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Education at Home and Tips for Staying Sane

With us all on lockdown at home (or even at Alert Level 3 from 28 April 2020) we know that as a grandparent or other whanau caregiver there is precious little opportunity to get a break as children are no longer at pre-school or school for a good chunk of the day.

Update: Childcare Options for Children Aged 0-14 years of Essential Workers

To ensure essential workers can access childcare if needed, the Government has agreed that a range of large licensed home-based service providers will provide additional support.
For more information please see the Ministry of Education's webpage here.

The Ministry of Education has announced some new initiatives to assist families that don't have ready access to devices and technology for online learning and we recommend that you check their website regularly to see what options are available during the school term.

Specifically, the Minister for Education has announced that they will be:
  • Increasing the number of students who have internet access and devices.
  • Delivering hard copy packs of materials for different year levels.
  • Funding two television channels to broadcast education-related content – one for English medium and one for Māori medium, including content that is targeted to Pacific and other communities.  See:
  1. Maori Television's Te Reo channel:  9am to 3pm Monday to Friday
  2. English Language programming: 9am to 3pm on schooldays with time slots catering to children and young people aged 0 to 15 on Sky 502, TVNZ 2+1 and TVNZ On Demand.  
  • More online resources for parents, available through the Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites, and fast-tracking ways to connect Learning Support Coordinators with families remotely.
The Ministry of Education also has this helpful page on helping children and young people while they are learning at home during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Many other non-governmental organisations and individuals in the community have been working hard to provide activities and learning options for children that are also fun and will assist families during this unprecedented time.
Check out the following links and let us know if you come across any other good ones you would recommend as a grandparent/whanau caregiver to our members.

Some words of advice though from us at GRG first though...! Remember:
  • Mental health and wellbeing comes first.
  • Make sure you find a way of having some time for yourself.  If it is all getting too hard to get the children to do online learning when school returns, leave it. Walk away and come back to it later.
  • Homeschooling experts recommend breaking up the day to do about two hours of "structured learning" over the whole day. (See the excellent tips the Pocket Tot site has on homeschooling)  Break this up with exercise, or taking time out to read, do the gardening, baking, sewing, or just getting them to help you with some regular chores like folding washing or maybe play board games or cards.  There might even be that box of old stuff and photos in the cupboard or garage that you have had stashed away to sort out on a rainy day that they can help you sort out.
  • Avoid social media posts from those perfect people who appear to have it all sorted.  Do what works for your family instead.

And most of all, be kind to yourself and your whanau.  This time, too will pass...

Sparklers-658 Sparklers is normally a classroom wellbeing toolkit for teachers but it is also an excellent educational website for parents that is jam-packed with ideas for activities, learning and parenting. To help with the COVID-19 learning from home environment they have created a Sparklers At Home section that we highly recommend.
Auckland For Kids Auckland For Kids' Online Classes page provides some great links to a range of online and virtual classes that kids can enjoy - whether they live in Auckland or not!
Harry Potter at Home JK Rowling's has launched "Harry Potter at Home" hub for kids and parents in lockdown
Audible Audible by Amazon is providing free access to their audible books for as long as schools are closed.  They have wide range of audible books for all ages including some of the classics and the first book of Harry Potter too.  All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
Skip Strategies with Kids | Information for Parents (SKIP) has some great ideas and fun activities for whanau in tricky times like now as well as good advice, tips and strategies for parenting children.
Youthtown Youthtown is a nationally operated, not-for-profit organisation offering a wide range of outcomes-driven programmes in key communities across New Zealand for 5-18 year olds.
For the school holidays during the lockdown they have brought their Youthtown Programmes online for all ages 5-18 into your homes for free. It is called Youthtown Connect via Youtube. They have lots of other helpful information on their website too.
Save the Children Save the Children NZ have put together some excellent tips and advice on their website about how to talk to the children about coronavirus and what is happening now to keep everyone safe. There are also some great learning activities that you can do in the home with them especially while the schools are closed.


Amped in association with Meridian Energy and KidsCan is a television show on weekdays at 11:30am on Three which is also available on demand.
Hosts bring experiments, pranks, cooking, magic, survival tips, interviews, workouts and daily challenges direct into your living room.

Dad lab The Dad Lab is a Facebook page created by Sergei Urban who is a full-time dad to two boys. He also has a Youtube channel.  His ideas and ingenuity is fantastic and if you have seen his page linked from our Facebook page you will know what we mean!
His page is chock full of creative projects that you can do at home that are educational and fun - even for adults! Even just watching his clips demonstrating them is compelling viewing and bound to get your own creative ideas going. 
NZ Geographic New Zealand Geographic has a dedicated page called New Zealand together at home.  Every day of the lock-down they are posting a story or video that can be shared among your family. There are some fascinating videos and posts that are interesting and educational for the whole family.
Nano girls lab Nanogirl's Lab is great for children aged 7-11years hosted by Dr Michelle Dickinson. Nanogirl's lab is a 10 week STEM programme of instructional videos and worksheets for children. It also has cheat sheets and weekly webinars with Dr Michelle Dickinson for parents.
Verywellfamily Very Well Family's website has a list of good links to other good educational sites that are safe and fun.
The Pocket Tot-688 The Pocket Tot website is created by Cara Koscinski who is the mother of two special needs children diagnosed with autism.  She is also an occupational therapist who co-founded the Aspire Pediatric Therapy, LLC in the US to cater to the needs of children with autism and sensory processing disorders.  She has home schooled her children for several years and has some excellent tips and advice for families in lockdown on how to manage home-based learning at this time as well as other helpful information for caregivers. 
Kidspot Kidspot has an excellent section on COVID-19 along with a range of online and at-home resources for educating children at home. They also have printable maths and spelling activities, videos and more.

About us 

Grandparents Raising GrandchildrenTM Trust NZ (GRG) is a registered Charitable Trust operating throughout New Zealand providing support services to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren on a full-time basis. Our vision is for a community where grandparents raising grandchildren are empowered to provide a safe, secure and nurturing home for their grandchildren.

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Te tautoko i nga tupuna, mokopuna me te whanau.
Te awhina ia ratou ki te whakatutuki i nga putanga
pai i roto i to raatau oranga.
Supporting grandparents, grandchildren and whanau
to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.  



Contact us

Member Support 
Outside Auckland Freephone
0800 472 637      

Auckland Landline or Mobile Phone Callers
(09) 418 3753 

National Support Office
9:00am - 2:00pm
09 418 3753

PO Box 34-892
Auckland 0746
New Zealand

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