The aim of this project was to allow school-age learners who are learning from home due to COVID-19 to create meaningful social connections with other peers.
As a way to create social experiences and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, my daughter, who is a student learning from home, decided to offer a series of virtual art and baking sessions.
Chloe, who is in grade 6, came up with this project to:
1. inspire families to do more fun and creative activities together and
2. enable children to connect with peers, whether they are students learning at home or in-person.
Designed as a series of 3 weekly surprise activities, participating families from our catchment school picked up 3 mystery packages. The packages contained different materials for each week such as high-quality watercolor supplies and modelling clay, along with vanilla extract and sprinkles to create a mug birthday cake. We met weekly on Friday evenings and encouraged the whole family to participate at their kitchen table.
In addition, to foster genuine connections during our weekly sessions, each home-learner family was given the opportunity to sponsor 1 family with whom they wanted to reconnect. The sponsored family could be children learning from home or in-person at school.
Chloe instructed all the children in a step wise fashion on Zoom. To wrap up the 3-week series, she collected photos submitted by families. With these photos, she created a memorable video to capture the experience and shared this with the participants during the final session.
Extra supplies were included to enable families to create future play date opportunities with other friends and family. Chloe created colorful and detailed instruction sheets, which were sent to families after each session.
We had 20 families participate and a total of 25 children enrolled. This project was perfect for a range of elementary students; there was a fairly even split between primary and intermediate learners. With thanks to my daughters school, we were able to spread the word through a school-wide email to home-learner families.
All in all, it was a great success. Chloe says her most memorable experience was seeing gratitude on each child’s face as they proudly displayed their artwork and baking. We were grateful to have had the opportunity to bring joy to children learning from home during this challenging time.