This week has been a busy one at Virtual School. Rehearsals for our virtual ‘Bee – the Musical’ are well underway, International Jazz Day was very well received by our whole school community last Thursday and we are looking forward to our virtual ‘Mothers and Loved Ones’ tea parties this Friday across the school. Last week we held the first of our Class Assemblies (which will be held every two weeks) where we looked back on National Park Week and the 250th Anniversary celebrations of the St George’s Society here in New York. Mrs Charteris spent some time talking the children through good home learning routines and I feel we have seen a marked shift in the quality of attendance, progress and delivery of work in the last two weeks. I think it is fair to say that the children are hitting their stride, finding some sort of learning routine and are slowly coming to terms with the IT side of this new experience. I drop into lessons across the school and attend live learning groups where possible, and I was pleased to see children engaged and interacting well last week. There is some highly creative practice going on in the school at present and your children’s good work is being showcased. The Kindergarten have set up a blog celebrating best work from each child and we are gathering best practice from each class to share in a Video Gallery. With Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, we hope that many of you can join your class ‘tea and cake’ social on Friday – I know the children are keen to say thank you.

Amidst this new style of learning, we are naturally looking ahead to our new school community and growth. Only last week, I was delighted to welcome a new family for September, who are based in the City (but living in Virginia for now). Next week, Mrs Monaco and I attend our first Virtual PLONY Kindergarten Fair and I’m quite intrigued to speak at a different type of family and parent forum for now. We learn something new when we are encouraged to try alternative routines on for size! Whilst we all yearn to be back at school together with your children, it has been empowering to see how much of the school can run well, despite the distance.
As you will have seen, it has been Child Mental Heath Awareness Week and our Team have pulled together to offer a range of themed lessons and activities to every child across the school. Mr Kinsey and Miss Wood have shared their ‘Kindness Trackers’ and ‘Gratitude Trees’ with Grade 2 and Miss Cox has led Grade 1 with something similar and her ‘Compliments Tree’. Other members of the team have read themed stories each day and offered mindfulness and meditation classes all designed to encourage self-reflection, emotion regulation, giving compliments, being grateful, growth mindset and saying thank you. Senora Alba has even recorded a Spanish Music Video with her husband, who is a music therapist, to promote self-care and activities in Spanish. I recommend Alba’s Spanish Yoga classes which are also very relaxing! My team are passionate about many things at WPNY, but a strong and positive mindset is something we all share and working towards building strong bridges to our school re-opening and balancing ourselves back, will be key.