15 July 2021

Pupils demonstrate how they remained motivated during lockdown

Pupils and schools have continued to show how they kept their spirts up during the initial lockdown in response to Coronavirus.

The creative activities ranged from pupils writing a letter to the children of the future, writing and editing their own newspaper, designing murals, redesigning the school’s badge, writing poems and singing cheery songs.

During the first lockdown members of the Portlethen School Pupil Equity Group wrote a letter to future generations of children to let them know how they have felt during the Coronavirus pandemic. The letter also explained how the school was awarded the LGBT Youth Scotland Silver Charter and what this recognition meant to the pupils personally.

The downsides of lockdown were missing teachers and classmates, not being able to play outside in the sunny weather and loneliness. The advantages were spending time with family, outdoor play and puppies.

Kininmonth School pupils also communicated with future generations of children by sharing their experiences on post cards. Teacher Zoe McDonald explained: “We have been learning about letter writing so we decided to write a postcard. We hoped by creating this postcard a future P1-4 class at Kininmonth School will be able to find out about what our life was like at school and home during 2021. We all came up with some sentences about what life has been like during the past year - what has been good, not so good and what has been different during this school year. With help from the teacher, we then put these sentences together in the form of a letter and then wrote our own thoughts onto the postcard. We added some photos; and took a vote on how best to lay them out. Some of the P3/4 pupils then added the final details to the postcard.”
Pupils at Drumblade School wrote, edited and produced their own online digital newspaper. The school’s head teacher Moira Berry said: “We have been working on a school and community digital newspaper after winning funding from SLIC. Our first issue focused around food, our community and the impacts of Covid-19. This was a collaboration between the school, pupils, parents, the Live Life Aberdeenshire library service and local community. It is just the first edition so only the start to our journey including our local community into our project.”

P2 pupils at Mill O’Forest School designed a colourful tartan heart-shaped mural, representing the school’s values. The school’s P7 pupils filmed a video where they reflected on the Coronavirus pandemic and their experiences during the lockdown.

Meldrum School pupils painted a mural on the playground which saw the everyone working together depicting the year, a rainbow for the NHS and the school’s badge. A drone flying overhead tool a picture of the image so it can be shared with future generations. Head teacher Carol Harper said: “It gave us a chance for the whole school to collaborate together on a piece of work whilst maintaining social distancing in our class bubbles.”

Pupils at Oyne School were also artistic. Head teacher Lindsey McBride said: “We wanted to create something that was familiar like the school badge but different to symbolise the very unusual circumstances of this year. We wanted everyone to be included and it seemed fitting to include a rainbow as a symbol of better times ahead and so every child added their fingerprints.”

Caring Crudie School ensured pupil’s wellbeing was being considered when they were learning from home. To make sure each pupil felt connected when they logged on, they each received a special “Crudie hug”, ensuring they felt reassured and connected.

The Evening Express and Press and Journal newspapers are joining forces with Aberdeenshire schools to work collaboratively on an exciting time capsule project. The initiative sees mementos and memories and experiences donated to a time capsule buried in Aberdeenshire, giving future generations an invaluable insight into life for children and young people during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “There have been an array of fabulous submissions from our schools for the time capsule which give a fascinating glimpse into how children and young people have felt during the Coronavirus lockdowns. Schools have provided much needed support to them through a variety of activities as well as teachers being mindful of they way pupils have been feeling both when learning from home and when they have returned to school. I would like to thank all schools for their submissions.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce said: “Generations of children and young people will see from these time capsule submissions what it has been like for pupils in Aberdeenshire who have lived through the Coronavirus pandemic. Thank you to everyone who took part.”

Here is the letter written by Portlethen School’s Pupil Equity Group:

Dear children of the future,

It is May 2021.  We are writing to you tell you about our experiences during the global pandemic of 2020 and 2021, and how we managed to live through it.   In March 2020, we were all sent home from school as the Corona virus was very infectious.  We spent many months away from school. 

It was a very scary, confusing and upsetting time. We were very emotional and worried about what was happening.   We spent lots of days at home, we learned to use technology really well and we did a lot of online learning.  We would meet our teachers and our classmates online in lots of online meetings, but we couldn’t meet up and play with them, which is what we really wanted.  The first lockdown was really sunny when we were off, so we missed our friends even more during this strange time.  We found it much harder to learn online as our teacher wasn’t beside us to help us.  Over the year when we were mostly at home, it became very lonely and even a bit depressing.  Using a computer all day became normal and wearing masks outside became normal too.
There were some good sides to being at home too, though.  We got to spend lots of time with our family because, before the pandemic, we were all very busy and didn’t get to do things together very often, like playing or helping each other.   We got to go on the trampoline a lot, help with the gardening, go for family walks, did lots of baking and we even got to decorate our bedrooms.    There was a lot of playing outside – we even got new puppies who helped us through lockdown too. 

When we did get back to school, we were all part of our school Pupil Equality Group and we worked really hard to earn our school LGBT Silver Charter.  The Charter lets everybody know that Portlethen Primary School is a very inclusive, accepting and welcoming place to be.  We thought that we wouldn’t be able to achieve this, but we were really proud when we managed to do this, even when schools had been closed for ages. 

You are probably wondering what an LGBT Silver Charter even is – we really hope that you don’t need to achieve this when you read this because we hope that by the time you read this in the future, everybody will be accepted and welcomed for who they are and that there won’t be any homophobia or racism. 

We have also been wondering what it will be like for you in the future – we hope that you don’t need to use computers as much as us, and that social media is not allowed – we want to meet our friends and be together, and not meet them online.  Our mums and dads always tell us that it was much more fun without devices when they were children!

We hope you enjoyed reading this letter.

Yours faithfully

Lily, Malakai, Rori, Cameron and Emma (the Pupil Equality Group).