What have we learned from 2020?

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I am sure we will all agree that 2020 has been a year like no other. The fear, disruption and challenges it has brought to families across the globe will never be forgotten. But in the year that the world was brought to its knees in the fight against Covid-19, what have we learned?

1. Never take anything for granted
We have been forced to surrender our civil liberties by following health and government guidelines to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. During this pandemic, we have realised that little things should never be taken for granted. Hugs from friends and family have been out of bounds for so long. Due to travel restrictions, many of us have not seen family members this year who live in other areas. Even popping out for a meal, arranging a playdate for the kids or a having a trip to the cinema have all become memories for now. These are moments that we will cherish when we can finally relax restrictions as the spread of the virus slows down.

A major thing I will never take for granted is education. I am so grateful to my own children’s teachers for being so flexible and thinking outside the box to enable them to carry on learning in one form or another over the course of this difficult year. Supporting home learning has not been easy for anyone. Like many other parents, we too found the balance of juggling working from home and supporting distance learning for our kids a difficult task to manage. But, as usual, we find children rise to the occasion and surpass our expectations every time. I too have been able to help students online when they most need it through the online lessons Emerald Education Centre offers to kids across the globe.

2. Embracing technology
Everyone has found themselves in a position where technology provides a means to work, learn, shop and communicate. Before this year, I found myself having to explain how video conference tools like Zoom work to most new online students I worked with. Now the story is very different. Zoom has become almost a household name. Families use the platform to meet up, chat and share games and quizzes. Professionals and businesspeople use it as a substitute for those face-to-face meetings we used to have regularly.

Children have been amazing at developing new 21st century skills, learning how to use Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom and Zoom to ensure their education is not disrupted too much. Our children have shown their resilience, learning how to create digitised versions of work set by teachers, upload and download work and master new tech tools that they would not have met prior to 2020. Although these skills have been almost forced upon them, the silver lining is that they are equipped with tech skills for the future.
Like many businesses, Emerald Education Centre has made the transition to online work during lockdown periods. We have all had to learn to think outside the box. We all need to have an ideal Plan A. Then have at least Plans B, C, D and E in place, just in case. We have learned to share knowledge more in our communities. We have pooled our expertise and helped each other through these difficult times. I created many links to resources on my social media accounts and blog posts, such as the top 5 sites to inspire children’s writing, the top 10 lockdown list of maths sites and 4 fantastic ways to get kids reading. These small gestures can have a huge impact. Sharing is caring!

3. Learn what is important in life
Whether it is spending more time with the family in our own homes or missing the family and friends we cannot visit due to travel restrictions, we have all realised that our relationships now have a deeper meaning. Taking time to chat to each other over a video call or on the phone has helped to maintain contact with those who are dearest to us. We have developed a greater appreciation of nature and spending time outdoors. My own family has spent many hours walking or cycling along the coastal paths in our town here in County Donegal, Ireland. We have a new rhythm in life. Stop. It is important to take time to enjoy what is around you.

So, what have we learned? Don’t take anything for granted. Have a back-up plan. Think outside the box and embrace technology. And, above all, enjoy living and learning as you go!

Emerald Education Centre offers online tuition and in-person lessons at our centre in Bundoran, Donegal. For more information about how we can help YOUR child, please do get in touch with Elaine Lingard at elaine@emeraldeducationcentrebundoran.com, check out our Facebook page or visit our website.

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