Keep Smiling!

As we complete our first week of Google Classroom and home learning, I’d like to say a big thank you to everybody within our wonderful Skyswood community. I’m sure it seems quite strange for the majority of us working from home. Children, parents and staff have no choice but to adapt to this situation as best we can, and keep as positive as possible throughout. Our admiration goes out to all of our essential key workers, especially those who work within the NHS.

Firstly, I must say a massive thank you to all of our Skyswood staff, but a particular thank you to Mrs Spiller and Mrs Foster, who have kept everybody informed and shown fantastic leadership over a testing couple of weeks. Our staff are committed to working tremendously hard throughout this period of school closure and we are determined to support you all with the continuity of an effective education. We anticipate that this is the first week of many and urge everybody to keep up your amazing efforts and maintain your momentum and your passion for learning.

We value our close Skyswood community and it has been wonderful to receive your pictures, poems, and completed Google Classroom tasks over the course of this week. In a situation that is far from normal, we all need to support each other and I can assure you that your efforts are truly uplifting. Let’s keep this up and build upon our successes until the time comes when we can safely return to school. As you can see from today’s post, we are determined to keep the Stars of the Week initiative going and will be e-mailing certificates to our weekly stars. There have been some difficult choices this week so congratulations to all of those children who have been selected this week.

Along with the regular tasks set by your teachers, we will continue to provide a wide range of additional creative tasks and projects on a daily basis. These are voluntary tasks, so cherry-pick the ones that inspire you and keep sending in your poems, pictures and updates. We are keen to hear your ideas and share your news as well as posting examples of your learning. For example, if it’s your birthday then send us a cheerful picture and tell us about your day. With regard to the website, unless parents have specified in our Home/School Agreement that they do not want their child’s picture on the website, then I’m assuming everybody else is happy for us to post pictures. If you do not wish to have your child’s pictures on the website then please let us know and we’ll obviously respect your wishes. We will maintain our policy of only using first names in reference to any images.

During this period, more than anything take the opportunity to read as much as possible and develop your passion for a wider range of books and authors. On my final day before going into a 14 day period of self-isolation, one of the Stars of the Week was Ben (Year 4) who had recently been inspired by the Erin Hunter Warrior Cats series. If you discover a new author, or have a particular book, or series, that you would recommend, let us know and we can share your recommendations through the website.

We have all had to make some sacrifices due to the coronavirus outbreak, and lots of things that we were looking forward to have been cancelled or postponed. We must remember that, however disappointed we are, we must keep this in perspective. Nothing is more important than your safety and well-being, so please keep yourselves safe and continue to follow the government guidance in order to protect others and support the NHS through this critical period. It’s a powerful thought, but your responsible behaviour really is saving people’s lives.

 Everybody is uncertain how long this will last, but we will do our absolute best to simply defer things to a later date wherever possible. For our Year 6 pupils we have provisionally moved the Snowdonia Field Trip to the week beginning Monday 29th June. Of course, there are no guarantees, but if we are in a positon to return to school sooner than expected then I feel we owe this to our wonderful year 6 children. House Day may end up moving to the autumn term, but we won’t forget about it. Our 60th Anniversary Trip to Whipsnade Zoo will clearly not happen on 28th April but we will not abandon the idea of celebrating our special anniversary.  Our Summer Fair is also a highlight of the school year. It takes a lot of organising and FOSS put so much time and energy into this event. Again, there are no guarantees, but I’m sure that we’ll find a positive solution when we put our heads together, even if this means a slightly different approach or a special celebratory event in the late summer or autumn term.

Finally, as you are probably aware, the clocks go forward this Sunday and we can anticipate lighter evenings. Hopefully, despite this weekend’s forecast for temperatures to get a little colder, we’ll see lots of sunshine as we progress through the spring months and on into the summer. I’m sure you’ll be making the most of your gardens when the weather is good. Over the past few years Skyswood have entered the St Albans Primary Schools’ District in Bloom competitions. These include categories such as ‘Perfect Pollinators’ (flowers that attract the butterflies and bees), Vibrant Vegetables (pretty self-explanatory) and a ‘Sunflower Growing Competition.’ I’m trying to persuade the organisers not to cancel, but to promote this within all of our local schools as something that children can productively do in their own back gardens during this prolonged period of school closure. Regardless of whether the competition continues, I would urge our children to haggle with their parents over their own spot in the garden. Maybe the idea of growing some of your own vegetables appeals to you, or thinking about an area of planting that would attract wildlife, or maybe you prefer the idea of planting and nurturing your own sunflowers.

Our weekends might not feel that different to the weeks due to current social restrictions, but you will get a break from the Google Classroom work that is set by teachers during the week. We’ll keep adding creative suggestions on the website so please keep tuned in, please continue to send your pictures, poems and news. And most importantly… KEEP SAFE, BE KIND, KEEP SMILING, STAY POSITIVE!