Distance Learning started on March 30

Unprecedented times such as these require collaboration and innovation in countless different realms. The faculty, administration, and board at NSWS are working hard during this unusual challenge of continuing our uniquely social education remotely. Nearly every day this past week our faculty have met remotely to review the responses of other schools, learn about online platforms, and discuss our plan. This communication will provide an outline of the Nevada Sage Waldorf School’s distance learning plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distance Learning Tools:

The faculty agreed that the platforms and tools we use for distance learning must be specific to age, so our program has been divided into the following groups:

> Early Childhood

> Grades 1-2

> Grades 3-4

> Grades 5-6

> Grades 7-8

Shared Expectations:

Expectations of Students (Grades 1-8)

  • Students should understand that distance learning is an important part of this year’s school experience.
  • Students will engage in lessons with concentration and goodwill, bringing their best efforts to this new experience.
  • Students will work with adequate parental guidance but strive to work independently, and know that their parents can contact teachers with questions.
  • Assignments should be submitted on time in the assigned format.
  • Students are encouraged to engage with the optional activities, if they complete their assigned work before the end of the designated learning time.

Expectations of Parents

  • Parents should provide a dedicated place and time for students to work at home.
  • Rhythm is important! At home learning will not match in-school class time hours and so each family will have to set a schedule that works best for their family’s situation. Your child’s teacher will have some suggestions about this.
  • It is important for the student to complete the work to the best of their own ability. Parents can be supportive by ensuring their child understands the learning task, has the required resources, and is located in a productive learning space.
  • Parents should recognize that they may be required to provide support to help their child remain engaged in learning. Parents may also need to assist their child in submitting assigned work.
  • Parents are encouraged to reach out to any teacher via email. It is also possible to schedule a Google Chat or phone call (individual teacher office hours will be communicated to you soon.)
  • If a child is unwell and unable to participate in the daily lessons, please advise the class teacher.

Commitment of Teachers:

Lessons may include written assignments, activity instructions, or pre-recorded audio or video. All online material will be available through Google Classroom. All materials will be available for current NSWS families only and should not be shared beyond the NSWS community. The class and special subject teachers will work collaboratively to plan and deliver lessons. This will enhance the quality of the teaching and the well-being of the teachers. Weekly Class–Parent emails of support will go out at each Grade Level. Teachers should reach out to Amy Kopald (Grades) or Audrey Simmons (EC) for needed support and to report any students (Grades 1-8) who are having difficulty engaging with the distance learning program.

Internet Access & Screen Time:

We are very aware that our distance learning plan relies heavily on both internet access and screen time, which presents a real contradiction to our teaching philosophy of limiting screen exposure and learning through personal connection. As you can see with the progression of our distance learning plan, we only expect online screen time with our oldest students.

If you do not have internet access in your home, please notify your class teacher so that alternative arrangements can be made. If your child will be unattended online for the first time, here is an article that outlines parental settings – How to Set up Parental Controls on all Devices.

The Learning Curve:

Schools nationwide have found themselves in the situation of moving to virtual instruction in a short span of time, so the learning curve will be steep, particularly for Waldorf Schools who consciously choose hands-on learning above virtual experiences. As such, we anticipate experiencing a few “hiccups” as we roll out this new teaching platform.

Here are a few tips to remember as we enter this uncharted territory:

  • Don’t hesitate to report issues regarding our learning tools to both your class teacher and the school director. The sooner we know there is an issue, the sooner we can take corrective action.
  • Remember: you aren’t homeschooling! Your child’s teachers are providing materials and instruction and we are asking that you provide a structure and adequate support to your child as they follow the program. Each family will have different thresholds for what they can do to supplement or support. Just refer to our agreed expectations for guidelines and do your best.