Award-winning headteacher Pepe inspires home-schooling in lockdown
Pepe Hart, an award-winning head teacher and our very own Advisor, is gaining a growing following since she started creating weekly video blogs designed to help parents and children grappling with home schooling during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Pepe, who lives in Bristol, was the head teacher of The Academy of Trinity Primary School in Radstock for 10 years. During that time, she achieved four outstanding OFSTEDs, won a ‘Diana, Anti-Bullying’ award in recognition of the school’s zero tolerance to bullying and Pepe personally won a Pride of Britain Award for her work at the school.
Now an Adviser to the Child of Wales Awards, Pepe is publishing a weekly video blog designed to motivate, inspire and educate parents and children looking to make good use of their time in lockdown.
Almost 1,000 people a week are now watching the high-energy vlog, which Pepe crams with enthusiasm and ideas for home schooling children.
Pepe said: “I loved my job and firmly believe that teaching is a privilege. I wanted to help and shape the lives of so many people who genuinely meant a lot to me. Now, given our current circumstances in lockdown, I also wanted to do my bit to help inspire children and parents struggling with the motivation and direction around home schooling.
“I am proud to be an Adviser to the Child of Wales awards and that has given me a natural incentive to help families through these tough times. I have a lot of fun doing these videos, which are high energy and hopefully can make a positive difference to people’s experience in these challenging times.”
Blanche Sainsbury, founder of the Child of Wales Awards, said: “We are so grateful to be working with Pepe on our awards as she is such an inspirational figure with an intuitive sense of how to inspire young people. The feedback from families watching her videos during lockdown has been wonderful.”
National Pet Month – Animal Magic!
‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’
It’s been National Pet Month through April (it actually finishes on May 10). And in today’s ‘Hello Monday’ assembly we are looking at how much we can learn from animals.
We have been inundated with animal pictures from so many people across the country and have included them all. We love your animals; you are so lucky to have them. Thank you for sharing them with us. Animals can teach us so much about how we should behave as human beings.
Top 5 Picks of the week from Mrs Hart
1. 3D animals on Google!
Type the animal of your choice into google and click the ‘view in 3D’ button. You can see pandas, lions, tigers and even cheetahs! Bring these magnificent animals into your home. It really is simple. Open Google. Type in an animal e.g Penguin. Just beneath the Wikipedia result, you should see ‘Meet a life-sized animal up close’ box. Click ‘View in 3D’ and it will open up your camera with a picture of your chosen animal. Take a picture or film the animal in your house! ‘The Tiger who came to tea’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ with the wolf can be recreated in your very own films, stories and poems!
2. Virtual Zoos
Chester Zoo are inviting you to the zoo for the day! Live streaming with their brilliant zookeepers is simply incredible! ‘Awesome Aardvarks’, ‘Elephant pool party’ and ‘Lions Lunch’ are just a few examples I discovered on their YouTube channel. Sometimes when you go to the zoo you don’t always catch what the zookeepers are saying during their talks. Listen at your leisure to the zookeepers as they go about their daily business. There are animal fact file activities and animal masks to make. While you’re at it, why not hop like a kangaroo over to ‘San Diego Zoo live cams’ and then ‘Feeding time at Cincinnati Zoo’ on their Facebook page. They also take you on live ‘Home Safaris’ at 7pm (UK time) or watch footage posted on the Cincinnati Zoo website the next day.
Take a trip to the icy Antarctic and learn all about Emperor Penguins. Did you know that without the warmth of the parents’ brood pouches, Emperor penguin chicks would die in just a few minutes in the freezing cold Antarctica? Find out why these birds are super divers! This site also gives top tips on conservation and lots of fascinating animals.
This popular website has a section dedicated to animals, which I loved simply because it made me smile! Discover pictures of the thirty happiest animals in the world and learn a little more about ‘Smiley’ the Golden Retriever dog, born without any eyes who becomes a therapy dog to help others. The dog who is always happy!
Fancy a video call with a llama?! Or even a camel? Find out how one man made this possible. BBC’s Newsround helps you to discover the latest news on animals from around the world. Funny videos, photos, facts and quizzes on many different species of animals.
