Supporting an open covid pledge for education⤴

from

One of the positive aspects of the whole covid-19, lockdown experience has been the refocus on care – care for ourselves, our families,our community, our learners, our colleagues. This manifestation of what I would describe as open educational practice is exemplified in the ALT community resources page which is an ever growing, international resource bank of practice sharing.

Today I am delighted to see the launch of a new initiative ( the brain child of Helen Beetham) to try and ensure that this open sharing of practice, research and data continues. This is what this initiative is all about, and I can’t really put it better than this from today’s ALT announcement.

we need more than shared content: we also need credible evidence on which to base day-to-day decisions in practice and policy. We need urgent research into the experiences of teachers and learners. We need shared know-how, especially from experienced online and distance educators and learning technology specialists. (This summer has seen a generous flowering of blog posts, webinars, infographics and how-to courses – but more will be needed as the ‘new normal’ takes root.) Education globally faces many challenges, not only for the people who work and learn in the sector but for whole organisations and modes of learning. Societies depend on education to improve lives, widen economic participation, and support civic life. Education will be critical to the long-term response to the pandemic crisis.”

So please, if you, your colleagues, your institution is/has/is planning to conduct any relevant research, do join the many individual and organisations who have already signed up, and sign the pledge and help everyone in the education sector and beyond focus on cooperation, not competition so we can all really build a better, research informed, future.

You can find out more and sign the pledge here.

An Experienced Reflection on National Awarding⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog


I worked for the SQA for most of the current century - and every year congratulations are due to all learners and this year in that respect is no different. 

I'm glad I am on a beach in the Outer Hebrides this week.  Working for the SQA is a thankless task and colleagues will be working hard as ever to deliver. 

We need to step back from the hysteria.

These are exceptional times.  This is the first time since the 1880's that the national exam diet has been cancelled. This has put a strain on everyone; learners , teachers , administrators and politicians. In times like this tough decisions need to be made and justified.  A decision was made today to uphold the estimates made by teachers. 

This I think exposes some deep fault lines in our system. Teachers have systematically over estimated pupils eventual results for years. The external exams being the method of arbitration. Without the exam this issue is thrown into sharp focus. 

I think the appeals system that was ready to go into operation would have supported the deserving cases. But we will never know. The noise about education being a postcode lottery isn’t just noise - but the appeals system would have adjusted these. 

What is the issue .

Many teachers are  not particularly good at designing prelims , and or are unsure about standards. The evidence is pretty well known to those who have worked  in and around the system.  There is often a big gap between learners actual grades and those predicted by their teachers.  Appeals are often made based on invalid evidence , commonly cobbled together prelims based on items from past papers - when this was admissible evidence.  

The system has not done enough over a lot of years to make sure that teachers can make better estimates. Perhaps given the parental and institutional pressure that teachers are under, along with different learner performance between prelim and final - it is too hard a task. SQA has done its bit around Understanding Standards.

SQA has data on the reliability of estimates at school level and I am certain that SQA's initial response was based on sound evidence. In this, and ultimately the change of tack, they follow the instructions from the government.  SQA staff and the 15,000 appointees  ( who are mainly serving teachers ) do their utmost to make the system fair for all. 

Some observations - 

A decision has been made that will be very popular with learners and teachers , it looks as though it has almost cross party support. The government was never going to have an easy decision on this. 

Should the system now accept that teachers make these national assessment decisions ? ( I think  the view is that this is perhaps a one off ( I'd like to see more robust decision making moved here )  . No one , least all learners were prepared for what has been an incredible year, an upward drift of 14% across the board, does create a credibility problem , but who knows perhaps lots of learning was happening in lock down and schools and local authorities had to put in long hours creating their orders of merit.  Neatly too it creates a cohort of learners for Higher Education when overseas numbers are down.  Perhaps it just highlights that exams  are not really about quality control just quantity management for the tertiary sector.  It probably mirrors what is happening in the Higher Education sector - where grade inflation is much more of a reality - and when the  dust settles it will have ballooned this year. Please press, don't roll out the usual elite moaners from Higher Education about the school and college system - they have zero credibility on standards. 

