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Keeping the teaching environment positive - wherever that may be

The clocks have gone forward, the daffodils are out and Spring has most definitely sprung. Sadly, this year, the Just Education team is not out and about enjoying the first days of sunshine. In fact, none of us are.

2020 is shaping up to be a pretty unusual year. With these uncertain times ahead, it’s a good time to take advantage of the smaller things in life that we are all guilty of taking for granted, especially those of you whose doors remain open to children.

With a scaled-down number of teachers and children coming through your doors, your school is likely to feel more than a little bit empty and unusual, and certainly a lot less noisy. Although the usual hustle and bustle is missing from the corridors, there’s plenty you can do to make it feel like a purposeful learning environment that you and your children are excited to be in. With all the things we now can’t do presenting barriers to learning opportunities, let’s think about all the things we CAN do and how we can use them in our schools right now.

Turn your sunny corridor into a greenhouse

Or the empty classroom that has the sun on it all day. Or the head teacher’s office (they won’t mind!). Or any warm and sunny spot in your school that’s not being used right now. You can order in some seeds, compost and growing trays (or make your own seed starter set using newspaper or an eggshell which you can plant into the ground) and grow your own herbs, vegetables, fruit or flowers. Watch them grow, learn about the plant lifecycle, parts of a plant, photosynthesis, do some investigations into what plants need to grow. If it goes well, you can even use anything you’ve grown to do some cooking or set up a little fruit and veg shop in the playground (whilst complying with social distancing, of course).

Help your community

Are you in a residential area? The likelihood is that there are people who are unable to get out at the moment and might be lonely, worried or lacking essential items. Have your class write a note with an offer to help, go out together and post it through doors in your local area and see what good you can do together.

Skype

Although we’re living in a world where we can’t open our doors to visitors, we still have a wealth of technology at our fingertips and we need it more than ever. With many people unable to go to work, why not ask parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or friends to virtually visit your school and share a book, participate in a debate, talk to you about their careers or important historical events they’ve lived through. Hook up with another school and find out what they’ve been up to, set challenges for each other or just make some new friends.

If you’re thinking of giving any of these ideas a go, or you’ve got some ideas of your own to share, tell us about it on Twitter (@JustEducation), tag us into your Instagram uploads or just send us your photos and we’ll share them on Facebook.

Stay safe, wash your hands and keep in touch!

Lorin Clough
Just Education

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