Planning your way through school closures

Schools in the United Kingdom have now (for the most part) closed to stifle the spread of Covid-19, the novel coronavirus that has impacted lives around the world.

At first I went into a little panic- how would I juggle work, a reception-aged child and a toddler? They all need attention. As for work, that’s for another post. This post is how I will keep two kids busy without turning them into TV zombies.

This brief post focuses on pre-school and primary school children, mainly early years, reception and year 1 although the principles will apply to older children too. 

Structure

First, kids love structure. It doesn’t always seem like it but they do like the familiarity of a routine. Even at nursery-age, the nursey will have a routine in place for each age group which benefits the staff and the children. The adults know what they need to do and when. The children know they will be getting playtime, garden time, story time and food, even  though they don’t have a grasp of time.

This structure becomes all the more important once children start school. 4-5 year olds will know that the school day starts with registration followed by a variety of activities and breaks.

I have decided to try and keep a structure similar to that of school and to help me I created some planners.

The home school day will begin at 0900 and end at 1530 with a one-hour lunch break. I have divided each activity into half-hour slots because I know the attention span of a five-year old is not particularly long.

Activities

Activities will be a combination of imagination or independent play; learning and skills such as phonics, reading and maths; physical activities such as yoga and dance and story time when I will sit on the carpet and read to both children, just like carpet time at school.

Attention

During the home school day, some of the activities will require my full attention and children know when they are not number one! This will be when they are reading to me or being read to; doing academic activities; practising mark making or handwriting or doing a messy activity such as painting. My times to take a break of sorts will be during  independent play when my children can play with Lego or cars together whilst making up stories as they go and perhaps during yoga or dance where they can follow a video or just jump about to music.

In summary, my top tips are structure, activities and attention. We can do this!

In the next post I will share how to use the planners and what activities you can include.

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