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Tuesday, 12 January 2021 18:28

The ISB – Resources, Tips and Recommendations for the Holidays from our Student Support Services Team

It is hard to believe the first term is nearly over and it has been a term like no other. It is important to take a moment to thank everyone across the whole community for supporting one another during these unusual and challenging times. The term “It takes a village to raise a child” is certainly true at this time as well as the wise words from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “We are all in this together - and we will all get through this, together.”

As our final article for this term, I asked the Student Support Services Team to share a tip, resource and/or recommendation for you and your family during the Winter Break and subsequent VLE weeks.

The key messages are: keep healthy, keep safe and enjoy the quality time together as a family. It is also vital that we all take time “to nurture ourselves, refill our own bucket as when we do that we are better able to respond to, and care for, the needs of others” (Visible Wellbeing, Lea Waters).

I always find it hard to give just one tip so here are a few. The first (and one that I will be trying to stick to with my own family) is ensuring we take time to reflect on the current situation, the challenges we have faced and overcome, as well as recognising the aspects of our life that we are able to control. Another idea is to create a mood boosting playlist, with the whole family contributing and play it loud when you notice the family need a lift. I know in the Kane household Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac and Def Leppard will be on our playlist!

Finally, research shows that being kind has an impact on your own well-being, as a family brainstorm ideas for acts of kindness and how you could do these virtually. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has many ideas, games, posters to get you started. Why not download the 2021 Kindness Calendar and challenge yourselves as a family to share kindness each day.

VLE week support: Learning Support Team

During the VLE weeks, you may want to refer to a resource we use in schools, called Khan Academy. They have developed a Distance Learning Survival Guide for Parents, which has practical ideas on setting up the learning spaces at home, techniques to motivate your child(ren) as well as tips on taking care of yourself. Each of these sections have hyperlinks, which might be fun to explore, when you have some free time or in need of additional strategies.

Winter Holiday Activities to continue language development: EAL Team

  • Start a family book club, here are some books to get you started.
  • Make a photo journal- one photo each day about an activity you did with your family or you having fun. The photo could be of you doing one act of kindness. Make the photos into an album and use your voice to write a description.
  • Write a poem/song/rap, record a baking/cooking video/show, write an adventure story, be a teacher and make a book for a younger brother/sister to help them learn something, create a magazine for children (with made up your own articles, recipes, games, quizzes etc), create a Kahoot/Nearpod, design clothes, make a scrapbook, design xmas cards, make  a crossword or word-find for you family/friends to do, make a puppet play and film, write a biography with images of your favourite star, etc.
  • Keep on reading in your home language (mother tongue)
  • Write New Year's cards both in English and in your mother tongue. Send them to your family members who are not with you.

Winter Holiday Celebration Health Advice Dr.Lilly

Holiday celebrations will likely need to be different this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Consider how your vacation plans can be adjusted to decrease the spread of COVID-19 to keep your companions, families, and networks solid and safe. Consider fun alternatives that pose lower risk of spreading. We find these links "Healthy Kids,Healthy Future" (25 Ways to Move at Home) and Child's Wellbeing during Covid 19 (Creating Family Media Plan) are wonderful and an amazing resource for our community as health and well-being guidelines during your VLE weeks.

Celebrating Hanukkah: Karen Hafner

Hanukkah is the festival of lights, and is celebrated on 8 nights. This year it is from December 10 to 18. One tradition that you may want to try is cooking Latkes. Here is Karen’s recipe:

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons flour (pancake or baking mix also works)
  • Oil for frying to cover the pan

Applesauce and/or sour cream, for serving.

  1. Grate the onions and blot out extra liquid. Beat the egg, add flour and onions.
  2. Start heating the oil (it’s ready when a small piece of onion turns brown)
  3. Grate potatoes and mix into the onion mixture.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, and flatten with the spoon, then salt each latke.
  5. When they start to brown, turn them over and salt again.
  6. They can be turned as often as needed to be really crunchy, but only salt each side once.
  7. After they are cooked, drain them on paper towels and serve warm with sour cream or applesauce.

The Student Support Services Team at IS Belgrade wishes all our CEESA colleagues a relaxing winter break and hope that you all have the opportunity to relax, recharge your batteries and spend quality time with your families and friends.

Written and compiled by Natasha Kane, the Leader of Learning for Student Support Services, The International School of Belgrade