With schools in the UAE to remain closed until the end of the academic year and children adjusting to their new classroom set up at home, Dubai Heights Academy (DHA), a leading British curriculum school located in the heart of Al Barsha South, has shared their top tips for maintaining a healthy wellbeing while learning from home.
It can be hard for both parents and children to maintain a routine when facing an entire day spent in the house – things can quickly become unstructured. However, it is widely known that a healthy body equals a healthy mind, with healthy eating, drinking water, getting plenty of rest and exercise key to achieving this.
Paul King, Head of PE at Dubai Heights Academy, said: “With children unable to return to their normal school routines until the beginning of the new academic year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures implemented by the UAE government, placing a focus on staying fit, strong, healthy and positive has never been more important for children.
“While it is commonly known that exercise improves physical health, the positive impact daily exercise can have on mental health and wellbeing, especially for children, can sometimes be overlooked.
“As children across the country continue to adjust to their new home learning environment, daily exercise can provide them with an effective stress outlet, improve motivation and learning, help maintain a positive wellbeing and also allow children to develop a feeling of achievement.”
1. Exercise daily – Exercising daily is not only important for children’s physical wellbeing but also for their mental wellbeing. The daily PE challenges which DHA have assigned each student are an easy way of staying fit and active and enable children to reach their daily target of 30 minutes of activity per day. These daily challenges, which focus on strength, mobility and stretching are curriculum based and have been adapted to be able to do at home and allow children to involve their family.
2. Find a good balance between schoolwork, exercise and rest – While staying up to date with studies and coursework is important during this distance learning period, making sure kids have adequate sleep on weeknights as well as ample daily brain breaks - scheduling learning activities for short bursts of time throughout the day, are of equal importance to enhance motivation, concentration and general wellbeing.
3. Healthy eating – Maintaining a healthy diet is always important, but with children less likely to be carrying out as much exercise as normal due to social distancing measures, it is more important than ever. Ensuring their diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables will help provide them with the nutrients required to boost concentration and will also help fuel their bodies for daily workouts. Take this opportunity to teach your children about different foods and encourage them to help out in the kitchen, learning how to cook simple meals.
4. Drink plenty of water – It is important children stay hydrated, especially as the temperature continues to rise across the country. As well as fueling the brain, water can help reduce the temptation to have unnecessary snacks while carrying out schoolwork.
5. If possible, get some fresh air each day – Getting outside for some fresh air and natural light is important. Aim to get outside during the day, if your home environment allows this, whether it be in your back garden or on the apartment balcony (under supervision). If this is not possible, try to open windows for an hour a day to allow some fresh air in.
6. Always ask for help if needed - It is DHA’s primary objective to provide a distance learning programme that ensures continuity in a child’s education during the period of school closures, with staff always on hand to assist children with their learning and help out with any problems that may arise.
7. Stay positive and busy – Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s important to stay positive and keep busy – we are #InThisTogetherDubai. Keeping the mind occupied helps avoid any negative thoughts. Children should be reminded that this will blow over soon, allowing them to return to school, meet up with their friends and resume all extra-curricular activities including sport, music and drama.
“Learning doesn’t have to mean screen time. It’s important to remember children are always learning, with break out activities such as reading, free reading and drawing; practical hands-on maths incorporated into cleaning and cooking; fine motor work such as tidying away toys, playing with Lego and doing jigsaw puzzles; taking part in family fun workouts; and listening to music and singing every day all helping to keep children engaged and motivated,” said Mr King.
In order to stay on top of and improve children’s learning experiences, DHA are carrying out fortnightly parent surveys. DHA are also working to set up a community zone session for all families to participate in, allowing them to check in, ask questions and stay involved in their child’s learning as well as the on-going development of the school.
With lessons currently being taught online as a result of social distancing measures which have been implemented across the UAE, DHA is offering a 10% discount for Term 3 of this calendar school year, in addition to an existing discount on annual fees, as well as providing parents with the opportunity to spread their payments over three months – April, May and June.
Meanwhile admissions for the next calendar school year 2020/2021 are now open for all students from Early Years Foundation Stage through to Year 7, with DHA launching virtual admissions and virtual tours via their newly launched website to help make the process as simple as possible for both parents and children.
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