Similar to all schools in Spain, we were ordered to close the school on Monday 16 March due to Corvid-19.
We considered at the outset that it was essential to maintain a sense of community between the children, teachers and parents and that this could only be achieved by using an online conferencing platform. Whilst there are many web-based systems available, we decided to use Zoom being one of the most popular and easy to use.
However as it was considered inappropriate for primary aged children to be spending 6/7 hours of screen time a day, this is supplemented through the use of worksheets, text books, educational apps and links to relevant educational and video websites.
As a Montessori, we are fortunate that unlike the majority of schools where the majority of learning is delivered through traditional teaching, our particular way of learning has been relatively easy to replicate in the home environment. As an example, literacy and mathematics commence with a short period of direct teaching online that is then followed by a longer period of time where the children work independently offline using a variety of different resources. This provides the advantage of personally tailoring and differentiating the work for each child in accordance with their ability and stage of development. The children also, similar to when they are at school, have the freedom to work wherever they feel they can best concentrate. As well as for the timetabled online sessions, teachers are available to provide one-to-one tuition whenever this is required.
The majority of subjects are covered including literacy, mathematics, science, computing, art, design technology and humanities through topic based learning. Spanish is specially tailored for each child depending on their ability and there are other activities which the children enjoy including dance, yoga, physical education, cookery, interclass challenges etc.
An additional advantage with using an online system is the daily social interaction that the children continue to have either in the classroom environment or as part of another activity. Aspects of personal, social and emotional development are further supported during circle time most mornings and there is a weekly assembly lead by the Principal every Friday to finish the week.
Importantly, there is easy and regular contact between parents and the school through many different technologies to ensure there is continued support for the children and also parents who, similar to all of us at the moment, are suffering both the financial and psychological effects of the imposed lockdown.
Whilst we appreciate that home learning cannot in anyway be a substitute to a physical environment, it is because of our unique methodology that our children have very quickly adapted and become accustomed to this new way of doing school.