Winnipeg principals hope for return to normal as school year begins

With students in many of Winnipeg’s school divisions heading back to classes Wednesday, school administrators say they’re ready for what will hopefully be a return to normalcy after two years of pandemic disruptions.

“We’ve been here for weeks getting ready, getting set up. We had our meet the staff night last night, and we had families pouring into the building for the first time in many years,” said Andrea Powell, principal at Ecole Stanley Knowles School.

“It was really exciting to see kids with their families visiting classrooms touring the school getting ready for today. We did that intentionally to help reduce the anxiety of first day for kids and teachers.”

Powell said staff remain cautiously optimistic that this year will be a return to classrooms for as “normal” a year as schools have seen in years.

She said teachers are ready to work with students — and with parents — to get kids back into learning mode.

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“Speaking as an educator and as a parent, I know that it takes time at the end of the summer to get your head back into a routine, back into school, and really productive practices and routines at home.

“We will be encouraging our families through messaging to support us as much as they can with getting kids back into regular sleep patterns, establishing good homework routines when they’re getting home … doing some reading, getting on top of things. We really look to our families as partners.

“It takes a couple of days. The older kids will groan maybe as they come in, but I think secretly everyone’s sort of excited and happy to be back into routine.”

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Click to play video: 'Back to school at Ecole Henri-Bergeron' Back to school at Ecole Henri-Bergeron

Back to school at Ecole Henri-Bergeron

Sharad Srivastava, principal at Ecole Henri-Bergeron, said his school has plans in place to ease students back into a regular routine, after not only the summer off, but years of uncertainty leading up to this point.

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“Everyone’s been revving up and we’re excited to have the kids back in what we hope to have as a very normal school year,” Srivastava said.

“It’s really (about) taking the first six weeks of school and establishing a warm culture and climate in the classroom — solid routines — and we find that when students have a better idea of what their day will look like, they respond better, they learn better, they’re more comfortable, and they make friendships more easily.”

Srivastava said the school has new teachers excited to begin their careers alongside returning veteran educators who are welcoming classrooms full of new students.

“For us working in the office, insofar as principals and vice-principals, this is a great opportunity to welcome a new group of parents into our school family, and help mentor young teachers and young professionals as they begin their teaching career.”

Click to play video: 'Back to school online safety' Back to school online safety

Back to school online safety

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