What is clear and to restore learners faith in the system is that learners need a better means of evaluating their performance against national standards. The wide variances between school estimates and the original awards need tackled. It is an opportunity to revisit the whole exam system - roll on ,  roll off digital assessment for all is within reach along with digital portfolios of evidence.  Local Authorities , Education Scotland and the GTCS should take a much closer interest in teacher decision making. It is only recently that the GTCS started recognising engagement in national assessment work as a critical part of CPD and often it is the schools with fewer SQA appointees that have most divergent estimates.  Perhaps a starting point could be a comparison of previous years performance based on exams and this year's based on estimates. What was this year’s secret sauce ? 

The credibility of the national assessment system, whatever its future shape, is everyone's responsibility and it is ill served by political slagging matches and press hysteria.  I think we are still  not in a place where we can say the academic year ahead is without more uncertainties. 

In the meantime , I wonder how the more market driven education system of England will cope with a similar crisis, A stars all round I wouldn't wonder . 














Practice worth sharing seminar⤴

from @ @cullaloe | Tech, tales and imagery

This is one of a number of “sharing good practice” seminars organised by my colleagues at Moray House, and was more of an exploratory talk given by Dr. Laura Colucci-Gray. These are my notes, made during her talk: as much reflection as reporting. Any errors are my responsibility.

Laura reflected on observing her own children learning alone during the “lockdown” of COVID-19 and thought of the dynamic of (on the one hand) being connected, but (on the other) being disconnected at the same time. She observed that the machine that connects us leaves us no environmental cues, compared to the “real world” environment, which has displays, visual clues, artefacts of daily working to attest to the impact of our interactions with other human beings.

She included readings from literature on the work of the teacher, who has a role of “packaging” content for learners and set this in contrast to the context of learning in a social setting. This tension, she characterised as a danger in asynchronous learning contexts. She placed learners in our thinking not so much as individual units but humans undergoing a process of co-operative effort that takes place between binaries like male/female, nature/technology, local/global, and so on.

The traces we leave behind need to be thought about when planning and teaching in an asynchronous space. Laura exemplified this in image-making, experience of physical spaces, and in “utilising modes other than language creates space for different ways of knowing or being” (Liamputtong & Rumbold, 20081). The latter quote is in context of the use of music as making traces as a “soundtrack” to a learning course.

The theme emerged further in Laura’s ideas for using traces to provoke shared experiences, and through these shared experiences, my view is that a stronger learning community is established. She provoked the delegates to think and talk about how we can make use of the technology to create artistically shared experiences; how far to go to enable sharing something of themselves and teachers; what opportunities do we have in putting ourselves in the process of co-learning with our students?

At this point, a rich discussion followed, exploring the possibilities for us as teachers moving forward into a more asynchronous mode of practice. For me, this was an outstanding provocation for my thinking, as I set about more detailed preparation for new students arriving (virtually, mostly) very soon.

My own comment related to Lackovic’s inquiry graphics2 that we have worked with in interpretation and creation of imagery for understanding. I went on to ask how we develop the skills in our students to be able to communicate and express themselves using drawing and music, as much as we do with academic literacy now.

The final part of the discussion considered the opportunity and challenge in enabling safely the participation (or non-participation) of students in activities designed to “share something of themselves”. This was powerful and no less provocative to our practice and a memorable conclusion to an excellent session.

Notes

  1. Liamputtong, P. (2008) Knowing differently : arts-based and collaborative research methods, New York, Nova Science Publishers. 

  2. See, for example, Lackovic, N. and Crook, C. (2012) ‘Designs for learning, image-based concept inquiry, a DBR research project’, in Designs for Learning 2012, Designs for Learning, Copenhagen, Denmark, Aalborg Universitet København, pp. 47–48. 

