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BEN changes website to help closed schools

The Bermuda Education Network has launched a revamped website to support to teachers and parents as schools remain closed by Covid-19.

Becky Ausenda, BEN's executive director, said that public primary school pupils had been asked by teachers to create “choice boards” of activities to help teachers and parents set targets.

She added that pupils had been asked to complete activities and send photographs of completed projects to their teachers.

Zonique James, the experiential learning director at BEN, an independent association of organisations set up to provide free supplementary learning opportunities in public schools, has created a new resource on the BEN website to give ideas for activities.

She said: “The best lessons right now make use of objects or materials that can be commonly found around the house.

“We can't assume that all parents have access to a printer so we're recommending experiential learning activities instead of worksheets.

She told teachers: “We're working with classroom teachers and our partner education organisations, to collect activities that you can tailor to your class needs and forward to parents.”

Laura Bell, the director of BEN, said that work on the new website, in development for several months, had been accelerated to help teachers through the Covid-19 crisis.

Ms Bell, who has a daughter in Primary 2, admitted she had found it difficult to juggle her work responsibilities and keeping her daughter focused on school tasks.

She added: “I was feeling guilty that she wasn't getting all of her suggested activities done while also worrying about how to get my own work completed.”

Ms Bell said that she had altered her work hours to allow her to pay attention to her daughter's lessons in the morning, when she was most eager to learn.

She added: “I found this approach worked better for us than trying to mimic a full day of school and work at the same time.”

Ms Ausenda said that most teachers she had spoken to agreed that flexibility in remote learning was important to avoid confusion created by Covid-19 worse.

She added: “All this uncertainty is highly stressful and I think the natural tendency of parents is to worry that we're not doing enough.”

But she emphasised: “Children will bounce back from having missed a couple of months of schooling.

“I think it's right to focus on parent wellbeing because stress levels at home have the biggest impact on a child's life at the moment.”

Ms Ausenda said that it was important that parents be kind to to themselves and that she sympathised with teachers who organised plans for their pupils while also taking care of their own children.

She added: “I hope that by pooling resources we might be able to help them and I'm grateful to everyone in our education community who have helped us by sharing activities and ideas.”

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Published April 29, 2020 at 3:28 pm (Updated April 29, 2020 at 3:33 pm)

BEN changes website to help closed schools

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