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Learning in the Time of Coronavirus

April 2, 2020

Where to begin?

It would be an understatement to say that the past few weeks transitioning to a remote learning environment have been a challenge. Not only are staff having to consider delivering curriculum solely via online means, but we are also having to come up with ways to best support our students remotely.

Despite the confusion and uncertainty, there is real potential for the current situation to be seized as a great opportunity for students, parents and families. While the media tend to focus on the negative, there have also been reports of exercise equipment and book sales increasing in the past few weeks, which seems to indicate that people are looking to make the most of isolation by engaging in productive pursuits. In my own experience, I have noticed on my 15 minute walk home in the evening that there are many families out walking together and playing together on the oval near my house – normally I hardly see a soul. I also went for a walk with my family up Mount Taylor on Saturday and have never seen it so busy with families simply spending time in nature together.

This is a great opportunity to look at how we live our lives and perhaps change some habits. It is also a great time to learn for the love of learning—because we are curious. The online curriculum will take some getting used to, but it should also leave some time to learn things we may not otherwise undertake. What is great about this is that families can undertake this learning together.

Consider this list and what you might be able to do with your sons and daughters:

Create or make something. You could work to your strengths or try something out of your comfort zone, but gardening, baking or cooking are generally accessible to everyone and gardening in particular can be very therapeutic. Growing your own food is a rewarding experience.

Learn to type. It often amazes me that we have moved into a world that is so connected to computers and devices, yet there is no mandated space in our crowded curriculum to teach kids to type. Now’s our chance.

Learn a language using an app such as Duolingo. There are many great apps, YouTube channels and websites that make learning a language accessible and fun. Now may be a good time to brush up on a language you learned yourself at school or join in with whatever language your child may be learning at school.

Spending time in nature. We are so incredibly lucky that there is almost no part of Canberra that is more than a ten minute drive from a reserve or bushland, and while national parks are closed due to Coronavirus concerns, there are still many interesting places right on our doorstep in Belconnen. No one comes back from a walk on a reserve or bushland feeling worse than they did when they arrived, and it is great for kids to have an interest in the natural world.

Reading. So obvious, but many of us—even teachers—do not find time to read during the term. Seek out new authors or find an old favourite and read it again. Try to even sit as a family and spend time reading your own books together.

Exercise. Whether this is something you do anyway, or you are a reluctant exerciser, few of us would disagree that exercise is good for us and most of us should do more of it. Now is an opportunity to both set a good example and find something we can do with our kids. Ideally it should go for at least 30 minutes and we should get sweaty. A fast walk (in nature!) or a bike ride are great ways of exercising while also getting around.

Puzzles, cards or board games. While you can do a puzzle on your own, it’s more fun doing it with others. Parents—if you start a jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table, there’s a fair chance kids will join in whether you invite them or not.

Brain training – Lumosity.com. Brain training is challenging but fun. Using an app like Lumosity allows you to track your progress and enjoy a competitive element to what you are doing by keeping score. As with many educational apps, Lumosity uses games to achieve learning, so it is fun and engaging and can be done as a family.

Draw something. In the words of an Art teacher colleague “everyone can draw” and it’s true. Most of us would never really sit down with a blank piece of paper and pencils to really draw, but like many of the creative things on this list, it is fun, relaxing and something that can be done with others and shared.

I hope this has given parents some ideas. Can I also recommend parentworks.org.au which is a free online program for parents and caregivers providing evidence-based parenting strategies to improve parenting skills, confidence and child behaviour. I also recommend having a look at the school.tv links on the college’s website. There have been recent resources published that directly address the coronavirus and how we communicate with young people about this issue.

As always, I would love any feedback about any of the above and I am always happy to discuss issues you may be experiencing or to discuss your own children’s wellbeing.

Mr Martin Mullin, Assistance Principal – Student Wellbeing

Resources for parents

The current COVID 19 health crisis has led to anxiety, uncertainty and constant change in our lives. We have collected numerous resources that you may find useful to support your children and yourselves especially in relation to adjusting to the transition to schooling from home. We have included a broad range of information for your consideration.