Liked a tweet by WordPress.com⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Liked a tweet by wordpressdotcom
Today we’re announcing an all-new P2 beta as a standalone product, powered by http://WordPress.com. We’re excited to have you try it out: https://wordpress.com/blog/2020/08/06/improve-your-remote-collaboration-with-p2/

We had the p2 theme in Glow Blogs and I though it had a lot of potential. I wonder if running your own p2 will be on the cards? I’d love to see it back in Glow.

We removed the p2 theme from Glow a while back and it hasn’t been updated for a few years now.

CLD Response to Covid-19: South Lanarkshire Council⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

South Lanarkshire Council – CLD Youthwork – Vertigo Theatre for Young People

Continuing our series of case studies for the West Region on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown we now want to highlight work from South Lanarkshire Council CLD Youth work.

Vertigo Theatre for Youth, a group based at East Kilbride Universal Connections and supported by South Lanarkshire’s Youth, Family and Community Service, have been undertaking a range of initiatives over the lockdown period. One of these initiatives takes place every Thursday evening, where young people from  the senior group come together online to talk about how they are feeling and take part in an interactive drama session. The young people discuss and plan projects that they can undertake to keep themselves creatively engaged whilst entertaining other families and young people within South Lanarkshire. On average 22 young people have taken part every day.

These projects have included story-telling videos for children and families, including stories told in British Sign Language (BSL) and Makaton, that are published weekly. The young people have also been producing videos of themselves performing music from their homes. During one week alone the videos by the young people reached over 1,200 members of the public and had 395 engagements.

The Vertigo Committee of young people have been meeting online regularly and are making contact with the younger members of the group who do not use social media. Members of Vertigo are also currently working on writing poetry and monologues that represent their experience of lockdown, often concentrating on the positive aspects of the experience. These initiatives all aim to encourage young people to help support each other’s mental health, and to create a support network for young people during the current crisis.

Facebook link   https://www.facebook.com/Vertigo360TY/ or search Vertigo 360 on Facebook to see the stories and music videos.

CLD Response to Covid-19: North Lanarkshire Council⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

North Lanarkshire Council – Adult Learning Delivery

Continuing our series of case studies from the West Region on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown we now want to highlight work from North Lanarkshire Council CLD Adult Learning Team.

Across North Lanarkshire Council the CLD Adult Learning Team has continued delivering their CLD service throughout the COVID lockdown period. Initially the CLD staff kept the lines of communication open and established the best way to keep in touch with all learners considering the range of devices being used and the level of learners’ digital involvement. The CLD – Communities and Adult Learning Team looked to ensure that fundamental needs were covered such as information on what was going on, access to food and prescriptions and support for those in isolation.

The speed of response by CLD staff was most impressive and all learners had established contact very early on. The flexible approach took into consideration the position of each individual learner. e.g. WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, Zoom – all mediums were utilised depending on what learners were best able to engage with reflecting the social practice approach. There also had to be consideration of learners that did not access social media or were not online in anyway. Some learners were contacted by phone and door step drops of learning packs and resources if required. The focus was prioritised around learning and health and well-being.

Highlights:

  • Learning Packs – ALN & ESOL

(Measuring, puzzle books, writing activities, Summer Reading Program)

(ESOL- photo dictionaries, SQA materials, Worksheets)

  • Pivot Garden – Updates posted on progress of newly completed garden and seedlings. Learners were able to access the garden individually and do some upkeep and gardening. Seedlings ‘adopted’ by Community Worker and when established delivered to learners for individual planting.

