When NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on 25 June that the state would go into lockdown, few expected that it would drag on for three months. And the state still has another month to go before the lockdown ends in earnest.
It has been a gruelling time for families who have had to juggle remote learning with work and responsibilities at home, and while home learning has become commonplace since the first outbreak of COVID-19, it is nonetheless an exhausting experience for many.
Recognising this, a major university in NSW has launched new online resources to help parents and caregivers get through this challenging time.
The resources, which were developed by experts from the Knowledge Network (EKN) at Western Sydney University’s (WSU) School of Education, have proven successful with University staff and are now available to all parents including in-language versions, with Arabic, Chinese Mandarin and Vietnamese translations.
The factsheets contain research-driven advice for both primary and secondary-aged students across the areas of English and Literacy, Mathematics, Physical Education, Creative Arts, Student Wellbeing and HSC support.
“We are so pleased these resources will now be able to be utilised by the wider community, as we all try to navigate the home-schooling space,” Deputy Director of the School’s Centre for Educational Research, Professor Catherine Attard, said.
“The easily digestible factsheets are an opportunity for parents and guardians to better understand how to encourage and support their child through virtual learning.”
Dean of the School of Education, Professor Michele Simons, said the University understands that students across both primary and secondary years, and their families, have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the release of the resources aims to address this.
“Our hope is that these resources will provide much-needed support to the parents and guardians who are selflessly stepping up to assist with their child’s educational, mental and physical needs.”
Top five tips from the University’s education experts include:
- Support your child’s physical development
Take the time to encourage your child to move around. Get involved - Dance! Enjoy family moments by playing songs that your kids love and have fun while creating all types of dance moves!
- Schools are social places
It’s easy to forget that schools are social places for children too. Consider scheduling activities they would do at school aside from learning such as connecting with friends, spending time just hanging about during breaks to recharge batteries, or doing some physical activities.
- Reading for pleasure (and a good time to turn off the wi-fi)
Research shows that reading improves cognition, memory, vocabulary, writing skills and sleep. It can reduce stress, foster empathy and ease loneliness. Consider finding a regular short block of time for everyone in the household to ‘drop everything and read’.
- Maintain a positive attitude towards the study of mathematics
It is important to maintain a positive attitude towards the study of mathematics. A positive attitude is important even if your own personal view of high school mathematics may have been less than positive! Try to make the learning enjoyable for both of you.
- Help your child with goal setting
If your child is preparing for HSC, use your own skills in goal setting, meeting deadlines, and time management to help. Get your teenager to write down tasks for each day in a student diary, whiteboard, or Google calendar and build in reward and chill-out time into this schedule. This will assist them in understanding how chunks of productive study gives them a sense of success and enables rewards to be enjoyed.
Educators, too, are prone to frustration and digital exhaustion when it comes to the provision of remote learning. In this article, performance coach and researcher, Dr Adam Fraser, shared his own tips on how educators can work more effectively from home.