We really are living in unprecedented times, and as someone pointed out recently (and if you are reading this do let us know who you are and we will happily credit you!) we are living through an exam question! NICIE has parents/guardians, aunts and uncles within the organisation and connections with teachers and schools all over Northern Ireland, and can appreciate the new challenges faced by many. We can only applaud all of you for the amazing work you have done and continue to do to ensure children aren’t left behind.
There has been great work across the education sector in providing support, lessons and materials for pupils and brilliant ideas, activities and challenges shared across social media from across the world. And there are organisations everywhere sharing online resources and ideas to keep children of all ages occupied.
With that in mind we are going to share some that we have found, some that have been shared with us and hope there are creative minds and helpful organisations out there who will continue to share across social media and elsewhere. If you want to send us ideas to post here drop an email to email@example.com, or tag us on twitter @niciebelfast and Facebook @niciebelfast and we will do our best to share your posts and ideas. And do check out the social media and website of the schools you may be connected with as many are doing the same. So, in no particular order or categorisation, here are some we have found or have been shared with us.
CAMHS guide to Covid-19 for children and young people.
CAMHS have produced a great guide to help you explain the ongoing pandemic to children and young people: https://view.pagetiger.com/kgbmzm/1
Education Authority NI
Two useful links to the EA website. First, “supporting Learning”, support for teachers and parents working together so pupils continue to learn at home and through school: https://www.eani.org.uk/supporting-learning. Secondly, a comprehensive list of educational resources for all levels here: https://www.eani.org.uk/education-resources
Bitesize is the BBC’s free online study support resource: www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
US based non-profit offering free online classes: https://www.khanacademy.org/
Crash Course is an educational YouTube channel started by John and Hank Green: https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse
London Symphony Orchestra (LSO)
The LSO have a series of videos aimed at A Level Music students, in addition to also broadcasting free prerecorded concerts: https://www.youtube.com/user/Lso
Free showings of productions on YouTube, as well as additional resources for School’s to share with pupils: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home
Safer Schools App
This app was launched, in Northern Ireland, on the 10th April by the Minister and Department of Education. It is used widely throughout the rest of the UK: https://ineqe.com/safer-schools-ni/
Free online eBooks, Audiobooks, eMagazines and other digital resources — www.librariesni.org.uk
ARK resources for History and Politics.
ARK have made a plethora of resources available online, including the CAIN archive. These may prove useful for some young people, teachers and parents – especially (but not exclusively) those engaged with issues of politics and history:
Clifton House and Belfast Charitable Society.
Clifton House is connected with so much local history, and while thy are closed to the public they are updating their website with facts and information. An interesting site for all lovers of history: http://belfastcharitablesociety.com/category/news/
A resource to help parents/guardians with learning at home. There are free trials of the resources: https://www.helpkidzlearn.com/updates/school-closure.html
A great resource from the Education Authority Creative Arts & Digital Innovation team that will “bring you a wide range of ideas and activities that are designed to help you learn new skills, connect with others, look after yourself and have some fun”: https://www.youthonline.org.uk/
7 Secrets of advanced English writing: https://www.grammarcheck.net/advanced-english-writing/
British Association for Early Childhood Education.
This association has released their last 4 years of journals for free in April. Might be helpful for teachers out there: https://www.early-education.org.uk/early-education-journal
Stay at home story time.
NICE Patron Oliver Jeffers is reading some of his books and talking about them on his website: https://www.oliverjeffers.com/books#/abookaday/
(There are other authors doing the same – please share with us as you find them!)
Paperboy by Tony Macauley.
Author Tony Macauley has been reading his award winning book over on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tony.macaulay
We know this is not an exhaustive list, and will update as we find other interesting websites. Social media is full of the wonderful work some schools, teachers and parents are doing as well. We should all champion them, share their ideas and support each other through this. Remember, no one has the right answer for the situation we find ourselves in and its okay to reach out and ask for help. And its okay to offer it to your friends, family and neighbours (from a distance).
Stay safe and keep washing your hands!