Prep School headteacher, Claire Murdoch, gives parents advice on how to encourage a positive mindset during the lockdown
Faraday Prep has always had a strong sense of community and a desire to do things a little differently. And with the current pandemic restricting our movement around London, it has never been more important for us to keep things local. Exploring the plethora of talent and inspiration right on our doorstep has been key to children’s and teachers wellbeing, as well as keeping spirits up!
In the summer, we provided the backdrop for the poet, Hussain Manawer, whose poem supported Marcus Rashford’s Breakfast Club campaign. He then returned in autumn to judge our poetry competition. The local artist and animator, Tim Allen, asked Faraday pupils to take part in a film about the lockdown and he came into provide animation workshops. Before we knew it, we had forged great links with the community and a real spirit of camaraderie.
We walked to Virginia wharf for our history lessons, used a laser to engrave bamboo cutlery at Little Panda for DT, and have written cards to residents in local care homes. Then, The Big Draw saw us collaborate on a 10-metre illustration investigating climate change and as the Company Director, Kate Mason was just next door, she came to unveil it and discuss the project with the children.
These fantastic experiences and opportunities would not be possible without the creative, innovative and welcoming support of our talented neighbours. If you’re local, pop down to the wharf and see what all the fuss is about. It changes almost daily but there will be sculptures, artworks and curious installations that feel like a living, breathing outdoor gallery – the perfect Covid safe, arty adventure!
Practical Tips for Positive Lockdown Learning!
Reward productive learning behaviours – in school, the children have lots of feedback from teachers to help them persevere and try their best. You don’t need to watch over their shoulder but do show an interest and say ‘well done’ when they keep going with something, especially if they have found it difficult.
Give your children time to work it out themselves – it is easy to succumb to time pressures, particularly when you have another live lesson starting shortly, but try not to panic and tell your child the answers. They need to work it out themselves, so if this means they complete one part, but they do it properly, that’s the way to go!
Providing regular motivators – short deadlines and challenges work really well with younger children. If they can see a timer or a digital counter and know that they have a set time to complete a task, they’re more likely to concentrate and get their work done. If they think they have all afternoon, they will take all afternoon AND get frustrated…
Find out what your child is currently interested in and get involved.
A chance to share! You are busy and you have loads of things to juggle at the moment but an opportunity for your child to share their achievements each day is really important. Ask, what did you most enjoy today? What did you learn? What did you find difficult? Can you show me some work you are pleased with?
Join in! Again, this can be difficult to fit in to a busy day but if there is a time once per week, for half an hour, where you could complete an activity with your child, do! Art, yoga, maths challenges, science experiments… choose one school task to do with them a week and they will remember it, appreciate it and love to see you learning too!
Make the weekends, weekends – With the amount of screen time increasing, it is so important that the weekends are a break for the whole family. Get outside, even if its raining, get the paints out, even if they make a mess, bake, skate, bird watch, build a space rocket, make a den – find out what your child is currently interested in and get involved. Children have wonderful imaginations and are really good at having fun, so let them bring a bit of giggle into lockdown!
Note for Tower Hamlet Mums
Faraday Prep not only delivers an outstanding all round education but has small classes, alongside a creative and progressive approach. This is all done at reasonable cost, keeping true to its founding ethos of providing an excellent traditional education at the lowest sustainable cost.
Sign up to a Virtual Q&A with Claire Murdoch, the Faraday Prep Head, to discover why they should be on your list when considering what’s best for your child, now and in the future.