Some of my favourites animal stories that I have read with children and created endless activities include:
Badger’s parting gift. A story that teaches children about grief and losing a loved one. This is an incredible book about sharing memories of someone a child has sadly lost. Sensitively and beautifully written.
War Horse. A story of courage, friendship and reuniting between Joey the courageous horse and Albert. How are you being strong in lockdown, isolated from your friends? What will you do when you all reunite?
Charlotte’s Web. A fantastic tale of friendship and sacrifice. What have you had to sacrifice in lockdown that you appreciate now?
Black Beauty. ‘Kindness to man and beast!’ Animal rights debates, reading comprehension activities and the beauty of horses. Write as though you are Black Beauty.
The Fantastic Mr Fox! Limericks and alliteration. Discover animals and their senses. Create menus for all the animals and Mr Fox’s Fantastic Feast!
Lion and the Mouse. Kindness is never wasted. Random acts of kindness in isolation. How are you making life easier for everyone in your family?
‘Animals are such agreeable friends -they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms’
In isolation, we have more time to bond with our animals than we normally would. Animals, such as dogs, love us unconditionally. You don’t have to prove anything to them and you don’t have to prove yourself to gain their love and friendship; they love you for who you are. We should show them the same loyalty, care and kindness. They do not expect a lot back. Find friends in your life who love you unconditionally.
Mrs Hart, Adviser to Child of Wales.
We have been so lucky to have had glorious weather during the last few days and long may it continue. This week we celebrate National Gardening Week.
Hopefully, we can look at ways to stay positive, happy, and even spot the next Alan Titchmarsh or Charlie Dimmock!
Many of us will enjoy discovering their green fingers this week and we can all have a go at potting seeds or planting bulbs. The famous saying ‘you reap what you sow’ reminds me of life in general. In isolation many of us can become frustrated and have disagreements within our families. If you are angry and cross, you sometimes get it back.
Sow some kindness, you will reap it back.
Sow a smile, watch it grow.
Sow some care, you can never give enough…
You reap what you sow. If you work hard, you enjoy a lot of learning, so sow some hard work and reap the endless learning.
We enjoy the beauty of plants and flowers, but we do not see their bulbs or seeds. As people we are all like beautiful flowers. People only see what is on the outside and do not know what is in our hearts and minds. We need healthy hearts and minds on the inside to grow into beautiful people on the outside and do wonderful things.
Mrs Hart’s Top 8 Garden Greats!
Take a look at some of the craft ideas from these magnificent eight websites in today’s ‘Hello Monday assembly’ video. Thank you to you all for your wonderful, creative and inspirational ideas.
darrellwakelam.co.uk – An awesome site! I highly recommend Darrell Wakelam, what an exceptionally talented artist. He makes the most extraordinary models from sticking together bits of paper and cardboard! I spotted a ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ and a ‘Cardboard Flytrap’ in amongst his outstanding collection. These can be made from paper plates, egg boxes and toilet roll tubes. An excellent way to recycle and enjoy at the same time.
www.thespruce.com – Easy activities such as grow your own celery, pot your own garlic and grow ornamental sweet potatoes. There are plenty of mini projects that involve small containers and can be done indoors, well worth a look.
woodlandtrust.org.uk – Messy mud kitchens to cook up a classic mud pie and happy nature faces! The ‘nature’ birthday cards are special and can be made and sent with love to people you miss. I loved the idea of the fairy doors. Children can make their own special garden fairy doors from lolly sticks and dot around the garden or house.
kidsgardening.org – One of the most simple and creative activities that many children will enjoy on this website, soil art! All ages can produce works of wonder. So many simple activities with clear instructions for the whole family to enjoy.
nationaltrust.org.uk – ‘50 Activities to do in your back garden’. Be a Queen and wear a ‘hand made’ wild crown or even a wild bracelet! Create ‘wild art’ displays with twigs and leaves. See if you can complete all 50 activities in isolation.
www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning – I loved the pressed flower picture frames, butterfly crop protector, scarecrows and simple animal leaf pictures. Really easy to find the materials and have a go!
