After over one and half months of lockdown, the classes at KTMP are once again open. Like many other schools around the world, we started the year with closed facilities, turning to the internet and whatever other possibility we have to stay in touch with our students, keep them busy, and support them in any way we can. Like many other people around the world, we had projects for 2021. For a while, we had to put everything on hold, and more generally to slow down in the wake of the sanitary crisis. But in these uncertain times, it is essential to stay positive and to learn how to deal with the hand that has been given to us.
We didn’t know how long our school would be closed, but we were able to cope with the situation a bit better than during our first lockdown, which happened at the beginning of the pandemic, 10 months ago.
Most of our older students have a social media account and some kind of access to the internet, albeit not regular enough for us to offer proper online lessons.
We’ve created a Facebook group on which our teaching team interacts daily with these students, working together on projects, or posting videos, games, and other activities about music, visual arts, and English. The objective here is to keep the student/teacher interaction alive despite the lockdown, to give them a sense of community, and to provide activities for those who would like to stay busy.
Before the end of 2020, when our school was still open and our daily lessons were happening, we started a project called Children Give Back, in which our students have to organize a fundraising campaign for another charity. This project aims at teaching our kids how to use their skills to give back and help other people. They have to do everything themselves, from brainstorming about the fundraising activities, contacting the receiving charity, to planning the online communication strategy, raising the funds, and bringing the money to the charity. Unfortunately, a few weeks into the campaign, another Covid outbreak happened and the government shut down all schools a few days later. The whole campaign had to go online, which makes it a lot harder for our students to raise money. But they continue their effort, they are learning that it’s not easy to be persistent in fundraising efforts, or to fund activities during such complicated times. At the moment, some of our oldest students are still meeting with one of our teachers once a week, in small groups, to record songs that we post on our official Facebook page, as part of the online fundraising campaign.
Unfortunately, not all our students have an internet connection or a social media account, and those who do may not have access to it on a regular basis. We are trying our best to be present for these students in various ways:
- Our regular students can borrow an instrument from the school (guitar, ukulele, or melodica) to learn and practice at home.
- We came up with a ‘Lockdown package’: a set of printable activities around music, art, English, and mental health. Each package also comes with art supplies and extra drawing paper for the kids to freely express themselves.
- Our team is permanently checking in with our students and their families to ask how they are coping with the situation, and if they need any kind of help whatsoever. Each family faces their very own challenges but overall, they are pulling through.
We are all looking forward to life going back to some kind of normalcy, hopefully soon, but we are grateful that the current situation still allows us to keep going and to be present in some ways for our students. Here is hoping that 2021 will be kinder to all of us, that the scars of 2020 will slowly but surely heal, and that everyone will be back on track stronger than ever.
Much love to all, from the Khlong Toey Music Program.