Remembering Anzacs in the new normal

The Anzac Day poster and balloons for fallen police officers outside Nar Nar Goon Kindergarten.

By Danielle Kutchel

A flexible and creative approach to learning has allowed children in Nar Nar Goon to participate in an Anzac Day like no other.

Children at Nar Nar Goon Kindergarten took part in a special Anzac Day remembrance activity last week, putting together a poster to display in the community to remember fallen diggers.

Staff drew a poppy on a big piece of paper, and children painted it in bright colours before sticking on autumn leaves that they collected from the garden.

The poster was then displayed on the front fence for the community to see.

Given current Covid-19 restrictions, only a few children are currently coming into the centre – but those learning at home were not left out.

Teacher Linda English said remote learners were sent links to online activities, including Anzac biscuit recipes and information about why they couldn’t attend a dawn service this year and what they could do instead.

A closed Facebook group for parents of children at the centre was used to share what had been done on-site.

Ms English said it was important to engage all families whether they were learning remotely or on-site.

She has been blown away by the level of engagement from all families, with Nar Nar Goon Kindergarten still serving the same number of children as it would without the restrictions.

She said setting up remote learning has been a “huge learning curve” for the centre, and not without its tech hiccups.

But parents have stepped in to help each other, and staff at the centre are flexible to work around any issues.

“Remote learning is about keeping up relationships with those children so when they do come back, we can keep moving on,” Ms English explained.

Each day, the kids take part in a Zoom chat through which they can see all their friends and engage in songs, stories and fitness activities live with their peers.

Ms English said it was great to see children wave to their friends through the screen.

Families also send in photos and videos of their children completing activities so staff can keep an eye on their learning progress.

Teachers are already looking at how they can continue to utilise the technology into the future for children who are away from the centre for long periods of time.

Although there aren’t many children attending the centre right now, teacher Linda English said it was important to continue to involve them in community activities like Anzac Day.

“You can’t just let things slide because things aren’t normal,” she explained.

“Remote learning is working – the children’s faces every online session show how excited they are.

“Keeping some of those things as normal, like still celebrating Anzac Day, or putting up balloons for the fallen police officers – we’re still doing normal things, just in a different way. It keeps it positive.”

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