First ever online assembly to be held amid Coronavirus pandemic
April 1 2020
It is the beginning of the school ‘holidays’ on Thursday (2nd April, from 1pm). With Easter round the corner, the Spring Term would have been wrapped up with both Lower and Upper School coming together with teachers and parents in the Pelham Moffat School Hall to present to each other the items they have been preparing in their respective Classes. Instead, for most pupils, this last day on campus came two weeks early, with face-to-face education ending on Friday, March 20th, in a Government bid to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
A conscious effort is made to honour the cycle of the year as part of school life. One way this is done is through marking the main traditional festivals with a celebration, often incorporating an assembly. These regular social occasions are an important part of our community school, reflecting the seasonal and festive note in the performances by the individual classes.
The school calendar marks the main Christian festivals. Other religious festivals are observed too, which help to deepen the children’s experience of other peoples and cultures; to appreciate diversity and understand one another despite differences of language and cultural background as they progress through the school.
Each festival has its place in the calendar, which addresses the basic human need for rhythm and repetition. In a society where many of the natural rhythms of life have virtually disappeared, it gives the children orientation in time. We aim to cultivate feelings of wonder and reverence in our children.
Festivals serve to connect humanity with the rhythms of nature and of the cosmos. They join children to the seasonal moods of the year in a festive way.” Steiner
Since the hall and stage were built almost 40 years ago, it has become the hub of the school, hosting plays, concerts, conferences, fundraisers, ceilidhs, exhibitions, Burns Supper, Michaelmas Meal, and Eurythmy performances, as well as being the daily sports hall and after-school clubs venue.
Our families and teachers are diverse in their religious, political and social beliefs. What we all have in common is an education based on the principles of the internationally recognised Steiner Waldorf curriculum. In these unprecedented times we find ourselves in, we hope to keep the strong community spirit alive.
As part of this special recorded assembly, with no geographical limits, pupils, teachers, parents and alumni are coming together, virtually, to contribute.
It will be streamed from the School’s ESS Talks on Easter Sunday (12th April), at noon. For younger ones, this special online event can be listened to instead of watched.
To view the developing programme, and to be in the audience, visit Special Easter Assembly in School Calendar.
School stays open for eligible children
On Monday 23rd March remote learning began for all pupils other than children of ‘key workers’, ‘vulnerable’ pupils, and those attending at the ‘discretion’ of the School. A list of around 30 – 50 children were identified as eligible to continue to attend, with the help of a parent questionnaire sent out to all parents.
As a school rich in international pupils, we welcome pupils from all over the world, who attend our Upper school for one term or longer. These overseas visiting pupils are automatically classed as ‘vulnerable.’
Staff were also surveyed to establish whether face-to-face teaching was viable, and for how long, as there are many who are living with vulnerable relatives and others requiring to self-isolate. The School is hugely grateful to those frontline teachers and supporting staff who are continuing to come to School to administrate the school, cook lunches and hold classes for pupils attending.
Keeping the School open to these eligible pupils of parents who are also nurses, health and social care staff, those working in key public services, local and national government, public safety and national security, delivery and transport drivers, grocery store attendants, education and childcare staff, and social caregivers and financial services employees, allow the parents to continue to help society to run in these unprecedented times.
Pupils aged 5-15 were welcomed through the gates on Monday 23rd March. Since then, numbers have reduced to zero, as the country continues be in strict enforced lockdown, with families in social isolation, unable to leave their properties except for vital shopping, a daily exercise, to provide medical care, or to travel to and from essential work. The School will remain open, as far as possible, and provided it is safe to do so, for eligible children to attend.
To read the most up-to-date news on School procedures during this period, visit the School website here.
Featured image: “If the Easter Hare has to go from house to house hiding all the eggs, he’ll need to wear a Coronavirus mask” – 8-year-old pupil describing this Caran D’Ache drawing, whilst in self-isolation with a cough.