  • Wednesday Walk – Digital Health Walk – regular timetabled walking activity with theme, promoted via text and social media. Encourages learners to be more physically active and raises awareness of their mental wellbeing. Participants take photos on a positive theme – recent topics have included trees and bees and encouraging mindfulness. Participants then share their photos on social media, increasing their sense of connection. Nature themed topics have been extended with links to materials and activities from Cumbernauld Living Landscapes to encourage further learning.
  • Facebook pages for groups – Motherwell has 3 private Facebook groups set up: Gaelic Culture, Northern Lights Discovery and COLTS Discovery Group.  The learners are able to be in contact with one another and share photographs of their current activities and trips from last term. The Gaelic Culture Group have now set up Facebook Room within their private group; every Tuesday from 1-3pm they meet up for a video chat, practise their language skills together and do a short quiz. One group member who had been housebound over the last term has enjoyed being able to re-join her group online.  The Discovery learners have all kept on track with their activities during lockdown and one learner has just achieved her Silver Award. Wishaw Family History Group have a private Facebook Groups which allows the learners to keep in touch and share photographs of their current family tress and any progress made on their work. The group ‘meet’ weekly for a Facebook video chat: this allows them to socialise with one another, check in with the Support Worker for welfare purposes and share any new findings. Not only has the Facebook group decreased social isolation it has also allowed for learners to learn new IT Skills and explore avenues on social media platforms that they didn’t know existed!
  • ESOL Online -Aimed at ESOL learners and resettlement refugees. Delivered by Community workers, Support workers and Social Work. Ongoing WhatsApp groups where work is posted and a group for information sharing on Covid developments in Arabic & English. Weekly video calls and lessons for each learner. Difficulties were /are mainly which platform to use and longer term the need for a VLE set up for learners to submit work and track progress. Staff need for training in the use of digital online learning platforms and managing of social media.

CLD Response to Covid-19: East Renfrewshire Council⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

 East Renfrewshire Adult Learning & Adult Literacies Services

Continuing our case studies from the West Region on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown, we now want to highlight work from East Renfrewshire Adult Learning & Adult Literacies Services.

During lockdown, East Renfrewshire Council transformed their service to meet the needs of adult learners during the COVID-19 lockdown crisis.  Staff created online learning provision for those who had digital access, whilst recognising that many of the adult learners only had phones, with and without internet access, and that had to be taken into account to ensure the support remained inclusive.  The work that was carried out is a great testament to the CLD staff who have been creative, resourceful and enthusiastic about maintaining links with the community.  East Renfrewshire CLD have positive partnerships and these have been important throughout. In particular, for people in receipt of benefits as some were worried that their money would be affected if they weren’t online and seeking work.  Learning has been a lifeline for almost all adult learners in relation to their wellbeing.  Some people didn’t want to continue with learning but wanted an opportunity to stay connected with the team and/or their group.  CLD staff have been able to provide this support through phone calls and online forums.

There has been a strong focus on wellbeing during this difficult time. Over the past year or so, CLD Adult Learning and Adult Literacies staff had been evaluating the wellbeing provision and had implemented changes including the creation of wellbeing hour and development days for staff. All of the resources and activities developed for staff could be tailored for adult learners throughout our provision.  Wellbeing is at the heart of everything that East Renfrewshire CLD offer whether it’s a wellbeing group or an IT group. From the initial meeting through to the guidance and exit processes a learner centred approach is taken. Staff have benefitted from CLPL opportunities through partnerships within the authority and through membership of the West CLD Alliance, including the NHSGG&C Healthy Minds partnership.

 SQA Wellbeing units

Working in partnership with West College Scotland, CLD staff began looking at the course content and descriptors of the SQA Wellbeing units and were very keen to deliver these.The courses would be beneficial for individuals in relation to their own wellbeing but also transferrable to work related goals. In August 2019, we advertised the first unit, Exploring Wellbeing; SCQF: level 4. Referrals for this course came from within the service, Family First, RAMH and other partners. The course was popular and successful with adult learners positively evaluating the course and successfully achieving accreditation.  The group progressed to the next unit, Improving Wellbeing SCQF: level 4 in January 2020. When we were informed of lockdown the group were genuinely disappointed and hoping for a quick return. This group had already created a WhatsApp group to stay connected out with the course times.  This allowed staff to connect with the group during lockdown to make sure they had all of the information and support they required.

Some people chose not to continue learning during lockdown for various reasons, however, staff kept in contact with them at their request, as they were feeling isolated. For the online learning we found a platform that would work for everyone and provided digital support to ensure everyone could participate.

