In these strange and uncertain times, it is beneficial for children to maintain a daily routine, and ideally to continue with their education in so far as possible. At Amity Amsterdam, we are adapting to the current situation, with the help and collaboration of parents, to create the best learning opportunities for students. During this period of Virtual Learning, we have been working to promote the wellbeing of all our students and maintain a social connection, while offering a wide range of learning experiences and ensuring online safety.
Early Year students tune in to their teachers’ videos every morning to find out what their instructions are for the day. These instructions and tasks vary from day to day, and include activities like singing, drawing, counting, phonics activities, or a caterpillar observation! Teachers of specialist subjects (such as French, Dutch and music lessons) provide different tasks to make sure the students continue to gain a holistic education. Children can sing along with their French teacher, enjoy making a cosy reading fort inspired by the impressive fort built by our teacher librarian and exercise in their living room with an upbeat fitness video from our PE teacher.
As well as the daily videos from their teachers, Primary Years and Middle Years students also have class sessions each week to check in with their teachers and classmates. They are encouraged to attend online meetings where they can share their experiences and talk about their projects. An important component of these online classrooms is to help the students feel connected. Older students can work more independently than the younger years and manage their own learning. Our teachers develop and share virtual learning activities, monitor the different platforms, answer questions from parents and students, and provide individualised feedback to the students.
The transition to virtual learning has brought with it new challenges regarding online safety, which we are extremely conscious of. We have established regulations for our teachers to ensure clarity in terms of expectations and procedures, and we are taking all necessary steps to protect our students and staff in their online activity.
Some of the Primary Year classes have carried out video projects, which have brought big smiles to the faces of the Amity community. These projects help the students feel a sense of connection and also keep them entertained! If you keep an eye on our Facebook page, you might just see some of the uplifting content from our teachers and students!
Middle Year students have followed their normal timetable, their lessons have included online sessions, designated tasks and collaborative activities, ensuring students in different parts of the world could all access the lessons. Teachers have been using a range of resources to enhance the learning and engagement of students, provide valuable feedback, and support them in their virtual learning. Microsoft Teams is often used as a group chat, where students can discuss the lesson, ask questions, and work as a team. Zoom is also used to hold video lessons as a class and allows the students to see the teacher model certain activities. Activities for students have often come in the form of creating artwork, videos, posters and stories, allowing for time to be spent away from the computer screen.
The Virtual Learning period has so far been a learning curve for all involved, and as always, we are very grateful to parents for their collaboration and understanding, and we welcome all the feedback received to help us ensure the best learning experience for our students.