Most five-year-old children experience the excitement and reservation of starting their first year at school. Big school that is, not childcare. The larger-than-life uniform, the backpack that transforms them instantly from child to turtle, let’s not forget the importance of the lunchbox!
But just like kindergarten kids from all over the country, no sooner had Amy begun kindergarten with her new classmates when she was forced into remote learning from home with her teacher now online and her mum is the new live-in teacher’s aide.
From classroom to townhouse
It’s certainly been an adjustment for Amy going from the classroom with 20+ other children to her makeshift classroom in the study at home.
Not to mention the adjustment for mum Sarah who runs her international marketing services business from home, also from the same study!
Sarah says what works best for herself and Amy is to tackle her lessons each day as she would if she was still at school.
“We follow the school day timings and I have a bell on my phone to ring for the start of school, at morning recess and again at lunchtime. Amy likes routine and I find that it gives structure to our day.
“The first lesson of the day is always reading and writing, then we do craft, science experiments, story time or she watches educational programs,” says Sarah.
Amy walks her dog, Louis, with Sarah of an afternoon and often does yoga with an online program to help her wind down after her day and relax for the evening.
Out with the hair ties and in with the tiara
Although Amy is extremely proud of her school and loves to wear her school uniform, she is enjoying choosing her own clothes to wear each day. And not just one set of clothes, according to Amy with remote learning you can have multiple costume changes.
“Amy has been dressing herself for years, she’s very girly and feminine. It’s not unusual for us to start the day with her reading lesson while she’s wearing her tiara.
“She’ll often try to dress me too and encourages me to wear more dresses and colour. When I dial in for online meetings with colleagues or overseas financial institution clients, she’ll dress herself up for the meeting too.”
It’s long been said that the way we dress affects the way we think and feel, how we carry ourselves and how others react to us.
For Amy, and like most five-year-olds, every day is a fashion show and the world as we know it right now is her runway.
Within Sarah’s complex the majority of residents are owner occupiers. They vary in age and life stages but are a tight knit community.
During the lock down everyone has been checking up on each other either over the fence, via email or phone, or their Facebook group for the complex to make sure everyone is OK.
They share groceries when there’s shortages and share their skills to fix minor jobs done around the complex rather than getting contractors in.
When Sarah’s sprinklers were broken her neighbour, a licensed tradie, fixed them so she didn’t have anyone from outside coming into the complex.
That’s the beauty of community spirit.
Another benefit of living within this townhouse complex is other children live there too.
“The children often burn off some energy at the end of the school day by riding their bikes and scooters around the complex together, at a safe distance apart of course.
“It’s that kind of place, we all look out for one another.”
Communication means everything
Although Amy is not physically in the classroom, she does still have a connection with her teacher and classmates via video calls.
“Since the coronavirus isolation Amy has discovered video calls and chats through Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
“She’s become obsessed with video calls and would happily spend her day calling family and friends every day. I can’t imagine that we’ll ever go back to regular voice calls,” says Sarah.
Back to school – at school
Whilst it has been a challenging time juggling schoolwork, full time work, and running the household, Sarah and Amy adjusted quickly to the changes and they make the most of the situation.
Sure, it can be frustrating when it is time to work but Amy wants to talk and sing all day, but it’s not the forever norm. It’s just the norm for now.
Amy doesn’t miss the morning rush out the door each morning to get to school, and Sarah says she’s getting ready of a morning much quicker now there’s less pressure.
“It’s unfortunate that Amy was only just settling into school when the coronavirus arrived. She’s adapted quite well to the change, but she does miss the social interaction of school. She does often ask me when the coronavirus is going to go away,” says Sarah.
If only we knew.