Pupils on the ball in lockdown

With schools still in lockdown, the staff of Earlston and Gordon Primary Schools have embraced the use of technology to support children with their learning and wellbeing.

By Kevin Janiak
Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 11:49 am

Teachers have been communicating with children and families daily through online systems and have been engaging in weekly video chats with groups of children from their class.

And they’ve taken it a step further.

Acting head teacher of both schools, Kevin Wilson explained: “We agreed as a team that it would be nice to create some videos including children from nursery to P7, along with staff, to develop a sense of connection and to bring smiles to families and others in the community who we realise will also be missing seeing and hearing from the children.

Earlston parent council chairperson Sally Tait records her P1 daughter Sophie’s clip for the video.

“The first video we produced was titled ‘Mr Wilson’s ball pass challenge’, where children and staff virtually catch a ball and pass it on to the next person.

“~Across the two schools we had over 100 people take part in this.

“The videos were uploaded to our schools’ Facebook pages and the comments from viewers were extremely positive.”

The videos have gained around 5,000 views each, and they certainly make you smile.

Kevin added: “On the back of this success I decided to set children and staff another challenge- this time to share something they are grateful for during these difficult times.

“Across both schools we have a consistent focus on being the best version of ourselves and this video certainly exemplifies this.

“Children and staff share numerous messages of thanks and gratitude despite the challenging times which they face. The end product when these clips have been combined is quite moving.”

Sally Tait, Earlston parent council chairperson, said: “What a wonderful idea of Mr Wilson’s, which allowed the children to feel connected while not in school.

“Parents have commented on how much the children enjoyed making their video’s and seeing their friends in the final edit – it was quite emotive.”

This week of video attention turns to VE day where teachers plan to share work and activities which have been taking place across the nursery and schools to mark this occasion.

Check out this story on our website to see Earlston pupils take on the ball challenge.

Kevin said everyone was keen to get back to normal, once it has been declared safe to do so.

He added: “No technology or creative ideas will replicate the buzz of a school, the sounds of laughter, the smiles and the eureka moments.

“However, with creative staff and pupils who constantly focus on the positives and opportunities every situation can bring, we will continue to explore new ideas for coming together as nurseries and schools to support each other and make the best out of a very challenging situation.

“Despite these successes, we look forward to the day where we can come together again as a school (in real life, rather than virtually).

“However, we recognise that the health and safety of everyone is paramount and all decisions regarding schools being closed/open are based on the best possible scientific advice.”