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“The children seem much more independent this time round”

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This week we asked a local primary school teacher how they are adapting to home schooling through online learning for the second time.
Fourth Class teacher Aisling Sugrue from Holy Cross Mercy School explained that the engagement from the children and parents has been fantastic - even more so this time around.

Here's what she had to say:

"The children want to learn and it is great to see! Luckily as a school, we have kept our homework digital since reopening in September so the children are very used to receiving their homework each day on the Seesaw App and then uploading a picture of their completed work for us to look at and mark. This is running right from Junior Infants to Sixth Class and it has made the transition to online learning much easier and the children seem much more independent this time round.

I guess the hardest part for the children, and a difficulty for us teachers too, is missing out on that vital social part of school that they all love. Often you would ask a child what their favourite part of school is and they would say break time - because that is where they get to chat and relax with their friends. Some of the children I teach are at home without siblings and are unable to go to friend's houses or even outside to play due to restrictions, so it must be very lonely for them. We have whole class live Zoom sessions during the week where we just chat and play games and it is lovely for them to interact with each other. The children are also working on STEM projects in groups online which allows them to work collaboratively just like they would in our classroom."

Many parents are juggling online learning, working from home and running a household all at the same time, she added.

"I can only imagine the chaos and struggles they are facing each day. They truly are heroes to be keeping everything going. I think it is important to remind the parents that while we want the learning to continue - we are in a pandemic and if every piece of work doesn't get done everyday, it is not the end of the world. Children are so much more than the maths questions or spelling lists. Children are scientists, poets, artists, designers, gardeners, authors, creators, athletes, explorers and so much more. I think it is important we focus on these wonderful skills and get them creating and exploring outdoors during this time too.

SCREEN TIME

For me as a teacher, the most difficult side of this has to be the increase of screen time. As the children are doing their work at different times during the day, you are constantly checking to see if there is work to be marked or checked as well as answering questions or queries. We do live Zoom lessons with children who need a little extra help and also record teaching videos to go with different activities, all of which adds to that screen time. It suits some families to do their work in the evening, so it may be 6 or 7pm when their work is uploaded to be checked. In a way, we have become constantly accessible and it is very hard to switch off from school work."

And the question she gets asked everyday from the children is "when are we returning back to school?"

"With the uncertainty of an end date, it is hard to explain to them when we will be back. But I think our priority as teachers should be keeping the children's well-being safe and healthy, as well as our own."

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Dancing classes set to unite communities

By Michelle Crean There’s no language barrier when it comes to dancing – which is why one local group is organising classes to unite communities. KASI, the Killarney Immigrant Support […]

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By Michelle Crean

There’s no language barrier when it comes to dancing – which is why one local group is organising classes to unite communities.

KASI, the Killarney Immigrant Support Centre, has teamed up with dance instructor John Moriarty to teach both Ukrainians and multiple cultures living in Kerry Irish set dancing steps from next week.

The first class will take place on Tuesday evenings, starting next week (September 27) at St Mary’s Parish Hall at 6.30pm and all are welcome to join.

The idea is to help Ukrainians living in Killarney and Kerry to come and have fun and get to know locals better, KASI coordinator, Marilyn Catapat-Counihan, explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“We have a women’s group for all ages where we do crochet, sewing and art and crafts, where they can talk which is good. I had the music on and they were dancing. I asked if they would like to do dancing classes so I organised it with John Moriarty who is well known in Killarney.”

She added that the women are very excited to learn set dancing and get to know other people from the area.

“Sometimes when you meet new people the language can be a barrier and when you’re dancing everybody is moving. He will open it to everyone so there’ll be integration, it’s fun as well. They are all very excited.”

To find out more contact John on 086 1579381.

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Multiple Sclerosis Walk celebrates 20 years

By Sean Moriarty The rising cost of fuel is already having a negative effect on charity events with some limiting numbers. On October 9, the annual Multiple Sclerosis South Kerryv Walk […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The rising cost of fuel is already having a negative effect on charity events with some limiting numbers.

On October 9, the annual Multiple Sclerosis South Kerryv Walk takes place over the Old Kenmare Road.

First run in 2002, this year’s event will celebrate 20 years since its foundation but two years were lost as a result of the pandemic.

This year’s walk will be limited to 150 people – three coach loads – so event organisers can cut back on running costs.

It will only be possible to participate in this year’s event if walkers pre-register.

“Walkers must raise at least €40 to make it worthwhile,” organiser John O’Shea told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Spaces are limited, 150 people equals three coaches and we need smaller coaches to get into the start of the Old Kenmare Road as that is just a bog road. We have limited numbers for cost and operational reasons.”

Mr O’Shea thanked event sponsors O’Callaghan Coaches and The Gleneagle Hotel for their support of the event.

Registration forms can be obtained by calling John on 087 2348824.

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