Gardening week is all about getting outside, learning and having fun. You could always, however, extend the craft activities with some of the following as part of your homeschooling:
Garden scavenger hunts. Many of the above sites include these but you could make up your own lists of objects, smells and textures. Be nature detectives and go on the hunt for particular coloured leaves, different shapes and sizes. Collect different numbers of leaves for counting/bar chart Maths activities. Measure the heights of different plants in the garden, taller and smaller challenges. If using the senses, be careful with taste and anything unknown, but this is a great one for learning about vegetables and herbs.
Write instructions for the treasure hunt, giving directions on where to start and finish in the garden. Children can also design their own ‘Treasure hunt Garden maps’ using pictures and symbols for someone to follow. Record the directions onto a phone for someone to follow the clues.
‘2020 Garden Time capsules’ from the Isolation period! This would be fun and perhaps to dig up in years to come. You could include photos of families, empty toilet rolls, face masks, painted pebbles with NHS designs, zoom screenshots, newspaper stories and even a letter about what is happening in your house that day! In years to come, the Isolation Period could give Jurassic archaeological digs a run for their money! As a family, make a list of all the items everyone wants to include. Sow some family memories for you all to share.
‘Behind the Secret Garden Fairy Gate…’ Who lives behind the secret garden gate? Use the fairy gate craft idea as a stimulus to write stories and poems that you can share in isolation and look back on as happy family memories. The stories could be included into a nature garden craft book.
Royal Garden tea party, dressed in your wild crowns and gowns! The role play is endless. Thorny crafty crowns or delicate daisy crowns, the choice is yours. Decorate your garden or house with all of the wonderful garden craft you have created this week and celebrate having this time together.
Scarecrow characters. Make all sorts of characters from books you are reading or even people from your own family. Let the story writing in the garden commence!
I am beautiful! Write a poem/song about what makes you or someone in your family beautiful inside. Think about the roots that cannot be seen and how our hearts and minds are not on show. If we feed them well, we can blossom into beautiful human beings on the inside and out. Healthy minds, bodies and hearts. Perform your song/poem at the Royal Garden tea party.
Climate Change – Jolly Green Gardeners! I discovered the wonder of the tea bag this week. I found out that tea bags have nutrients that act as natural fertiliser for the soil. Your flowers and plants will blossom, so do not throw them away. The smell also apparently keeps vermin away and can be added to compost heaps. Tea bags retain water and keep the roots healthy and help potted seeds to grow. Children could design posters on reducing carbon footprint by growing our own fruit and veg such as strawberries or green beans. Design leaflets about why it is important to look after trees and plants. They are the natural habitats of wildlife such as bees, caterpillars, birds and butterflies.
Super Scientists. Draw and label different parts of flowers and trees using magnifying glasses. Lead a lesson for your family and present your findings.
In our ‘Hello Monday’ assembly today we look at the simple daisy flower and how it teaches us resilience during isolation. We may sometimes get sad during the lockdown period but we learn to come back stronger, just like the daisy flower. We look at how you can bounce back, like a daisy does! Daisies are pretty flowers that make us smile. Daisies remind us that there is beauty all around us in our world, sometimes we just have to look a little more closely. It really is a wonderful world.
Mrs Hart, Adviser to Child of Wales.
“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali
During this time in isolation, many of us are missing the company of friends. When lockdown is over, we will all be able to enjoy and appreciate the friends who have been absent in our lives. No amount of virtual ‘House parties’ or ‘Zoom’ calls will compensate for face to face love, laughter and chats!
Some of us may even have developed new friendships during this unique time of lockdown.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you” – Dale Carnegie.
On Wednesday 22nd April, it is National Stephen Lawrence Day. A day to celebrate the life of a young black teenager who, in 1993, was senselessly murdered because of the colour of his skin.
Stephen was a talented person. He was gifted in the art of still life drawing and was a good mathematician. He hoped to go to university to study architecture. Sadly, and tragically this never happened.
To celebrate the life of Stephen I want us all to think about the value of friendship. Now more than ever in isolation, think about the individual qualities of all the friends you are longing to see.
Stephen’s best friend was someone called Elvin O’duro. Elvin remembers many good times with Stephen. They were best of friends for many years. Let us take time this week to remember Stephen.
