Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Town of Cochrane has been working to keep essential services operating, our residents informed, and local businesses supported. There are many stories in the community showing how neighbours are helping each other and how businesses are evolving to meet residents’ needs.

Another big change we’ve seen with the closure of local schools is the rise of the parent-teacher. This is a challenge for many and to help, local teacher Stacey Simpson (Gr. 3-4, Cochrane Christian Academy) shared some resources and words of encouragement.

By Stacey Simpson

Many parents are implementing learning plans for the first time while also working from home themselves. We are in a time of crisis and it is very stressful for us all. I think that if your child is continuing to read, write, and learn math concepts – then you are succeeding! Keep it simple.

Teaching online
The learning curve has been steep – this goes for both teachers and families. I have been reminding them that we are all in this together and nobody expects perfection. As a school, we are doing our best to support families and lift the spirits of our students.

This has been a crash course in Google Classroom for many families. It was something my students were just beginning to learn at school, and now we are completely reliant on it. I gave my families this helpful link to get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Iowi-gmbys

I have also been learning how to translate my lessons into YouTube videos for my students. I just learned about Screencastify, which helped me share my computer screen while teaching.

We are also learning to use Zoom to continue to make personal connections with our students and allowing them to meet with some of their classmates in real time. For us teachers, we now have all our staff meetings on Office 365 Teams.

Tips and tricks
Choose your battles
We are educating our children during a time of stress and uncertainty. This is confusing for them too, and they are processing a lot of different emotions. Use an abundance of grace with both yourself and your child as you complete different weekly activities and assignments. If you need to call it for the day and go for a walk, that’s okay.

Try to get school done in the morning
I know this might not work for all families as many of us are working from home as well. Children always get their best work done in the morning and tend to get tired and lose focus as the day progresses.

Do lots of body breaks
Break up school activities with walks or “recess time” outside. Students also love Go Noodle movement breaks.

The “Eat That Frog” tip
Try to order your child’s activities with the challenging ones first and the favourites last. My son doesn’t enjoy writing, but he loves math (particularly Prodigy). I’ve been giving him a daily list of activities that we check off one-by-one. I start with writing and then leave the online game for the end as a “reward.”’  So far, it’s been working for us.

There are a lot of amazing resources out there. Parents can “choose their own adventure” and leverage their child’s interest to enhance what they are learning at home.

Many educational content providers are releasing free resources right now to help support students and families. Here are some favourites:

For the artists out there, check out the Facebook Group called Paint with MJ which offers free painting classes for kids. It’s amazing how people are getting creative to give back and connect during this time.

Mental health awareness
Prioritizing your mental health during this time is important. Create a schedule that works for your family. Make sure you get outside every day – nature is healing. Take breaks from social media and the news. Talk to your child about how they are feeling. Schedule FaceTime play dates. Do yoga!

Words of encouragement
Remember that you are not alone. Reach out to your child’s teacher if you need anything. We love your kids so much and are here to support you!