Games of hide and seek, choreographing dances, listening to audiobooks and making online blogs. School is looking a little bit different these days for students of Hope School, which currently has all of five students attending.
Brody Matthews, 10 years old, was the first to arrive at school last Wednesday morning. “It was weird,” he says.
A teacher met him at the gate outside, explained the social distancing rules to him, and took him to his classroom.
While school may be quiet, the other students in Hope School’s bubble of seven say its nice to get out of the house.
“It’s kind of boring, but it’s much better than being at home,” says 10 year old student Tillie Young, another 10 year old. The other four students agree.
“It’s really quiet in the morning, which is weird, but as the day goes on it gets more fun.”
Wednesday was the first day back at school, and things looked a little different
“It was so quiet,” Tillie says.
“We walked in and everybody was silent. I thought ‘this can’t be a classroom, classrooms are meant to be loud.’”
“It was exciting to see the kids,” said teacher Katherine McFarland. With playground equipment banned, the teachers also have the task of keeping students busy at lunch time, such as big games of hide and seek.
While there are only 5 students at school, they are still able to connect with students learning from home thanks to Zoom calls.
“All the other kids want to come back to school and they think it’s really fun. It is fun, but it’s not like normal. It’s not like you get to play on the playground or anything,” says Tillie.
The students at school are doing the same lessons that students learning from home are doing, but they do a few other activities to fill in the day. “We’ve been very creative with videoing, making dances, putting on a blog for the other kids to see,” says Katherine.
The students at school are from all ages, meaning that they’re all learning at different levels.
Hope School Principal Freya Hogarth says that it’s good to be back at school. “It’s really nice to be back,” Freya says.
It’s a bit more productive for us as teachers to be back at school,” she says.
Freya says that the juggle between supervising kids at school and keeping up with students who are learning from home has been difficult for teachers.
“It’s been more time consuming for our teachers,” she says.
“Even though they’re at home, they tend to be doing longer hours rather than shorter hours. Students are sending in work at all hours so teachers end up working around that.” Freya says the school is looking forward to having all the students back once the country moves up in alert levels.