Mass gatherings go hand-in-hand with holiday celebrations, but not this year. Religious services move online, families gather via webcams, and the coronavirus pandemic has all but ensured nothing will be traditional — a sad realization the Jewish community soon faces as the High Holy Days begin Friday at sundown. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate during these times.
First, about those services: although we’re used to gathering during these time, this year is looking digital. You can even tap into Shabbat services in Israel during the pandemic or tuning in to a temple in whatever time zone better fits the time of day you want to pray. Most temples already opted to broadcast services virtually, though, having been accustomed to doing so since COVID-19 halted in-person gatherings.
Many people are also feeling a loss of a connection, many have already expressed sadness and concern to the rabbis that these sacred traditions must be done at home this year — and for some, completely alone. But be encouraged to still dress as one would going to temple even if you’ll be watching services from the living room. Replicate the synagogue: Silence the cell phone, put out a tablecloth, placing pictures on it of the family you might normally be with this time of year, sing along to the hymns, light candles!
Look at it as a wider community! Virtual ceremonies do offer a blessing in disguise, though. People across the nation can share and participate in the same online service, bringing friends and family together to celebrate the High Holy Days despite being physically apart. We’ve been looking on the bright side for months, this is another way to continue doing just that!
This is not the way anyone would want to celebrate the upcoming holidays, but think of them as intimate holiday with the close people around you, and hopefully we look back on this setback with memories of how we still celebrated in a meaningful way.
School lunches will look a lot different this year. When students go back to class in person, Many will eat at their desks instead of crowded cafeterias. Even for virtual/at-home learning, you may need to plan ahead for lunch. For example, your routines and expectations for a family dinner may be different than for a school day lunch. Below are some ideas for how to make meals and snacks work for your child(ren) and your family.
Make meals and snack a regular part of a daily routine. Meals and snacks can add predictability in virtual learning routines that may vary from day to day. Hopefully there is a schedule that allows for consistent times for snacks and meals, most schools want parents to keep kids on schedule, breaking for lunchtime at the same time each day in between online classes and school work. If you haven’t prepared the lunches ahead, your child may not have enough time to eat before their next virtual class. But if not, you can still build a routine by having a regular location or a consistent transition routine (for example turn off computer, wash hands, and eat).
Consider your child’s needs. For some children, meals or snacks are a needed and deserved social break from being engaged in online schoolwork for the rest of the day. School is hard and virtual school may take a different level of focus. If your child needs these times to recharge, consider setting up a mealtime or snack time routine that allows for downtime. Not all meals need to be family meals just because you are at home. For other children, meals or snacks might be a time to process or share about their day. They may want or need to talk to someone during these snacks or meals.
Balance healthy eating and independence. Healthy eating is certainly important, but snacks and meals at school are often a time when children can exercise their independence.
Provide healthy options, but also offer children an opportunity to make choices, just as they might when they are eating in the cafeteria at school. Actually packing or preparing your child’s lunch for virtual learning may keep them out of the snack cabinet and those sugary snacks that will make it more difficult for them to stay in their seat and stay focused.
Think about building in social opportunities. Snacks and meals are often used as a time for building social skills in the school day (like lunch groups). As noted above, these times may also be a welcome break, but consider building in social experiences on occasion. This could be a physically distanced lunch with other children in the neighborhood, a virtual meet-up with a classmate or friend, or a special “kids only” lunch with their siblings.
Ever since schools closed last spring, many kids across the country have been excited to get back into the classroom. For some, in-person and virtual instruction has already begun. Still, some parents have remained hesitant to send their children back, even as more schools prepare to begin in-person learning, alongside remote and virtual learning becoming the new normal, this school year. But with more and more children heading “back to school” each morning, here are some tips for how to help ease their transition!
Keep doing what you’re doing!
Throughout the past six months, children (and parents) have been building good habits: wearing a mask properly, washing hands and practicing social distancing. Continue to reinforce those behaviors as the first day of school approaches, correcting children as needed and praising them for getting things right.
Stick to rituals!
As part of their back-to-school shopping, consider having your children pick out a new mask that they’ll be excited to wear at school. (Perhaps even surprise them with another new one a couple of weeks into the fall term, to keep it interesting. And make a packing list for daily use: You won’t want to forget hand sanitizer, a mask (and, possibly, a backup) and a water bottle on frenzied mornings before school.
School is still school!
Virtual, at home learner, remote, all means at home. We want to make sure children still know how important it is for them to be their best and pay attention! It's going to be difficult without a teacher constantly reminding them to keep focused plus the change in environment is hard enough! Encouragement is key!
Give them space!
Kids need a clear mind as well as a clear space to excel this school year! Whether it’s a spare bedroom, the basement or their bedroom, help kids design a calm, clutter free, quiet place designated just for learning! Letting kids be a part of this process will get them excited for school and make them feel accomplished to be involved.
Both families and educators are bound to encounter challenges with online education, so don’t be too hard on yourself! These past months have been challenging, and we’ve continued to adapt! Stay positive this school year, and we’ll make it the best it can be!
Next we’re excited to announce the start of the Team ELM after school clubs. That we are offering both virtually and in person Monday - Friday!
The new after school clubs will include:
3-4 pm, 4-5 pm, 5-6 pm, & 6-7 pm. You can call us at 732-301-7015 or email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing, more information, and to register. In person spaces are limited!
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in schools shut all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
Virtual learning is a learning experience that is enhanced through utilizing computers and/or the internet both outside and inside the facilities of the educational organization. The instruction most commonly takes place in an online environment. The teaching activities are carried out online whereby the teacher and learners are physically separated (in terms of place, time, or both).They present resources, activities and interactions within a course structure and provide for the different stages of assessment. Specifically, virtual learning uses computer software, the Internet or both to deliver instruction to students. This minimizes or eliminates the need for teachers and students to share a classroom
Hybrid learning is where students learn through a mix of in-person and online activities. Students are encouraged to learn from one another in in-class instruction sessions whereas the multimedia shared online enhances and reinforces discussions in class. Hybrid learning is synonymous with blended learning. Hybrid learning is most effective when it occurs before, during and after class. Hybrid learning refers to web-based learning activities that are used to complement in-person instruction. Students spend less time seated in a classroom listening to lectures and are instead encouraged to explore online and learn from their peers. Hybrid learning comes with its pros, including increased interaction with peers and instructors, greater involvement in a course, more flexible scheduling and an interactive learning environment. It can also mean some students attend class in-person, while others join the class virtually from home.
There is evidence that learning online can be more effective in a number of ways. Some research shows that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. This is mostly due to the students being able to learn faster online; e-learning requires 40-60% less time to learn than in a traditional classroom setting because students can learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they choose. There are, however, challenges to overcome. Some students without reliable internet access and/or technology struggle to participate in digital learning; this gap is seen across countries and between income brackets within countries.
With this sudden shift away from the classroom in many parts of the globe, some are wondering whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic. Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.
Posts written by the Team ELM family!