Rowntree Montessori Schools Goes Online to Deliver our Award-Winning Curriculum
Remote Learning in Response to COVID-19
Three short weeks ago, most of our students were finishing the last days of school before March Break. However, in just a matter of weeks, we have witnessed unprecedented changes in the world as we know it. Everything seems to have changed, and especially for us, the way that we think about teaching and learning.
Rowntree Montessori Schools’ students are strong and resilient. These past few weeks have proven this to us.
On Monday, March 23, 2020, RMS launched what we hope will be a relatively short and temporary Virtual Learning Programme. Our priority continues to be our students’ health and safety during these truly extraordinary times. However, we also want to ensure that we continue to keep our students engaged, learning, and connected with their peers. It is important that our students have some normalcy and predictability during COVID-19.
The last three weeks have been a blur of activity for our talented and committed teachers and administrators, who spent most of what would have been their March Break putting together virtual lessons and activities for the sake of their students. None of us could have ever imagined that the technological skills that we have nurtured over these last few years would have suddenly become so fundamentally crucial to what we do today.
A matter of just a few years ago, the prospect of temporarily shifting our students’ learning experience from the classroom to a remote setting would have seemed impossible. However, Rowntree has fully embraced 21st Century teaching and learning. We continue to offer our students and their families a valuable and meaningful learning experience. At this time, we are unable to meet face-to-face in our classrooms on a daily basis, but we can meet virtually!
RMS Virtual Classsrooms
Since Monday March 23rd, our students have been “in the classroom” every school day, from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The school day starts at 9 a.m. and we begin the day the same way we always do, with the playing of O Canada. Students have daily schedules to follow that provide them with the best chance of succeeding within a remote learning programme. The day begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. and includes not only English, Math, Science, and French; students also have Music, Art, Daily Physical Activity, and STEM O’Clock (Science, Technology, Engineering) at the end of each day.
Our teachers are delivering daily virtual lessons. Our students can see their teacher online, raise their hands and ask questions about the day’s lesson, in real-time, and interact with their classmates. Students complete assignments, assessments and presentations. We will also be holding fun events, activities, Spirit Days and Student assemblies online. RMS had planned to hold our International Day and Grandparents celebration today. Rather than cancel the festivities, we simply moved the event online. It is important for our students to feel connected to others. The feelings associated with all of our recent social isolation are likely even more acute for the grandparents and older relatives of our students.
Online Learning is for All Grades
Our Virtual Learning Programme is for all of our students, whether they are in Kindergarten or in Grade 8. We care about our students and we want them to be happy, healthy and successful, whether they are learning in our classrooms or in their homes. The goal of our Remote Learning Programme is to provide a structured and challenging Academic programme that will keep our students engaged and focused in a different way during this challenging time. We also believe that our online programming is as important for our students’ (and teachers’) social-emotional well-being as it is for their academic progress.
Together, as a school community, and family, we will get through this unprecedented time. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do, and Rowntree Montessori School students and teachers are up for the challenge.