Port Edward Primary School is a small community school in the town of Port Edward in southern KwaZulu-Natal.
To keep children learning during the lockdown (and even after returning to school) teachers created WhatsApp groups for each grade, through which work was sent to the children. Parents could contact the teachers when help was needed.
For families that did not have access to WhatsApp, the teachers supplied printed worksheets to a local and easily accessible collection point in the town of Port Edward to be collected by parents. In some cases, teachers would drop lessons and text books off at children's homes.
"The teachers went out of their way to make sure each and every child in their classes received work and was able to ask questions about subjects that were not understood," says Bianka van Loggerenberg.
Principal Terri MacKay encouraged and led her team of teachers, as well as the children to keep on learning and push through the obstacles that the Covid-19 pandemic created. She made a point of recognising children's and teachers' birthdays on Facebook every week. The teachers also made a point of wishing the children happy birthday in their classes, via the grade WhatsApp groups.
"I know my kids loved this and they really got to make the day special for the other kids in the class by sending voicenotes and videos to each other," says Van Loggerenberg.
"To see the face of your child light up, because not only has their teacher congratulated them on the projects and work submitted, but to also hear the principal saying, 'well done'! Wow!
"I am proud of our little school, and without the support and hard work of every single one of our teachers, our children would definitely be finding it difficult to not only accept, but to also adjust to what is now a new normal for all of us."
As the different grades were permitted to return to school, the teachers would dress up as an effort to say "welcome back to school" and to remind pupils that going to school and learning can be fun and exciting.
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