Working towards achieving accreditation provided a valuable focus for learners during this time. The assessment had been introduced a few weeks into the course and this helped the learners to know what was expected and allowed them to continue with their project from home. They received support from the Adult Learning Services CLD worker and the West College Scotland lecturer; including phone calls, emails and text messages, as well as the online video meetings. In addition to achieving a qualification, the main benefit for the group has been keeping people connected. Three of the group members live by themselves and keeping in touch with others has been a huge help throughout this difficult time. Positive quotes posted on the group chat, comments from other peers and just being able to chat to others has been a huge motivator for the learners and staff.  Working in partnership with West College Scotland, we have submitted our proposal for the Group Award: Mental Health and Wellbeing at SCQF level 4, due to start in September 2020 based on evaluations and consultations with adult learners.

 Staff Feedback

It was such a privilege as a CLD Worker to be working with this group. They were so unique in many ways, not only because of the pandemic. They were such a caring group and so enthusiastic, right from the very start. They were also very appreciative of anything I helped them with. They genuinely cared for each other and formed a bond, with not a single person left out. They were such an inspiration to me.  It reminded me of the reason why I enjoy my job!

 Learner Quotes

  • It helped me gain confidence and be more relaxed to be myself.
  • It was very easy to contribute in class but also during lockdown through emails and the WhatsApp group.
  • It has made me think about the way I was living my life. It was too complicated and too fast. Now I stop and think before I do anything.
  • I get lots more exercise now. I didn’t used to do as much but now I feel better for getting out and walking.

 

CLD Response to Covid-19: South Lanarkshire Council⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

We have been absolutely blown away by the amazing response of the community learning and development (CLD) sector to the Covid-19 crisis. Whilst the lockdown led to the abrupt suspension of most face to face CLD activities, from the start we’ve heard examples of how community workers, youth workers, adult educators and family learning workers in both the public and third sectors have continued to support learners and communities with dedication, creativity and kindness. Across Scotland, CLD practitioners have been supporting community initiatives to deliver food, medicine or provide vital social contact to vulnerable families and isolated people. They have been engaging with young people through imaginative digital youth work; adapting learning activities to be accessible online, by phone or through resources to use at home; and helping to extend the reach of school and community hubs for children of key workers and vulnerable families. Many CLD providers are now playing a key role in helping to develop local and national recovery plans.

We have collected some case studies from the West region that we are going to highlight over the next couple of weeks.

Education Scotland is aware that there is more amazing work out across Scotland. We plan to capture more so that we can keep sharing the fantastic work that CLD has delivered and continues to deliver in the recovery phase and into the future.

South Lanarkshire Council CLD – Youth, Family and Community Learning Service  Activity Packs

Across South Lanarkshire, Youth, Family and Community Learning Teams have been busy creating activity packs to support children, families and young people of all ages, including ASN, during the period of lockdown. These packs are designed to engage with new learners and to maintain well established relationships with our communities. They can help alleviate boredom and improve the mental health of young people by giving them activities that they can carry out on their own and with their families.

The packs are bespoke, learner centred, and are prioritised for young people and families who have limited access to technology or printing facilities. Packs are delivered directly to the homes of young people and families. This allows invaluable face-to-face contact (from a 2m distance) with the community and the opportunity for staff to offer support if required. Over 1000 packs have been delivered to households since the end of March. The activity packs have a diverse content and include resources to enable young people and families to carry out the activities. Themes for packs have included: Health and Wellbeing; STEM; Family Learning; Cooking on a Budget; Music activity; Baking; Gardening and many other fun and educational activities for people of all ages.

Examples of 2 activity pack initiatives below:

After School Club Busy Bag

The After-School Club Busy Bag was developed as a way of engaging remotely with the vulnerable families and young people who would normally access the clubs each week within Glenlee Primary and Loch Primary. The bags are made up weekly by CLD staff and delivered to young people on their doorstep.

