From the Principal
I hope you are all faring well during current times. I have found myself thinking about positive messages to remind myself that ‘things could always be better, but that things could always be worse’. There is certainly much to be grateful for at Kamaroi. I have marveled at what our staff have provided on our GLO remote learning platform and was equally impressed by what was achieved in Week 1. I hope you and the children are enjoying the contents of the packs that were arranged by staff. What a production it was to get that together! A true team effort.
Some of our staff joined a Zoom with Steiner teachers in Victoria last week. This forum was set up by Steiner Education Australia to share the experiences from their schools that were in lockdown for many months. One take-out worthy of note was that once the teachers accepted that using technology to assist them during this period was okay, then the remote educational delivery could occur, and it could be very effective. The key was, however, to let that go after the lockdown ended and to revert back to the practices that make Steiner schools so unique. Places where human connection and relationships flourish; places that cherish the right of children to simply be a child.
Already this week we have had children connect back with their friends and their teachers from Western Australia, Northern NSW and from Queensland. This was facilitated through Zoom meetings and provided a very special connection indeed!
Zoom hook-ups can be very positive experiences but they can really push people out of their comfort zones. That is the case, not just for children and their parents but also for our teachers. Juggling the presentation, remembering to “Admit” people, speaking to children with their parents there as well, and being mindful of how best to control the meeting is a lot to master. Not to mention the fear that the internet could drop out because the home connection is unreliable! We also know that some children will be self-conscious in a Zoom. This is such a different and unnatural experience for them and it is very understandable (and refreshing!) that a child finds participation in a Zoom meeting uncomfortable. Parents can certainly switch the video function off and still allow their child to simply listen. The child can get great comfort just seeing their teacher, hearing his or her voice, and also seeing the other children. See article at the end of this newsletter regarding Zoom conduct.
In the true spirit of the messages from the Government and NSW Health parents are reminded to keep their children at home. I have had several pleas from the Government and Health that I must keep reminding families of this. “Parents and carers in Greater Sydney must keep children at home unless they need to be at school.” It is certainly not appropriate for parents to send their children to school so that they can be with their friends. Nor is it appropriate to keep one child at home and yet send their brother or sister to school. Technically, we cannot turn any child away but a non-genuine reason to send a child to school does not sit well with the supervising staff whose health and safety is compromised each day that they leave their homes. Please consider this when booking your child in via our Eventbrite system.
We are so grateful for the wonderful positive messages and notes of appreciation being sent to us from families during these difficult times for the school. Many of our staff also have school-aged children and they understand your plight as well. We also thank you for hanging in there. We look forward to the beautiful rainbow at the end of the storm!
We are informing you that Kamaroi has both staff and children who are currently isolating due to them being either a close or casual contact of a person with Covid-19. A parent who has two children that have been attending our on-site learning program is a close contact of a known case. The father has had a negative test result and is in isolation for 14 days. His two children have now been tested (results yet to be confirmed) and are also isolating. We have two staff who have also been on our site and they are also following health advice due to them visiting known sites with Covid-19 cases, and they too are self-isolating at present.
We are certainly on edge due to this, and the fact that sites in our local area are listed as places where Covid-19 cases have been identified.
The school is currently able to manage the supervision of children who must be on site as well as the administrative operations that keep our school running, but we are simultaneously concerned about the safety and well-being of the children and staff who are at a heightened risk by not remaining at home. We appreciate notification from any parent/carer, child or staff member that they may have been exposed to Covid-19 or if they have been instructed by NSW to be tested and to isolate.
The Kamaroi teachers and staff have been working hard preparing the homeschool packs this week. We are so grateful for the thought and care put into each activity.
PA Meeting - Monday 26 July
PA Meeting via Zoom - all welcome
Date: Monday 26th July
Time: 7:30 - 8:15pm
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/96597023252
All parents are invited to join our Monday Zoom call. This will be a brief meeting (no more than 45 minutes) with an update on last term's market stall sales, craft group and other activities.
Michael will provide a short update on school matters, but please note the purpose of this meeting is not to go into a huge amount of detail regarding current COVID restrictions and/or remote learning. If you have specific concerns or questions regarding this, please email the school directly.
We wish everyone all the best with remote learning, and acknowledge the significant efforts of our fabulous teachers in providing engaging online materials and personal work packs for each child.
We look forward to the chance to connect with you, even if it is in a virtual format!
The PA committee
A few tips for student Zoom sessions
The Zoom meetings are an extension of our classrooms and we require all children to follow the expectations of their teachers.
It is a privilege to participate in Zoom and so we ask all families to support the school by reinforcing the following with their child:
• Children should be in an appropriate space in the home for learning
• Children must be modestly dressed
• Children should raise their hand to speak
• Children should only touch the computer to unmute, raise their hand or give a response if this is requested (eg thumbs up)
• Children are not to change their backgrounds
• Children are not to use the chat function unless they are directed by the teacher to do
• Children are not to eat during the Zoom (although drinking water is ok)
It is very important that these protocols are followed. The teachers mentioned their apprehension to facilitate Zoom sessions if the conduct of children adversely affected them.
Your support with this is greatly appreciated.
Kamaroi Kitchen Closed
The Kamaroi Kitchen is currently closed. All children attending school campus will need to bring their own morning tea and lunch.
We look forward to being able to enjoy Miriam and Akiko's delicious food again soon.