Updated: May 22, 2020
Photographs: North Zealand International School
Text: Shani Bishop
With lots of space, North Zealand International School (NIS) can adapt well to the new normal. Our large classrooms can comfortably accommodate the smaller classes of 12, so our children can return to school safely. By teaching indoors and out, the children get lots of fresh air and play time. Quin from year 5 said, “it was great to be back at school and seeing my friends again”.
How NIS approached home Learning
NIS responded quickly to the change; within days, there were new timetables and clear guidelines for parents. Each week brought enhancements as teachers and parents learned together what worked best.
To support our parents during this challenging time, our school counsellor provided a helpline for parents who needed to talk, while our children were asked to post photos of things which made them happy on our Happiness Wall.
"When the schools shut down, I was impressed with how quickly and efficiently NIS organised a comprehensive and wide-ranging home learning experience for the children." - Mum Rachel
Teaching our primary children
Rachel, with a son in Year 1, explains how it was for her and her son. "When the schools shut down, I was impressed with how quickly and efficiently NIS organised a comprehensive and wide-ranging home learning experience for the children.
I really appreciated the mixture of methods used such as YouTube videos explaining a new task or zoom sessions to discuss learning and help with any difficulties. There was always a range of tasks in each subject to accommodate my child’s level. Teachers gave detailed and timely feedback on home learning tasks which motivated my children and helped them review their work.
My children particularly liked how positive their teachers were about the work they had done, and it made them feel proud. What I particularly appreciated was that the specialist subjects were still represented and we had lots of fun engaging in the art, music and PE challenges.
Throughout the whole experience, teachers were positive, encouraging and responsive. And most importantly, they continually helped parents not to feel guilty if we couldn’t support our children to complete all the work. Tasks were given priorities, so parents with less time could focus on those specific tasks. I was incredibly impressed with the whole experience and thought it was a fantastic example of the adaptability and resilience that is such a focus in our school."
Focusing on our secondary students
As secondary teaching continues at home, we asked one of our students, Sebastião in Year 9, to share his experience. “Studying at home gives me more freedom and independence. The teachers set the tasks, and I decide the timetable and how to do them. I’ve definitely seen my organisational skills improve”.
"Studying at home gives me more freedom and independence." - Year 9 student Sebastião
Astrid, Sebastião’s mum, explains how NIS’s approach has helped her. "When home learning landed on us, we were utterly unprepared. For my son, the adaptation was fast. NIS really helped with continuous information and guidelines on how to learn at a distance. I confess we leave it very much up to him to live up to the challenge because I have to get down to my work, as well as overseeing my other children’s home learning. The constant online contact with his teachers and classmates has helped massively, and I was impressed to see that he has managed to develop both group and individual projects online, as well as present them to his teachers successfully. This experience is pushing him to grow and mature."
NIS Home Learning by numbers
Teachers: 33 Weeks of home learning: 3.2 Zoom sessions: 450 Blogs sent: 208 Subject lessons: 795