The Busy Bags began as large activity packs which included colouring-in sheets, pens, paper and skipping ropes, and have been followed by weekly themed top-ups. These top-ups have included “Make your own Crispy-cakes” and “Grow your own Sunflower” kits. All of the resources and ingredients required to complete the activities are contained within each pack, to ensure there is no additional cost to families.

3 of the After-School Club volunteers have also been a fantastic help developing and researching resources for our packs. One of the volunteers has piloted her first Busy Bag unboxing video this week. This has allowed her to engage remotely with the After-School Club young people and has also given her tasks to complete whilst she is self-isolating due to her being a young carer.

Quotes from Learners:

My son is really enjoying the Busy Bags, it’s keeping him off the ipad and Playstation and it’s giving us time to sit together. There is a wide variety of activities for him to pick and instead of playing Fortnite on the computer, he loved filling out the Fortnite word search and activity sheets” –Mum of P5 St Cuthbert’s pupil

Due to the Busy Bags, my daughter now has something to look forward to each week, she looks out for staff arriving every Thursday. Thank you so much” –Mum of Loch Primary pupil

 “I loved making the crispy cakes, please can we have more baking busy bags it’s so much fun!” –P5 Glenlee Primary pupil

Cambuslang Universal Connections (UC) CLD Family Activity Packs

Cambuslang UC CLD have been maintaining links with the families they work with on their family learning programme through the delivery of over 60 Family Learning Packs to these families during the lockdown period.

The packs contain a range of fun activities for families to complete together and links directly to a weekly family craft activity that is uploaded to Facebook (the resources for undertaking this activity are contained in the pack)!

Parents have indicated that using the packs has been fun, has allowed families to do things together, has reduced boredom and that they have enjoyed participating on the linked the activities on Cambuslang UC Facebook!

Some quotes from Learners:

‘The packs are excellent, a good time filler and a good mixture for the different age groups. We are enjoying doing the activities together as a family, my daughter really liked the Covid 19 time capsule booklet.’

 ‘The packs are amazing. I feel very happy watching my son enjoy using the pack. I also enjoyed getting involved in the rainbow scavenger hunt.’

 ‘Thank you for the great packs we have received, loved the video

 ‘They were great, fantastic! The kids enjoyed doing the activities, particularly the dot to dot and the colouring. There was a good variety for different ages’.

 

‘The activity packs are fun and very good. They provide something different for the children to do other than school work. They are still learning and the variety of activities holds their interest longer. This gives us as parents a much needed time to relax and do other things. My child likes the dot to dots and colour by number using addition as this helps her number work.’

 

Realising the Ambition During Covid-19 at Cairngorm ELC⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

In the second in our series of practice sharing blogs during Covid-19 restrictions, Beth Rodgers from Cairngorm ELC provides us with fascinating insights into how she and her team prepared for the return of children:

Uncertain and unprecedented times call for creative measures and allows us the opportunity to be brave and take a leap of faith out of our comfort zone.

As Charles Darwin once said:

‘It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’

This has been the thought process for our team throughout the closure period. Key questions we asked ourselves were:

1. How can we adapt to the current situation and enhance the service we offer, whilst ensuring the safety of all of children by following national guidance?

2. What training opportunities can we access, albeit it in a different format than before to ensure that professional learning remains at the heart of our practice?

3. What spaces could be developed to enhance and maximise the experiences for our children?

4. How can we ensure that the wellbeing of our children, through nurturing and positive interactions remains at the heart of all we do?

5. How do we ensure that we take parents with us on our journey of change?

Think Spaces

Outdoors, outdoors and more outdoors. With the correct clothing and resources no weather is ‘bad’ weather. Embrace the elements… puddle jumping on wet days, dancing in the wind on windy days and staff embracing their inner child!

We were lucky enough to access some great outdoor training for staff prior to re-opening, which was supported by Education Scotland’s ‘Enhancing Professional Learning in STEM’ and this allowed staff to build confidence and prepare for a predominantly outdoor service.

