I hope this letter finds you and your family well and hope you are managing the challenging times we are currently living in.
As you know, information about the COVID-19 situation changes daily and it impacts our lives greatly. At this time, an alternative return date has not been determined.
School staff and teachers are working diligently to develop plans for distance learning. I am writing today to communicate preliminary information regarding distance learning, as I know there are many questions from parents regarding learning and being connected to their school in the coming days.
While we do not have all of the answers yet and recognize that there will be some bumps in the road, our staff and teachers are working hard to address potential challenges including access to internet and devices. In the ensuing days, classroom teachers will be online educators. They will be entering your homes, rather children coming to the classrooms, by opening doors of laptop/mobile screens to deliver the lessons to children. This whole new found platform has been a painstaking task for the Waldorf teachers. As Waldorf teachers, we never thought that schools should be closed and that we would be separated from our children. Our educational task-under normal circumstances-is to lead them and not to dive into this virtual world too early and unprepared. But the state of emergency breaks these laws. ‘Necessity knows no law’.
Although we are talking about distance learning via an online platform, being a Waldorf school, technology is not an alternative for some of our parents, especially, when children are young. To address the learning needs of both the sets of parents, we will reach out to children with two-way methodology. We are gearing up with digital learning and upgrading ourselves with newfound tools, like WhatsApp, Zoom or other mediums. We are looking for the best platform with online service providers including MCB for safe passage of distance learning. And the earlier methodology, that was adopted in the month of March and April, will be continued parallelly to give meaningful learning experience.
We want you to be ready with the following:
- Ensuring that students have the device available for distance learning.
- Ensuring that secure and uninterrupted network connection.
- Ensuring suitable and steady environment for the child with no disturbance.
- Ensuring the printer is available for those who will be following the alternate distance learning method.
- Ensuring parent’s support and guidance, especially with younger ones, when needed.
Prerana Waldorf School has been fully engaged and operational with remote classrooms and education. However, our Administration staff will start school operations as soon as the lockdown is lifted. The school building remains closed at this time, but plans are being made for parents to come and have contactless pick-up of books and materials. The office will be in touch with further details, as we will arrange this on an individual class schedule.
The teaching profession is a relationship profession par excellence. The quality of relationships is fundamental, but at the moment, the pathways and channels of relating are limited. But there are also new qualities in relationships. It seems as if the need for community and solidarity is constantly seeking new ways of fulfilment, especially in times of crisis. The willingness to make the best out of unexpected circumstances together generates creative ideas. Gathering information from various sources will allow us to better plan for the needs of all of our students and engage support staff. There are so many research studies and books about the dangers of digital technology for our children.
Yet this is the generation that knows how to use it often far more than we, the older ones do. They take to it quickly and many children show resilience to its effect. We are born into the age in which we live and digital technology presents itself to all teachers a means of continuing to teach when we cannot be in the same physical space as our pupils.
Please note that when contacting parents, teachers may not have answers to many of your questions. However, we will endeavour to get answers as best we can as we develop our plans. Inclusiveness is the key for Prerana family and we feel blessed to receive support from our parents. We have been reaching out to parents and are now working together with them. Their valuable and timely suggestion and guidance in this matter is highly appreciated. Both communities are working hand-in-hand to give rich and healthy learning experience to our children. We will provide you with regular online structure soon.
The health and safety of our students and staff is always our utmost priority. We are working hard to develop a plan to provide and support distance learning for our students. Let’s hope that this state of emergency will not last too long and that all the children will be back in front of us in the not too distant future.
Distance learning in our times means as before: relationship! Let’s look forward to the harvest when we all meet again.
Be positive, be inspired!
“When new inventions affect modern life, we must take steps to balance any possible ill effects by finding appropriate countermeasures. We must try to compensate for any weakening of the human constitution through our outer influences by strengthening ourselves from within. But, in this age of ever-increasing specialisation, this is possible only through a new art of education based on true knowledge of the human being.”– Rudolf Steiner from the “The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations” Lectures given in Berlin from September 1914 to July 1915, Rudolf Steiner and Technology.
Prerana Waldorf School