Parents are being urged to set up daily routines for their children now that they are stuck at home for at least the next month.
A new website Learning from Home launched by the Ministry of Education yesterday says parents are not expected to suddenly become teachers.
"First and foremost, communicate with your child's teacher. They will have a plan for learning at home – you aren't expected to replace the teacher," it says.
But it suggests that parents should "plan what your day will look like - sit down with your child or children and work out what you will be doing together and what they will be doing alone".
Teachers are advised to provide guidelines on:
• What a home routine might include.
• Give a clear outline of what you want school-age students to do over the week or fortnight and provide the supporting material (digital or physical) whānau and children need.
• Identify work that takes priority; explain why and what it is essential to cover.
• How long to spend on different learning tasks and appropriate break times.
The website suggests that teachers and parents should "agree on regular contact times so you stay connected (potentially a message at the same time each weekday morning)".
Teachers are also advised to let students and parents know an approximate timeframe on how quickly they will respond to questions "(e.g. within 24 hours)".
Principals and early childhood centre managers are told to "make it clear to staff that they are not expected to be on call 24/7".
News that the ministry was preparing the website first emerged last week as part if a plan to work with telecommunication companies to provide home internet to 25,000 families with school-aged children who don't have internet at home, and to buy extra computers for families that don't have suitable devices.
It advises schools to make sure that students go home with school books and devices ready to learn at home, including "loaning school devices to students who do not have them at home".
However the rushed decision to close schools immediately, announced at 2pm yesterday just an hour before most schools were due to close, means that many schools probably did not have time to issue devices to those who needed them, and teachers will now be scrambling to try to get together guidelines for parents with children at home.
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Parents are advised that their home "is already a learning environment - it is not necessary to turn it into a classroom".
"Learning opportunities happen anywhere every day. Remember that learning should be fun."
• For other advice on the lockdown go to covid19.govt.nz.