Scrap the schedule, focus on kids during pandemic

By Melissa Meehan

Scrap the school schedule and give more hugs.

That’s the message from one Melbourne principal when it comes to home schooling your children during the coronavirus pandemic.

Clayton South principal Greg Clement took to the school’s facebook page to tell parents to take a deep breath and focus on what was important.

He said while many would have high hopes of having a virtual classroom with online activities, science experiments and book reports – the reality was that there were other things that are far more important.

“What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved,” he said.

“To feel like it’s all going to be okay. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and show more love to your kids.”

Mr Clement goes on to explain parents may start to see behavioural changes over the next few weeks, and assures them that it is perfectly normal.

He says not to worry about them regressing in school – all kids are in the same boat.

“Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do the maths we have set them. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it,” he said.

“If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those weeks is long gone.”

Victoria is the only state in Australia to shut schools early thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the school holidays forward a week.

But Premier Daniel Andrews says measures to introduce virtual learning and schooling will be in place should health officials say its unsafe for students to return to school once the holidays are over.