#BecauseOfStephen ‘High 5’ challenges in isolation
Here are some of the things Elvin remembers about his best friend Stephen.
#BecauseOfStephen ‘He was a great walker. And what a runner! I remember the time we walked all the way from New Cross to Grove Park.’ The distance is 4.5 miles and would, on average, take around an hour and a half. Can you walk around your garden or house for the same time? Can you plan a 4.5-mile walk that you can do with a friend once we are out of lockdown?
#BecauseOfStephen One of Stephen’s many skills was still life drawing and he was also good at maths. Elvin was great at painting and so they helped each other. That’s what good friends do. Write a letter or a poem all about how a special friend helps you titled ‘My friend, I miss you because…’
#BecauseOfStephen Elvin and Stephen painted faces of bands and famous people on t-shirts and had many requests for their fantastic works of art. Create a picture with a special sign or symbol that can be put onto a t-shirt for a special friend of yours. Give it to them after lockdown is over as a special gift.
#BecauseOfStephen Stephen wanted to be an architect. Build a tower out of anything you can find in the house and see how tall you can make it. You can use cardboard boxes, lego, bottles, cups, be as creative as you like!
#BecauseOfStephen Stephen liked helping people. His family had a rota and it was Stephen’s turn to do the washing up. This happened to be Christmas day and there was so much to do! Even though it took him two and a half hours, Stephen was determined to finish the lot! In isolation make a ‘Stephen promise’ and offer to do some jobs around the house like cleaning, cooking or washing up! Your family will be your friends for life!
All of these challenges can be done by people of all ages!
Stephen was a good friend. He was a special person who should never be forgotten. Stephen’s favourite colour was orange. On Stephen Lawrence Day, April 22nd, we invite you to wear something orange and light a candle to him.
Celebrate Stephen, remember the good he continues to bring to the world.
There is always hope and out of darkness comes light.
Mrs Hart, Adviser to Child of Wales.
‘We’re all in this together’ has been a tune in my head as the nation is in Lockdown, except this is not a scene from High School Musical, this is for real. Many of us have found ourselves trying to be the next Mary Poppins or Kindergarten Cop, forced into ‘home schooling’ our own children. As a former Head Teacher, I am here to help and support you and your children through what will be challenging times.
Firstly, this is not forever, everything passes. This is something we have little control over and so we need, above all, to keep not only our children safe in mind, body and soul, but also ourselves!
No one expects you to be an expert; sometimes we are our own worst enemies in thinking everything has to be perfect. Home schooling is not about mirroring what was happening at school. Frankly this would be impossible. Try not to worry. See this as a positive time. A time to relax and discover things about your child you did not know! And the one thing we do know is, we have time. We do not need to worry about rushing and cramming everything in. How many times in life can we say that?
During this time, it can seem overwhelming as a parent or carer with the number of on-line learning packages flooding the internet. Your child’s school will also be sending work, activities and sign posting you to resources. You may wonder at times if you are doing enough or indeed too much.
I find children learn best when they are enjoying and having fun. Establishing a routine that will suit your family is best. Choose a mini project or topic that your child can research and spend lots of time on. This blog aims to support, guide and inspire.
As a Head Teacher I loved the ‘family time’ of whole school assemblies with all the children and staff. They were an important part to the routine of every child’s day. Assemblies were special. We all came together, sharing stories, ideas, or even our worries and how to overcome them.
Child of Wales would like to be here for all our children and families during this national period of lockdown. I will be hosting a weekly ‘Child of Wales Assembly’, alongside a blog with tips and ideas.
The theme of our first assembly will be
I look forward to your child joining us. Parents are welcome to join in too!
I started with a song and so it would be appropriate to leave you with one…. Have a listen to ’Don’t worry be happy…’ By Bobby McFerrin
Mrs Hart, Adviser to The Child of Wales.
Pepe Hart, Adviser to The Child of Wales Awards, is the former head teacher of the Academy of Trinity Primary School in Radstock. She won a Pride of Britain Award for Teacher of the Year for her achievements at the school. Every Monday, she will offer the parents and children inspiration and motivation to help with home schooling through these challenging times.