April 1st, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians and Families,
What a strange time we find ourselves in. It was so odd not welcoming your children back to school on Monday. We miss them. A school is only a building if there are not the voices, laughter and footsteps of students and the educational staff in the hallways. While we do not know how long this situation is going to continue, we are committed to communicating with you on a regular basis. You have already received emails from our Superintendent, Scott Stinson, to let you know that the Ministry of Education has suspended in-class instruction in all K-12 schools until further notice. We are anticipating that you will receive further emails from the District moving forward but we also wanted to reach out and share with you the following:
- We know how scary these times must be for your child/children. Their routines have been seriously disrupted. Schools are important places for children as are the relationships they have with their teachers. For these reasons, Lakewood teachers will be contacting each family this week to check-in. We want your children to know that we care about them and miss them very much. If you haven’t already received it, you can expect some form of communication from the enrolling teacher by Friday.
- Teachers are awaiting the Continuation of Learning Framework which is being developed by the school district, we anticipate to receive this early next week. This will provide teachers with planning guidelines in order to create virtual learning activities for all students. Please be patient, the Ministry of Education expects that all teachers will have virtual learning opportunities out to families no later than the middle of April. Our teachers are working hard to achieve this expectation and are on target to distribute our first virtual learning materials by April 15th. While we do not want to overwhelm students and their families, we are committed to provide meaningful learning opportunities for your child/children. Thanks for your patience.
- What your child(ren) need right now more than anything is to feel comforted and loved. They need to feel a sense of hope that everything will be ok. Continue to do all those wonderful memory making activities that you already do with your children such as playing outside, baking cookies, playing cards and board games, sharing stories of your own childhood and of course reading to and with your child. These are the things that will make the biggest difference for your children right now.
We would like to leave you with a thought provoking letter:
The Chief of Klahoose Nation posted this on the Cortes Island School PAC Page:
“Dear parents with school aged children:
You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing…
Our kids are just as scared as we are right now. Our kids not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off of school for 4 weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.
Over the coming weeks, you will see an increase in behavior issues with your kids. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally – it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behavior in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.
What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be ok. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more. Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing.
Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be ok. When we are back in the classroom, we will all course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do math. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those weeks is long gone. So keep that in mind, every single day.”
Please know that we care about you and your children. Stay safe and stay healthy.
Bryan Johnson and Ceilidh Deichmann
Principal and Vice Principal, Lakewood Elementary School