Emotional Wellbeing


COVID-19 Support | Head to Health

COVID-19: The facts. The Australian Government Department of Health website is the main source of health-related information on what Australia is doing in response to this pandemic. See the coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert page.; A national campaign has launched to inform all Australians about the coronavirus (COVID-19).


Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Beyond Blue recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following wellbeing advice.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): managing stress and anxiety

This tipsheet covers understanding common reactions in yourself and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, what you can do to look after yourself and manage feelings of stress, anxiety, or distress associated with COVID-19, and helpful resources and support.


We’re here for you – Headspace

There are a lot of unknowns in the world right now. But one thing is certain — Headspace is here for you.To help support you through this time of crisis, we’re offering some meditations you can listen to anytime.


More links

Therapists Answer Your Top Questions About Coronavirus Anxiety

Flexibility in the Midst of Crisis

Regulating Emotions in a COVID-19 World

Yale webinars: Using emotional intelligence to combat COVID-19 anxiety


To support children

How to talk to your children about coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Eight tips to help comfort and protect children. 2. Be honest: explain the truth in a child-friendly way Children have a right to truthful information about what’s going on in the world, but adults also have a responsibility to keep them safe from distress.


Resources for Families During the Coronavirus Pandemic | Common Sense Media

Parents and caregivers: Keep kids learning, entertained, and calm during the COVID-19 pandemic with Common Sense Media. Navigate social distancing, school closures, and more.



GoNoodle® engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!


More links

Brainpop – Coronavirus

How to talk to children about the coronavirus


Yoga for kids

Alo Yoga – YouTube

MAJOR news! Alo Gives is bringing yoga to 3 MILLION kids this year with our HUGE national rollout of AloGives.com, partnered with Scholastic.


Home Schooling support

ACT Education – Resources to support home learning

This resource has been established to support parents and students in home learning.


Teaching Remotely for Grades K – 12 | Free Resources and Strategies

Welcome! Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video.


Parent Resources, Tips, and Advice | PBS KIDS for Parents

Explore parent resources to help you raise kind, curious and resilient children. Find parenting tips, hands-on activities, games, apps and more.


National Geographic Kids

Find amazing facts about animals, science, history and geography, along with fun competitions, games and more. Visit National Geographic Kids today!


Great YouTube channels for middle schoolers and high schoolers for learning from home during COVID-19 school closures | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Parents who will be homeschooling (temporarily) while schools are closed because of COVID-19 can only do so much to keep kids learning, so do your parents a solid and use this time to find subjects that get you excited! There’s only so much Netflix you can watch before you get a funny taste in the back of your mouth.


My Kid’s School is Closed, So Now What? – confident parents confident kids

Supporting your Children’s Social, Emotional, and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Guest Author, Pamela McVeagh-Lally As the spread of COVID-19 causes more and more school closures across the United States, we, parents and caregivers, are faced with the daunting reality of needing to stay at home with our children for weeks and possibly…


Trying to homeschool because of coronavirus? Here are 5 tips to help your child learn

Here are some things you can do to help your child learn from home. 1. Set up a learning space. Create an area in the house for your child to be able to focus on learning.


It’s Okay: Thoughts from a Homeschool Grad Turned COVID-19 Homeschool Parent

Like many parents across the United States today, my kids are home from school due to COVID-19, and will be for the foreseeable future. Unlike most parents who have found themselves in this situation, though, I was homeschooled K-12. I am also the executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit organization that advocates for homeschooled children. As I have watched the conversations in some of my local moms groups, I have realized that other parents may find my experience helpful.


Watch Hoda Kotb read her children’s book ‘You Are My Happy’

Advice from teacher on homeschooling kids, teens during COVID 19 coronavirus crisis. Let kids get bored, how to teach math, teach them home economics.”


The Student & Family Counselling Team, CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn

We would also like to remind you that our school counsellors are available to assist during this challenging time. Students and parents/carers can request an appointment time by emailing Counsellor@sfx.act.edu.au



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PO Box 3248 BC
Belconnen ACT 2617

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