The first year at school is a significant event for children and their parents. This year kindergarten students have faced the added challenge of an extended lockdown and months of learning from home.
"Kindy is a very social year," said Sue Huxley, the kindergarten teacher at Kuyper Christan School. "As well as learning foundational skills like literacy and numeracy, this first year is also about learning how to live in community and relate to others."
Maintaining learning and community has been at the forefront of Kuyper's approach to learning in lockdown. All K-12 students use Google Classroom as the hub for their learning, and each day commences with a live video session using Google Meet.
"Our morning Google Meets are key to sustaining the stability of class routines and relationships," Sue said. "We still start each day with the calendar, the weather, devotions and prayer."
Students also share news and chat with each other and their teacher. Parents can also catch up with staff.
"Google Meet has become the new school gate, " reflected Sue.
Google Classroom is utilised across the school and has provided continuity in learning during lockdown. Teachers can upload video lessons and communicate directly with parents and students via the digital platform.
"Our literacy and numeracy programs employ explicit instruction," Sue said. "So, being able to deliver video lessons has been vital."
Sue also uses Google Meet to work with small reading groups and meet individually with kindy students and their parents.
Whilst using video for the delivery of content has been an asset, learning for young children is a very hands-on experience. Sue has focused on keeping learning activities practical and relational. Students have cooked with their families for maths, collected things around the house and garden to make art, and called their grandparents for HSIE.
"Despite the challenges of physical separation, there have been moments of real joy," Sue said.
"We met a student's new baby sister in one of our Google Meets and got to know a new family better over a breakfast and pyjamas morning."
Assistant principal, Lyndal Mitchell, is delighted with the level of learning and engagement that has been maintained throughout the primary school this term.
"Thanks to the dedication of our wonderful teaching team," says Lyndal, "our students continue to thrive as learners in God's world. Our community is stronger than ever."
Kuyper Christian School caters for students from prep to year 12. It is located at 294 Redbank Road, Kurrajong. For more information about enrolments call 4573 2999.