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 safety protocols put into place. These will differ from province to province, and even board-by-board, but will generally include things such as optional or mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing measures and cohort grouping. In this case, preparing for back to school might involve practicing mask wearing and proper hand hygiene.
It’s recommended that students begin to build mask endurance through practice prior to the start of the school year, as it could be difficult to go from not having to wear a mask to having to wear one for the entirety of the school day. Try experimenting with the type of mask, including design, fabric, and size until you find one your child can tolerate comfortably. You can make wearing a mask more fun by choosing a print that reflects your child’s personality, such as their favourite movie characters. You can also let your child personalize their mask using fabric paints. Once they have a mask they are comfortable wearing, have them practice wearing it for increasing periods of time. Start by wearing one while doing activities they enjoy as a reward. Over time, they should become more comfortable with wearing a mask, setting them up for success once they return to school.
When preparing for an online return to school, parents might consider their child’s comfort level with the technology they will have to use. Talk to your child’s teacher, or the school board, to see what software will be used and begin to practice on that. Depending on your child’s technical skill level, you may even need to start with the basics of typing and using a mouse. If your child’s class will be using video conferencing apps such as Zoom, consider setting up some video calls with friends and family to give you child a chance to practice using the software. Things like knowing how to join a session, hide/show your video, and muting and unmuting will be important for these sessions. Practicing these things now rather than having to learn it in the middle of an online class will help reduce your child’s frustration.
PLAY AND BE ACTIVE – CONSIDER VC
Regardless of which option you choose this fall it will still be important to give children a chance to play and be active after school. Many of the typical extra-curriculars are not being offered due to the virus. If they are being offered, the risk of exposure needs to be weighed with the benefits these activities can offer your child. However, we are offering an After-school Virtual Camp (VC) as a means for campers to safely participate in extracurricular activities each day. At Virtual Camp, campers can meet other children and make friends, participate in active games & soccer skill building activities, and have fun playing games and answering trivia questions based on that week’s theme! Activities such as these can be a great way for your child to release their stress and end their day on a positive note.