There is no doubt that this year’s back-to-school season is vastly different than in previous years. Whether your child is attending class in-person or online, you’ll be facing some unique challenges when preparing for this school year.
One of the most obvious changes to in-person schooling will be the implementation of safety protocols. These measures will vary from province to province and even board by board. They generally include optional or mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing, and cohort grouping.
In preparing for back to school, it is advisable to practice mask-wearing and proper hand hygiene. Students are recommended to build mask endurance through pre-school year practice. Going from not wearing a mask to wearing one for the entire school day can be challenging. Experiment with different mask types—design, fabric, and size—until your child finds one comfortable to wear. Make the experience enjoyable by choosing a print reflecting your child’s personality, such as their favorite movie characters. Personalizing masks using fabric paints is also a fun option. Once a comfortable mask is found, gradually increase practice time, starting with enjoyable activities as a reward. This approach helps children become more at ease with mask-wearing, setting them up for success upon their return to school.
When preparing for an online return to school, assess your child’s comfort level with the necessary technology. Consult with your child’s teacher or the school board to understand the software that will be used and begin practicing on it. Depending on your child’s technical proficiency, you may need to start with basic typing and mouse usage. For classes using video conferencing apps like Zoom, consider setting up video calls with friends and family for your child to practice essential features. Knowing how to join a session, manage video visibility, and mute/unmute are crucial skills. Practicing these in advance reduces frustration during online classes.
Play and be active – consider VC
Regardless of the schooling option chosen, it remains crucial to provide children with opportunities for play and physical activity after school. Many typical extracurricular activities are not available due to the ongoing situation. If offered, weigh the risks of exposure against the benefits these activities provide for your child. An alternative is the After-school Virtual Camp (VC), allowing campers to safely engage in extracurricular activities daily. Virtual Camp offers opportunities for children to meet others, make friends, participate in active games and soccer skill-building activities, and have fun with games and trivia based on the week’s theme. These activities serve as a great way for your child to release stress and end the day on a positive note.
As we all know camp has looked different this year as many camps have switched to virtual camp. Here at Royal City Soccer Club we have ran a successful virtual camp, each week focusing on a different topic to spark interest in the campers while maintaining our focus of developing soccer skills. Camp always helps develop different skills and has many benefits. Today we are focusing on how Virtual Royal Camp can help prepare you for back to school.
Campers have been able to develop their communication skills with the other campers and the counsellors. They have had the opportunity to share and listen to different camper’s stories while following the virtual camp rules as well as respecting everyone within the virtual camp. This is very important this year as many children are socially distancing themselves and not able to interact as often with their friends and other children around the same age.
Changing the theme weekly allows campers to learn new information about different topics which can spark passion or the desire to explore new topics and interests. This is achieved through trivia, interest stories and themed activities and games. Some campers specifically choose certain themed weeks as they loved the theme previously and we were still able to provide them with challenges and new interesting information.
There are many benefits with skill development. At Virtual Royal Camp our main focus is on developing soccer skills and life skills. These skills are developed through different exercises and activities that campers are able to do on their own but are directly applicable to the game. Developing skills helps to build confidence, whether that is in their soccer skills, general athleticism or more confidence in themselves.
Normally camp is a time to get away from screens but this year screens have helped bring us all together. With many unknowns about the upcoming year, developing confidence with computers can help campers tackle many different situations and scenarios. If any classes or programs switch to online, campers will have had a positive experience where they have had to interact virtually. Overall, Virtual Royal Camp helps campers develop different skills which will help campers navigate back to school. Through gained confidence in themselves, their soccer skills, sparking curiosity, developing computer confidence and communication skills, campers will be more prepared for the upcoming school year.