Franklin Family News


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We Are All in This Together

Dear Franklin Borough Families,

There is no doubt that over the last two weeks it has been difficult to adjust to this new world of remote learning that we've entered with little warning. Families everywhere are grappling with remotely schooling their children while continuing to physically go to work or work remotely from home. Managing work, remote schooling and parenting, while not allowing your child(ren) to disappear into social media and video games is challenging.

In an effort to support families through remote learning, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development (2020), has put together 10 tips for families as they adjust to the new reality of learning at home.


Consider limiting your children’s cell phones and tablets until their schoolwork is done satisfactorily, so that it can receive their undivided attention. Apps, games, and messaging features are fun, but they can also prove distracting. It may not be an option for everybody, but ideally, try to give your kids a dedicated device such as a school laptop for maximum online learning.


Your children will achieve their best work in a quiet, comfortable, and dedicated space devoted to learning. Ideally, this will be a different set-up than where they normally play games or watch television. Keep in mind that children will be in this space for many hours each day, and parents should watch out for any orthopedic issues that may arise related to comfort and posture.


In this new learning milieu, you can help by monitoring your children’s levels of interest and engagement in adapting to their new schedule and at-home materials. The simplest way to do this? Observation. Look at your child’s eyes to see if they’re following along with the screen. Check if they’re taking notes or zoning out. Ask questions at the end of a lesson. While this may require taking an hour off from work or stepping out for an early lunch, it’s important to confirm that your children are indeed learning. If you find that your child is not engaging with the lessons, don’t be afraid to contact the school district or teachers to better explore the issue. Sometimes, easily remedied technical problems such as bad audio, poor connection, or an unhelpful camera angle can make all the difference.


Make sure that your children take plenty of breaks in order to get physical activity and time away from screens. Set alarms similar to those they would encounter at school and encourage them to get up, get some fresh air, go for a walk or bike ride, or have a snack so that they are not sedentary for the entire day.


In-person interaction is ideal for kids, but until it’s safe for them to return to school, encourage your children to video chat or text message rather than simply scrolling through social media. You don’t want your children to feel socially isolated, but at the same time, you want to protect them from becoming wholly reliant upon their devices. Sit your children down for face-to-face conversations about screen time. In order to give them agency, discuss how much time they think is reasonable to spend online and make a “contract,” committing to goals for on-screen vs. off-screen hours.


Overuse of screen time can have adverse impacts on young brains, so it’s essential in these special circumstances to be extra careful when it comes to the littlest ones. As much as possible, parents should encourage print and book reading. Studies show that remote education can be challenging for all ages, but especially young kids, so do whatever you can and always err on the side of caution. Stimulate self-expression by having discussions with your children about what they are doing, and also encourage creative writing and imaginative story telling.


Remember that you’re not alone in this journey. Check in with other parents to see what they’ve found effective or to ask if they need help. Share your concerns and useful hints. If you need contact information for other parents or resources, reach out to the PTA or your child’s school. It is important that we all work together as a community for the good of our children and families.


Good planning can relieve stress for both children and parents. Check in with your kids about their plans and help them develop a written schedule not only for the day, but for the week as a whole. Help them prioritize and learn to create goals, tasks, and deadlines, just like adults do when they go to work. Tasks that may not have been difficult for them while attending school in person can become more challenging when learning from home, so it’s important to reinforce boundaries and offer incentives for healthy behaviors. To avoid disruption, some after-school activities may be offered via online video apps, Facetime, or Zoom.


Even though staying home from school might feel like a holiday, remind your kids that they’re not on vacation. Assignments, grades, requirements, and tests aren’t going away just because classes have moved online.


Plan off-screen activities for the whole family. Between school and work obligations, it’s rare for parents and children to have this much time together, so turn it into an opportunity for bonding. Write predictions for a TV show that the whole family watches. Organize a tournament, family card games, charades, or chess, or get outside for a hike or walk together after school. Follow your community’s guidelines about safe behavior and events, of course, but make sure you still find time for fun with your kids.

Hopefully these tips can help families navigate this new terrain and make the most out of remote learning. As always feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Have a great day!

Dr. Vallacchi

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Spirit Week March 30th - April 3rd

Have some fun and join us for our Franklin Borough Spirit Week. Be sure to send your pictures so we can post them in our Morning Assembly. Please let us know if you do not want your picture shared.

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Managing Stress

Social distancing because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the best thing we can do right now to decrease the risk of spreading the virus in our communities. But social distancing and self-isolation can be really stressful. See below for some resources to lower stress during this time of uncertainty.

Managing stress during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Mindfulness Meditation Activities for Families, Moms & Kids

Yoga and wellness Resources : Songs for kids

Free virtual therapy services Click here

We Will Get Through This Together

Although we are not able to be together at this time, it is important that we all work together. Check on your neighbors, reach out to those who live alone, thank all of our essential workers making it possible for us to stay home, exercise, go outside, practice self-care and make the most of this time with your family.

I would be remiss if I did not SHOUT-OUT our amazing teachers and staff members that have been working around the clock to educate our students!

Please reach out to the school if you need support. Need resources? Use this link Sussex County, NJ COVID-19 Resource Guide

Wishing You All Health and Wellness,

Dr. Vallacchi

The Franklin Borough School

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