Family Fun Day Monday

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Posters for Family Fun Day Monday16 February 2021

Every year, Our Lady of the Rosary, Kyneton, begins with a focus on family and relationships at home and in the school community. This focus runs deep in the school community and drives support for learning in the family.

Suzie and Dan MacDonald are parents of school-aged children and are both teaching at Our Lady of the Rosary, where they also hold leadership roles as Learning and Teaching Leader and eLearning Leader, respectively. They had prepared a collection of fun and collaborative activities for home learning last year that were left in the wings when onsite learning resumed, so when home learning was reintroduced this week they had aces up their sleeves.

One of the big shifts they adopted was what Suzie called ‘creating a choice board’.

Monday’s activity is called ‘Family Fun Day Monday’ and is framed as a gameshow with a heap of fun activities that families can choose to do together in any order that they like. This will be followed up with ‘Tuesday’s Outside Guide’ and ‘Wednesday’s Take Away’, both of which are packed with fun and collaborative learning activities that families can do together.

‘We wanted to foster a bit of learning that was away from the screen, but also to promote that collaboration with siblings or family members who could participate and have fun as a family learning together’, said Suzie.

This approach is about creating choice, being less directive and more collaborative, which also supports student buy-in. Dan explained that ‘a lot of the focus was trying to get kids off devices, but also seeing what works with families too. Everyone is still trying to get that right’.

The success of the approach is already evident according to Deputy Principal and Wellbeing Leader Anne Ferrie. ‘We’ve had some children who did not entirely love home learning last lockdown. Two of them were the first to upload their work! So it has just captured their imagination. It’s very family friendly.’

For Principal Daniel Bermingham, the work that Dan and Suzie have done is really about supporting families to spend time together creatively and to celebrate the extra time that they have together. With all this extra time, it’s not just about providing learning material, but about helping families to be together in creative ways. ‘We’re providing a scaffold for families who might get a bit lost about what to do with each other sometimes’, said Daniel.

‘Case in point, I’ve got kids and it can be a challenge to know what to do with them sometimes. We’re just providing choice for these families this week. That was the thinking behind what Dan and Suzie have come up with. We didn’t get to roll it out last year, so it was perfect timing for us to turn a challenge into a positive this year.’