News from Primary School

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Allow me to express my great admiration and thanks to my colleagues, your children, and especially you for how quickly everyone was able to effectively react and to start distance learning on such short notice.

It has been just three days since the government announced all schools to be closed and we all already miss the children. It is saddening to see the school empty of the children, since we have done everything in our power to avoid this situation since August.  At the expense of our own comfort, we have all strictly and consistently followed the safety and hygienic rules instituted by the school, which many times exceeded government issued measures.  Owing to the collective cooperation of everyone, our school has not had a single confirmed case of the virus Covid 19. Knowing this fact, it was even more disappointing when we had to temporarily close the school.

Currently, we are utilizing all our resources at our disposal to offer the children a complete learning experience. Every day, teachers stream online lessons from our core classrooms with all the available teaching aids to maintain a high lesson standard. We actively individualize each lesson, that is why each lesson is taught by a teacher with a minimum of one assistant. The schedule was prepared with the age and individual needs of the students in mind. School classes are daily from 8:30 to 12:00 with two voluntary consultation hours in the afternoon. With twenty weekly classroom hours we cover and fulfill the mandatory educational program.  We continue to offer fourth and fifth class students enrichment lessons so their preparation for entry exams is not affected.

Last week we focused on preparing the students for distance learning. It is wonderful to see how even the smallest of students can orient themselves with the interactive platform MS Teams, and the support you offer them from home. I fully realize that, without the parents, it would be extremely demanding to overcome this difficult period. Once again, I would like to express my gratitude for your wonderful cooperation on behalf of myself and my colleagues.

We are adjusting the planned activities for the rest of the school year so that the schedule is flexible, and we can adapt to external conditions. We will not be dissuaded by the current situation. We would still like to realize Halloween Day, Christmas parties, and class field trips. Everyone at Open Gate believes that on 2nd November, we will be able to again welcome children back in our school.

First class were still able to make it out into the woods this week, and to collect frottage from various trees. They practiced visual differentiation and looked for different kinds of leaves. The autumn display they were preparing was unfortunately cut short with the school closing. On Tuesday, they took home all necessary things, and from Wednesday they began online learning, which they have handled superbly so far.

Second class set off beyond the borders of the Czech Republic and received a passport from tomcat Eda. On Monday, the children began work on a smaller project in groups. They are researching information on our neighboring countries. Our world travelers made a big improvement in fine motor skills. Saša proudly gave them their first fountain pens. Most students began using the pens immediately. In math, 2nd class finally received their first work where they count to 100. And how are they handling distance learning? Wonderfully. Nothing catches them off guard. They do have some ants in their pants because they are not used to sitting in one place for so long, but they are trying. This week second class finished Unit 2 in Incredible English and is ready to move on to Unit 3 next week. They reviewed furniture in their speaking classes and hid a paperclip in, on, and under different furniture and our classmates had to guess where it was. In phonics, they tackled words with CH in them. On Friday in speaking class, Jerry and Eric split the class into two groups and allotted more time for all students to practice talking about their rooms in Show and Tell.

Third graders began the week with a small celebration- a celebration that they can be together. Once again, Badík came to visit and this time was learning to bake. We also found time to learn ourselves- we can do addition with even large numbers. On Tuesday they magically created Thursday and at least partly enjoyed Thursday’s schedule. They also experienced several situations without the use of their eyes. They discovered how hard it is to write, move, or recognize different objects just by feeling them. They did not slow down with distance learning either. They write, count, create, read, and cannot wait to get back to school. In English class they managed to play some games and had their first online class on Wednesday in phonics which went well. On Thursday, the whole class was divided into two separate groups and intensively trained speaking with various debate topics.

During online learning, fourth class learned how to correctly write a card for classmates, parents, or a teacher. Thursday was a special day, when Kacenka celebrated her 10th birthday and our teacher Tereza had her name day. They sang to Kate online, studied, and even learned a recipe for homemade muffins since they could not have birthday cake at school. In English classes our fourth graders talked about the world’s most dangerous animal and learned about the mosquito and why it is considered dangerous. They did plenty of work in Incredible English with focus on present simple and the helping verb: Do/Does. They are looking forward to finishing Unit 2 next week. They also took their spelling test online on Thursday. Friday was reserved for speaking where they reviewed different jobs and modal verbs of obligation. Consultation hour was a lot of fun. They talked, discussed a video on the giant pacific octopus, and finally did a cartoon caption contest.

This week fifth graders remembered the day of a white cane and on Thursday they talked about the Greek philosopher Socrates. Fifth graders are old hands at online learning and so the change to distance learning offered them almost no challenge. There were a couple technical difficulties, but all in all everything went smoothly and according to plan. On Monday in class 5, they had their first presidential debate for the candidates. They faced some stiff questions from their classmates but dealt with them very well. On Friday, they had their second debate online. We are very proud to congratulate to Rozálka Dlouhá, who advanced to the county area round of Logická olympiáda.

I wish you all good health!

Petr Šlemenda