We created a whole new outdoor space, utilising as many natural resources as possible, whilst really thinking about open ended materials which allow for lots of opportunities to be creative. Big piles of sticks, log, cones etc. have seen our children build dens, create their own role play areas, obstacle courses and many, many more. Spaces to relax and rest can be achieved outdoors – our Bell tent has been a revelation!

We have embraced our local environment, and walks and local exploration feature heavily in the daily life of Cairngorm Early Learning.

Think Interactions

Scary times and change are hard enough as an adult, but put yourself in the shoes of your children. Don’t underestimate the impact of cuddles and reassurance and that sense of belonging and safety that comes hand in hand. Think carefully about your groupings. Who do the children know well already? Are your key workers systems in place? Is there a safe space for children to feel relaxed and comforted? (Yes, even a tent outdoors can achieve this!)

Settling back in sessions have been a must for us and allowing children (and parents and carers) the time to take these at their own pace has been of paramount importance. Whether this means a child has one session or ten, you must look at each child individually and work from there.

We have updated our Care Plans to recognise the huge impact that COVID-19 has had on their lives and are utilising the Leuven Scale to track wellbeing over the weeks and months ahead, ensuring that we are responding to individual needs.

Think creatively about your communication with parents/carers. Are they still getting the information they need on a daily basis to make them feel secure in their child’s care? Never forget that this is a scary time for parents too and this needs the same level of thought and planning. We decided to buy in online software for parental communication and journals, ensuring that despite the reduction in face to face interactions with parents and a move away from a literal ‘open door’ policy, parents feel no less informed or part of their children’s experiences.

Using child friendly prompts about hygiene and the social distancing measures have also ensured that none of our messages have been threatening or scary. Being child friendly has been key.

Think Experiences

Little and often has been our mantra when it comes to resourcing and changing them regularly to support cleaning and hygiene practices.

Click to view slideshow.

A sand tray/tuff spot with a thin layer of sand and interesting mark making materials or small world toys can be just as exciting a tonne of the stuff. This has allowed us it to change it for each cohort with as little waste as possible. Water taken from a water butt with a tap for play, as and when required, and then disposed of has also helped ensure that hygiene measures are followed.

Ensure you have a comprehensive rota system for cleaning. We have found that a basin of sterilised water close by throughout the day allows us to pop resources into it immediately again use ready for a thorough clean at the end of the session. Clear guidance for staff regarding this has also been crucial.

Most important of all, be kind to each other.

Most important of all, be kind to each other. This experience has affected everyone; staff, children and families alike. Be patient with each other, support each other and remind yourselves that you have one of the most important and privileged roles out there. Be that source of comfort and love to your children and the rest will fall into place from there.

Love in the time of covid⤴

from

Cover and my pages in the zine

Just a short post to highlight, Love in the Time of Covid, a community driven and crowdsourced project developed by The Alchemy Project in Glasgow. This digital and physical zine shares a wide range of diverse responses the the lockdown caused by COVID-19. It’s a powerful exemplar of just how lockdown has affected a diverse set of people, and also how central community and our localities are to us. Many of us (re) discovered our own surroundings during lockdown.

I first heard about the project in early June from Joe Wilson, and was intrigued by the idea and by the thought of being included in a zine. So I was delighted when my submission was included in the final version. As well as giving a platform for local creatives, the project is raising money for two really fantastic local projects; feed the nation in isolation from Social Bite and the Black Scottish Business Fund. If you would like to help out with the fundraising, donations open until 12 August.

My contributions are my a couple of my responses to lockdown and my growing fascination with images of the covid-19 virus, its structure, patterns, and colour and the patterns I was seeing in nature around my – particularly along the Forth and Clyde canal as I took my daily walks. You can find out more here.

I’ve also just issued a limited edition set of notecards featuring six of the images from my “covid canal” series. I always knew that the artistic side of my working life would have to be subsidised by my consultancy, but I do want to try and share my work a bit more widely. One of the images is part of a work featured in the current Thoughts are Free exhibition at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.