom to online and other means in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

After days of confusion, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Monday that while NSW public schools would remain open for parents who needed to go to work, she encouraged them to stay home if possible.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has steadfastly stated all schools should remain open.

Public, Catholic and independent schools across St George and Sutherland Shire remain open today, but in some cases, attendances are dwindling.

The NSW Department of Education has set up a learning from home resource for parents to outline "the ways schools will maintain teaching and learning in the event of a prolonged school closure or student absence".

"Learning from home plans allow for the continuation of these activities despite interruptions to normal school attendance for one or more students or the whole school community," it said.

"Schools are best placed to know their communities and how best to provide support for students and their parents. There is a lot to take into consideration, including the age of the students, the length of the interruption and what technology and other tools are available for teachers, students and parents.

"The department is providing a range of teaching resources, student materials, parent and carer advice and assistance for teachers who need support with planning lessons or using technology.

"These pages are being regularly updated with new resources and information.

"Your child's school will communicate with you and provide learning activities for your child to do at home, using the school website, newsletters, emails and other online tools."

Sydney Catholic Schools spokesman Michael Hopkinson said this week they would follow the lead of NSW public schools and allow students to stay home, although "if kids cannot stay home, our schools will be open".

"In terms of the mode of learning, kids that come to school will be learning the same way as those at home. Teachers will not be teaching classes. But schools will continue to be a safe place of learning. Parents will not be left without assistance," he said.

Independent schools such as Shire Christian School at Barden Ridge said its teachers had produced "excellent instructions and resources for students who are learning from home", while Danebank Anglican School for Girls at Hurstville commenced its distance learning pilot program yesterday.

HOMESCHOOLING TIPS

The NSW Department of Education has come up with a list of ways parents should support their children during remote learning. These include:

  • establishing routines and expectations
  • defining a space for your child to work
  • monitoring communications from teachers
  • beginning and ending each day with a check-in
  • taking an active role in helping your children process their learning
  • encouraging physical activity and/or exercise
  • checking in with your child regularly to help them manage stress
  • monitoring how much time your child is spending online
  • keeping your children social, but set rules around their social media interactions.

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