25 Aug
2020
Lessons from Summer School

In the midst of preparations for a new school year, one full of challenges that requires creative solutions, a lot of care and attention, we are inspired by the examples of other countries that have already opened their schools. But much closer to us is the practical experience that our school and nursery children had during the summer school programme.

A brave team created a Summer School programme that brought a lot of joy to the children and helped us verify the implementation of many safety and health rules. Cristina Farcaș coordinated this team and has many practical tips for the beginning of the school year.

Avenor College: What did we learn from the summer programme?

Cristina Farcaș: We really wanted to offer children the opportunity to meet their friends and engage in summer-specific activities, safely. For the educational team it was a constant learning process, in which the collaboration between departments had a significant importance – administrative, medical, educational, legislative – communication with parents and the community of international schools, with whom we are in constant contact.

One of the main conclusions is that outdoor activities must become a part of the daily approach to educational activities, assumed even by parents who need to encourage children and provide the right equipment for any type of weather. We like to say that there is no bad weather, there is only inappropriate equipment.

A.C. : What worked and what didn’t work?

C.F.: Dividing the children into cohorts (bubbles) and limiting the number of adults they interact with from one week to the next one was essential in the disease prevention process.

Separate routes for movement around the campus are essential, as are clear schedules with long breaks between sessions.

Parents have always helped us to implement the children’s routines, but now more than ever, we appreciated the punctuality and the constant dialogue about what was going to happen in the nursery or school.

A.C.: How does the Summer School experience help us in planning the new school year?

C.F.: It helped us a lot, because we now have a successful model that we can scale to the size of the whole school.

We know the key points:

  • Intensifying communication with employees who come into direct contact with children, as well as providing support for their physical and mental health.
  • Detailed planning of the movement routes of each cohort, including for space disinfection sessions.
  • Making the most of outdoor learning spaces with rainy weather equipment solutions.
  • Carrying out several types of learning scenarios in order to be able to respond as soon as possible to changes that will occur during the year related to the evolution of the pandemic.

A.C.: What were the unexpected issues that came to light during the Summer School?

C.F.: Constant communication with the authorised medical staff had the effect of reassuring everyone, from children to teachers and the rest of the staff, and also the parents. We were prepared to manage a tense atmosphere, but the effect of correct and consistent information delivered in a format easy to understand pleasantly surprised us. Unfortunately, there is no perfect protection. But as long as we inform and support each other, we can rely on the responsibility of those around us and stay away from danger, even working in the forefront, in education.


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