More classes (in order to have less kids in each of them and enforce the social distancing), masks, sanitizers, and carefully planned curriculum are how the Kyiv Gymnasium “Our Future” faces the challenges imposed by the COVID-19. For the same reason, the festivities on the 1 September were limited: only the first-graders, the fifth-graders (who were leaving the junior school) and the graduation classes were present. Still, the official part was short, and the parents weren’t allowed to accompany their little ones to the classroom for the sake of social distancing.
The administration still decided to have a special programme for the youngest ones, which involved “pirates” bragging about their “better education” and making silly mistakes the kids were happy to call their ignorance. They also were presented with school supplies, which were handed to them by future graduates.
This year, Gymnasium “Our Future” offers additional schooling options: an extra-mural course, and schooling online. 5% parents opted for those opportunities, while the rest of the kids will be attending their classes offline. Still, the school is ready to go 100% online if the epidemical situation gets worse. According to Ms.Maryna Lytvyn, the deputy Director, they mastered online schooling earlier this year, during the spring lockdown, and are ready to return to it if necessary:
— We were teaching online for about half a year, and so going to Zoom again will be easy. All the parties — the kids, the parents and the teachers — are connected to our network and have all the necessary equipment. Such teaching has already proved effective, and there was absolutely no negative impact on the pupils’ academic progress. Moreover, in some cases it even improved, for the children didn’t have to wake up early and take the long commute to and from school and return home late in the evening. They used that additional time for doing their homework and learning something extra-curriculum. We were happy to see how smoothly it worked out.
The Gymnasium teaches the curriculum defined by the Ministry of Education, yet it has some elective classes, like Arabic, Qur’an, and Islamic Ethics. This year, another elective class was added, namely History of Islam which is to be taught in English, which will give the students both knowledge of the subject and some extra practice in English (classes of English are on the curriculum). The school has already bought textbooks from the UK.